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Higher Education Procedures

HE Code of Behaviour and Discipline Policy 17/18

Introduction

The City of Liverpool College is committed to providing a learning environment that is conducive to the academic and social well-being of all Higher Education students. Students are required to abide by the standards of behaviour expected by the College as detailed below. The College will not tolerate behaviour which may adversely affect the good standing of the College, its students, staff and the wider community.

Aim

This document presents the policy and procedures that form the Code of Behaviour and Disciplinary Procedure for Higher Education Students (Code). The Code defines conduct that is considered to constitute an offence. It also defines penalties, authorities, rights to appeal, and procedural details concerning allegations of misconduct, investigations, disciplinary hearings and appeals.

Associated documents

The Code of Behaviour and Disciplinary Procedure for Higher Education students should not be read in isolation.  It is one of a group of student policy documents containing rules and regulations that apply to all students registered to study on a Higher Education programme with the College.  The HE Academic Impropriety Procedure, Appeals against Assessment Decisions, and Complaints Policy complement this code and together these form the complete set of guidance and regulatory documents.

Policy Statement

The City of Liverpool College is committed to equality of opportunity and access for all. We oppose all forms of unfair and unlawful behaviour on the grounds of age, disability, religion or belief, gender reassignment, race, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity status in line with the Equality Act 2010. The College intends to support all students to achieve and to be well prepared to progress to the next level of learning or into employment.

This policy applies to all Higher Education students studying at the City of Liverpool College.

This Code of Behaviour and Disciplinary Procedure for Higher Education students has been produced by staff and student representatives to describe the standards of work and behaviour that we expect.  The Code of Conduct is distributed to students during induction and is available on the students' virtual learning environment (VLE).

Individual courses may have additional expectations, for example those linked to professional practice. These are set out clearly in the Programme Handbook or in other written instructions from College staff, such as those relating to work placement.

The emphasis is on supporting students to understand why they are expected to follow the Code. In most cases, the Disciplinary Procedure will be followed stage by stage. In some cases it may be necessary to move to higher stages straight away due to the severity of the behaviour.

Where appropriate, students who receive a disciplinary warning may be referred to pastoral support services such as counselling, achievement coaching, finance etc. Every effort will be made to support students to address behaviour in order to avoid escalation and ensure that they achieve.

Operating Principles

The City of Liverpool College is committed to fair and equitable Student Disciplinary Procedures, to ensure a full and fair assessment of the particular circumstances of the case and avoid unnecessary delay.

The College ensures that the Student Disciplinary Procedures:

  • are timely and efficient, to facilitate a speedy resolution;
  • are fair, impartial and transparent to all parties;
  • are conducted in a professional manner; and
  • meet the principles of natural justice.

Information disclosed during the Student Disciplinary Procedures is confidential to all parties. Breaches of confidentiality may amount to gross misconduct which may lead to disciplinary action being taken

Student Code of Behaviour

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which demonstrates respect for the College, its staff, fellow students, property and equipment, and the wider community.

The Student Code of Behaviour applies to all students where alleged misconduct occurs whether on campus or off campus, for instance on field trips and placements.

Breaches of the Student Code of Behaviour may result in disciplinary proceedings.

Appendix 1 below, outlines the Student Code of Behaviour.

Discipline Offences

The list below is not exhaustive and examples of such offences are outlined in Appendix 1. The decision about whether the offence is serious will rest with the College, following consideration of the full circumstances of each case.

Discipline Offences include failing to comply with the code of Behaviour (Appendix 1) or conducting other discipline offences towards people, property, and health and safety or the College:

Discipline Offences: People

  • Physical Misconduct
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Abusive, Threatening or Offensive Behaviour (including Bullying and Harassment and Anti-Social Behaviour).

Discipline Offences: Property and Health & Safety

  • Damage to Property
  • Unauthorised Taking or Use of Property
  • Causing a Health or Safety Concern.

Discipline Offences: College

  • Operational Obstruction
  • Reputational Damage.

Student Disciplinary Procedure

The steps (levels) within the Student Disciplinary Procedure are as follows:

Informal Stage includes Conflict Management/Intervention Meetings conducted by Personal Tutor or Programme Leader.

Formal stages:

  • Stage 1  Investigating officer: Programme Leader
  • Stage 2  Investigating officer: Head of School/ Head of Higher Education
  • Stage 3  Investigating officer: Assistant Principal

In most cases a member of staff identifying consistent underperformance, non-compliance with the academic processes and policies or escalating poor behaviour will be involved in the subsequent disciplinary meeting.

Intervention meetings and conflict management instructions are not formally part of the disciplinary procedure, but meetings and subsequent actions set on ProMonitor may be designed to mitigate the risk of a disciplinary stage being required.

Disciplinary stages may be missed, depending on the severity of behaviour. Students can be suspended at any stage and the level of sanction issued will be decided following an investigation.

The College reserves right to withdraw students who have not attended a course or subject on which they are enrolled for 4 continuous weeks without attendance and without being in communication with the programme team/ programme leader or agreeing the absence with the tutor concerned.

A one-page summary of the procedure, the Student Conduct Procedure Overview is available on the next page.

The Student Disciplinary Procedures will be invoked following an allegation of a Discipline Offence to the Head of HE via record on ProMonitor copied to the HE Senior Administrator (mailto:HE@liv-coll.ac.uk).

Allegations should be made in writing with full details of the incidents and should include any evidence available. Students can also utilise the Student Complaints Form to report complaints about another student.

