Universities and colleges understand that students who have experienced parental imprisonment may have their education disrupted due to a variety of circumstances:
- You might have taken time off school to visit your parent in prison.
- You may have had to move when your parent was imprisoned, and/or change school.
- Your primary caregiver might have changed.
- You may have felt stigmatised or isolated at school.
- Your parent’s imprisonment might have negatively impacted your mental health.
Universities and colleges are keen to know about your circumstances because it allows them to consider your academic achievements in context. Disclosing that you are a student of an imprisoned parent is completely up to you, if you do not wish to disclose you do not have to. Disclosing how it has impacted you and your education can help universities and colleges understand your full context, which can be useful when they make admissions decisions.
Most unis assign you a 'personal tutor' to support you throughout your academic journey (they might call this person something different, but their roles will be very similar).
You may want to let your personal tutor know your circumstances, especially if your parent is currently imprisoned, so they can be aware of key dates, like visiting times or when they might be released. Letting them know what you are going through means they can help with deadlines, and if you have times when you need more support.
The National Information Centre of Children of Offenders (NICCO’s) website has a number of resources you might find useful and a map of services across England and Wales.
Childline is available to anyone under 19 and has a page dedicated to children with parent/s in prison.
The helpline is open 09:00 – 20:00, Monday to Friday and 10:00 – 15:00 Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays (excluding Christmas Day & Boxing Day).
Families Outside has lots of useful information and a series of webinars available on-demand.
If you're in the Greater Belfast: Contact SCOPE, which provides support to children (aged 0-18) who have a parent or sibling currently in prison. Telephone 028 9032 0157/07989 440 339 or email email@example.com.
If you require mental health support, please contact your GP.
UCAS' mental health and wellbeing hub: We have lots of advice and resources to help you through every stage of your life, including articles, links, and helpline numbers.
These organisations also offer mental health support:
The Mix: Online information and helpline to support under-25s with anything that’s troubling them.
- Email support through their online contact form.
- Free 1-2-1 webchat service.
- Telephone helpline: 0808 808 4994 16:00 – 23:00, seven days a week.
Samaritans: Whatever you're going through, you can contact the Samaritans for support. This is a listening service and does not offer advice or intervention. Open 24/7.
- Telephone 116123.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Childline: If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem, big or small. Open 24/7.
- Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.
- Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun, and get support from other young people in similar situations.
- Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
- Telephone 0800 11 11