Coventry University and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have become founder members of a pioneering scheme that aims to improve student safety, security and wellbeing standards across the UK higher education sector.
The universities have joined ProtectED, the first national accreditation scheme of its kind.
Developed at the University of Salford, ProtectED aims to make it easier for prospective students and their parents to identify universities in the UK which prioritise welfare.
The initiative requires members to have in place measures to support university security, student wellbeing, safety and mental health, and international student welfare.
To achieve accreditation under the ProtectED code of practice, member universities must meet the recognised standard which is validated by independent experts and assessors.
Dr David Pilsbury, deputy vice-chancellor for international development at Coventry University, which has over 30,000 students in locations across the UK, said: “We are delighted to be founder members of this initiative which will help ensure safety, security and wellbeing remain a visible priority, and show students and their families how seriously we take this matter.
“Coventry is a diverse and welcoming city but, for many, living away from home for perhaps the first time in a new environment can bring challenges, and we are here to help support students at all stages of their learning experiences.
“This is another step to ensure that message is delivered in the right ways to all those studying with us.”
Lisa Banks, director of student services at UCLan, which has 33,000 students, said: “We have done a lot of work in the area of student safety and wellbeing, for example through our adoption of the ‘Ask for Angela’ safety scheme to protect students on nights out.
“ProtectED will act as a valuable benchmark for the university and will enable us to proactively promote the work we are doing by sharing best practice with other institutions.”
ProtectED director Andrew Wootton said: “We welcome the leadership and sense of purpose shown by Coventry University and UCLan in joining ProtectED in its mission to improve the experience and outcomes of students in higher education.
“As founder members, the universities will help us steer the development and roll-out of ProtectED over the coming years. Together we can raise standards across the sector and support students to achieve their full potential.”
ProtectED is a not-for-profit community interest company and membership organisation formed following a four-year research initiative by the Design Against Crime Solution Centre at the University of Salford.