Guidance for the student pregnancy, maternity, paternity and adoption policy

We've gathered information that relates to this policy, including sources of support for student parents within the University, and external bodies that can provide advice.


Students currently living in single room or couples accommodation on campus or in the private sector are strongly recommended to seek advice from their College or the Student  Support and Advice Team at the Student Hub at an early stage. We have designated family accommodation on campus that is suitable for children. There is a high demand for this accommodation. University couples accommodation is not suitable for children.

As we cannot guarantee accommodation on campus for families, you should also look into private sector accommodation around York.

Ante-natal or pre-adoption appointments

Students and partners are entitled to reasonable time off to attend ante-natal or pre-adoption appointments. Students and partners should provide evidence in advance of appointments to their Academic Supervisor or other member of departmental staff. Regular appointments should wherever possible be scheduled around teaching commitments or at the start or end of the working day, if on placement.

Babies and children on campus

Babies and children are allowed in public areas of campus but must be supervised at all times. Under no circumstances will babies and children be allowed in areas where there is a risk to health and safety, for example, laboratories. Babies and children would not normally be allowed in a lecture or assessment. Students who are breastfeeding or have with them a baby under 26 weeks old are protected under the Equality Act 2010, should contact their Academic Supervisor or other member of departmental staff and the Departmental Safety Office to make appropriate arrangements, should they wish to bring their baby to a lecture or assessment.

Breastfeeding and rest facilities on campus

There are no restrictions on breastfeeding in public areas of campus. Some students may choose to breastfeed in public, if there are areas within or close to buildings and services they use frequently.

For students not wishing to breastfeed or express milk in public, there are four spaces on campus. On Campus West, rooms are available in the Library, Spring Lane Building and Department of Health Sciences and on Campus East there is a room in the Pizza Building and a baby changing room in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television which may also be used. To find the location of these facilities search for breastfeeding on the campus map.

Information about baby changing facilities can be found on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion website and by searching for baby changing on the campus map.


The York Campus Nursery is located on the University campus and is open to all registered students. It accepts children from 3 months to 5 years. There are also several private nurseries close to the University.  We would advise that you contact nurseries as soon as possible as they tend to get booked up early. 

Advice about childcare options in the City of York and surrounding areas can be found on the YorOK website.


A student who is pregnant may request individual arrangements when taking examinations. See the Individual examination arrangements page for further details. 

These should be arranged through the department, who will then send an email to the Examinations Office.

Exceptional circumstances

If a student has a pregnancy related illness or something unforeseeable and exceptional (ie serious and unusual) they may be able to use the exceptional circumstances process to defer an assessment or take it again. This will depend on the student’s individual circumstances and the requirements of their programme of study. 

See further information about Exceptional circumstances affecting assessment.

Depending on their personal circumstances a student may consider taking a Leave of Absence from their studies. See further information in this guidance.

Faith and religion

For information and links to help students to make contact with members of their faith in the York area, see our Faith Communities page.

Financial support

See information on the Students with Children and the YorOK webpages.

Funding conditions for research students can vary, so students will need to contact their department and funding organisation for advice and guidance. See:

Students can also contact the Research Student Admin Team ( if they have any queries.

Health and Safety

A risk assessment form should be completed for students who have disclosed a pregnancy. A copy of the completed assessment should be attached or stored with the Pregnancy and Maternity Support Plan. If you require further advice please contact your Department Safety Officer or the Health and Safety Services webpages.

Leave of absence procedures

A student may choose to take a break from their studies, for up to a year, to focus on childcare. This would need to be discussed with the department to consider the student’s personal circumstances and the specifics of their programme of study. 

Information about the procedures for taking a leave of absence is available at the following links:

  • Taught students
  • Research students


The Health, Safety and Security Department has produced a Policy and Management Procedure for Student Placements (login required). If you require further advice, please contact your Department Safety Officer.

Return to study

It may be possible for a student returning to study following maternity leave to change their mode of study from full-time to part-time or vice versa. The student would need to check with their department in the first instance and then follow the procedures to change.

Shared parental leave

Some graduate students may be entitled to take shared parental leave. This leave may be taken by either parent during the first year of birth or adoption of a child. See:

  • Paid parental leave - information for York students 
  • Students on RCUK grants, information is available in section TGC 8.1 Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Parental Leave of the training grant Terms and Conditions.

If you have any questions about shared parental leave, please contact the Research Student Admin Team by email at:

Still births and miscarriages

If a student miscarries, has a still birth or neonatal death they are entitled to take time off (medical leave) or apply for a leave of absence. Counselling and advice services are listed below in External sources of information and help.

A student who has a still birth or whose baby dies shortly after birth should be entitled to the same length of maternity-related absence and financial and wellbeing support as a student whose baby is not stillborn.

Student Support Services

The first point of contact for student support enquiries is the Student Support Advice Team in the Student Hub.

They can provide advice  on a range of issues including: financial support and money management, housing advice and academic progress issues.

Study abroad

If a student becomes pregnant before or during a period of study abroad, they should contact the  and their academic supervisor to discuss a Pregnancy and Maternity Support Plan.

University sources of information and help

Nicola Browne in Student Support (located in the Student Hub) is the University’s dedicated contact for Students with Children. Nicola can offer advice and guidance about any aspect of studying at the University with children, as well as advice relating to the Pregnancy, Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Policy. You can contact Nicola by emailing

Unity Health

The Unity Health Centre offers medical care for students who are registered with them; and other health centres are available elsewhere in the city and surrounding areas.

Graduate Students' Association (GSA)

There is also a GSA Student Family Network that is run by student members of the network and welcomes all students with children.

University of York Students’ Union (YUSU)

External sources of information and help

Updated June 2021.

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680