University Accommodation Office Case Study

Case Study: Oxford University Studentpad

Tags:IT, Accommodation Management, Studentpad, Student Accommodation, Oxford university

The Pad Group offers a range of customisable products  and services that provide efficient IT solutions to everyday challenges in student accommodation management. The University of Oxford's Studentpad platform is a very good example for the various options and functions that our systems have to offer. It is a fully customised Studentpad platform managed by the university's accommodation office and enables enrolled students to find a flat or room in the private rented sector quickly and easily. The site was created in 2011 and has since become the number one source for off-campus student accommodation in Oxford; over 1100 agents and landlords have used the platform to advertise student properties and there are more than 7700 registered students.

Private sector landlords and letting agents can sent information on vacant houses, flat, and rooms that they offer to Oxford's accommodation office. After the university's team has reviewed the respective property postings and they fulfill all their quality criteria that are part of their Landlord Accreditation Scheme, they are published on the website where they become available to registered students. Thus the system facilitates the whole lettings process for all parties involved: the accommodation office, the students, and private landlords, while ensuring that each property has been approved by the university.

The platform offers the full range of functions and services that come with our basic Studentpad platform:

  • the student accommodation data base with search engine (the home page highlights how many properties are currently available)
  • a portal to the individual Oxford Studentpad student account
  • the student advice section (available in five languages)
  • the student message board
  • the "Go Local!" pages with general information on Oxford and its surrounding area
  • the agents/landlord information page

There is also a map search function that enables site visitors to browse for available properties in different areas; the fact finder provides some stats on average rents etc, while the live statistics show at one glance what types of student accommodation are available (houses, flats, studios, rooms).

Oxford's Studentpad platform makes extensive use of our customisation options to keep the page in line with the university's overall branding guidelines and online marketing strategy: it has a customised logo, header/banner, and its own set of official colours.

These are only a few examples for the various visual customisations that can be implemented with our software. Moreover, it is possible to integrate additional functions that your institution might need; we develop your individualised Studentpad platform in close collaboration with your accommodaiton staff so we can ensure that we provide you with a flexible solution for your daily tasks in student accommodation management.


Student Mental Health Guidelines for Staff

Managing Situations in University Accommodation

Catered accommodation

More first-year students live in University catered accommodation than in any other type. Pastoral support is provided by wardens and tutors - wardens having overall responsibility for about 450 students and working with resident tutors, who normally assume pastoral responsibility for about thirty students each. Tutors also take turns to be on call overnight.

All tutors are provided with current literature about the University’s Mental Health Services and mental health issues will be addressed regularly at tutor training conferences.

Hall tutors are often the first to become aware of students in difficulties, either because students disclose problems themselves or, more frequently, because friends or other students become concerned about worrying or bizarre behaviour or alarmed by crisis situations and ask for help. Tutors should always inform their warden immediately they suspect that a student is experiencing mental health difficulties. In serious /crisis situations she or he will inform the Head of Student Services so that appropriate support can be provided for the sick student and appropriate links made with the student’s academic department and with specialist services. The student should be encouraged to seek advice from the Disability Support Team so that appropriate support can be put in place, in accordance with confidentiality guidelines and the Hall Tutors.

Code of Conduct and Guidelines

In the hall situation there are nearly always two groups of students who need support – the student who is ill and friends or other students living in the hall. Hall tutors, together with their warden, play a key role in supporting the sick student’s friends and others in the hall who may have been affected. Some students who have been helping to support a sick friend may need to talk to a counsellor about their experiences. They may need intensive support from their hall tutor or from the warden. The warden must be aware of the strain that this can put on the tutor and ensure that appropriate support is made available.

In most cases, it will be necessary for all members of the hall tutorial team to be informed, so that they can respond appropriately should any difficulties arise at night. Rarely, it may be thought appropriate to limit knowledge of a particular student’s problems to a small group of halls staff on a ‘need to know’ basis. That group may or may not include the administrative officer and the housekeeping manager. Written notes on all interviews with students should be kept in a secure filing cabinet, if necessary in sealed envelopes.

Support staff such as cleaners and porters frequently receive student confidences or get to know about individual students’ problems. Should this be the case, the warden should consult with the housekeeping manager about ways to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.

Students whose academic work has been affected, should be advised to inform their departmental personal tutors.

Self-catered accommodation

Students in the self catered residences include undergraduates (including first years), postgraduates and those with families.  Pastoral support in self-catered accommodation is provided by senior students, tutors and hall managers. Senior students or tutors who become aware of students with mental health support needs must always inform their hall manager, who will follow procedures laid down above for wardens.

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