Student Disciplinary Procedure Overview

Steps in the procedure:

  1.  Disciplinary issue reported and recorded on ProMonitor
  2.  Head of School/HE informed
  3.  Investigating officer and panel confirmed by the Head of School/HE
  4.  Disciplinary hearing scheduled
  5.  Student invited to disciplinary hearing
  6.  Disciplinary hearing conducted
  7.  Minutes of the disciplinary hearing recorded and available to student and panel.
  8.  Penalty agreed and issued to student in writing
  9.  Appeals opportunity
  10. Final decision

The following table outlines examples of conduct and proposed stage of disciplinary procedure with the list of possible penalties.

 

Examples of conduct

 Investigating (intervening)  officer conducting a disciplinary hearing

 Possible  penalties

Informal  Stage

Poor performance, failure to   comply with academic processes and policies, minor behavioural issues

 Course tutor/ programme leader

- Written  agreement (ProMonitor)

 - Written apology

Stage 1

 Minor misconduct

Programme Leader

 - Formal Warning

 - Written agreement

 - Written Apology

Stage 2

Major misconduct or repeated minor misconduct

Head of School/Head of Higher Education

 - Formal Warning

 - Written agreement

 - Written Apology

Stage 3

Gross misconduct or repeated major misconduct

Assistant or Vice  Principal/Principal

- Formal Warning

- Suspension

- Dismissal

 

Dismissal

Responsibility: Assistant Principal

When to Issue: Following a disciplinary hearing the AP will consider all of the evidence presented by both staff and students (and their representatives) plus any witness statements submitted.

How to Issue: The Assistant Principal (or nominated manager in AP’s absence) will conduct a Dismissal by:

  • clarifying with the student that the outcome of the disciplinary hearing is dismissal
  • confirming the reason for and terms of the dismissal in writing (Appendix 3) e.g. whether dismissal applies to one course/ centre/ work placement and the length of time the dismissal is valid for. Sending this letter to the student. If a student is sponsored by an employer a copy of the letter will also be sent to the employer.
  • recording the meeting outcome on Pro Monitor- ILP
  • informing the student of their right to appeal (see page 6).

Next Steps

Brief details of the case will be retained by the College for 5 years after the suspension date.

The College will not allow the student to re-enrol until the period of the dismissal has passed.

The College reserves the right to take the reason for the dismissal into consideration when deciding, after the period of dismissal has passed, whether the person meets the requirements of the College’s Admissions Policy.

Appeals

Where students have been issued with a Stage 3 (including dismissed from College) they have the right to appeal in writing to an identified Assistant Principal/ the Vice Principal within 10 working days. Students will be informed of who to address their appeal to as this will be a different member of staff than the Head of School or Assistant Principal who conducted the stage 3 disciplinary hearing. The student will then be invited in for an appeals hearing (Appendix 5) where the action taken will be reviewed and a final decision taken.

There are three grounds for appeal:

  1. the procedures set out in this document have not been followed or
  2. the student has new evidence about the case or
  3. the student believes the decision reached is unfair or unreasonable.

The appeal will be considered by the Assistant Principal/ Vice Principal who will decide the next course of action. If they decide an appeal hearing is required the student will be able to state her/his case and can bring another person along (e.g. parent/carer). Legal representation is not allowed.

At the appeal for dismissal the terms of dismissal will be reviewed. When the hearing is complete, and after considering all the evidence, the person leading the hearing will state his/her decision. The panel may decide:

  • to lift the stage 3/dismissal or
  • to vary the terms of the stage 3/dismissal, for example by replacing the student’s stage 3/dismissal with a warning or
  • to confirm the stage 3/dismissal.

The decision of the College panel appointed to hear the appeal will be given to the student in writing within five working days of the appeal hearing and will be final and binding.

Appendix 1: Code of Behaviour

The College aims to provide a safe and supportive environment where everyone can study and work to the best of their ability. Enrolment onto a course means you have joined the College community and are expected to behave accordingly. You have agreed to this by signing the enrolment form.

We expect you to:

  • Follow instructions given by a member of College staff or someone acting for the College (such as a work placement supervisor)
  • Notify your tutor of absence. We will assume you have left if you have been absent without explanation for 4 term time weeks.
  • Keep to the Acceptable Use Policy when using College computers (available under ‘Information’ on the Student Intranet)
  • Let your personal tutor know straight away if you have difficulties with your work
  • Give your name and ID number to any member of staff who asks for it
  • Notify your local centre office if you are absent
  • Achieve the standard of work required of you
  • Treat other students and staff with respect
  • Hand all assignments in on time
  • Attend all classes and tutorials
  • Be punctual.

We will not accept:

  • Unacceptable behaviour in or around College buildings. Examples of unacceptable behaviour include insulting others, bullying, verbal abuse or rudeness, using language which offends others, fighting or other violent, threatening or dangerous behaviour
  • Action which could be seen as harassment of a fellow student or member of staff (for definition of harassment, see the Equality section in the Student Handbook)
  • Abuse, threats or rudeness to a member of staff.  These may be verbal or sent electronically, for example through Facebook
  • The use of illegal drugs or alcohol in or near College buildings
  • Damage deliberately caused to College property or seriously attempted damage to College property
  • Theft, attempted theft or unauthorised possession of any items belonging to the College or to any student, member of staff or employer
  • Breaking the rules of an awarding body such as copying someone else's work
  • Repeated problems with the quality of work produced or of handing it in on time, affecting your own or other students' chances of gaining accreditation. This may be because of delays in producing work which affects a group project
  • Disruptive behaviour in classes, LRCs or other college spaces or not following a direct instruction from a member of staff.

Note: Once you are enrolled on a higher education programme at the College, you will be asked to acknowledge and sign an agreement relating to the terms of the Code of Conduct.

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