Children not allowed at University - why?

(95 Posts)
oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 21:56:15

I work in a London University and was told that I'm not allowed to have my 6 year old visit me, not could I bring my second baby 3 years ago, due to them not being covered by insurance. For them to come in I would need a special letter from the Head and my line manager said that in general "it's frowned upon".

Does anybody have an idea of what this means and why it's so hard to show my child where I work? Or is it a uk-wide thing that's the norm in any educational institution?

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 21:58:00

NOR could I bring - silly autocorrect!

Canus Wed 25-Jun-14 22:01:42

I wonder whetther it's just the people you work with.

I am fairly familiar with a few London universities, and it's pretty common for people to bring their children in, either for ad hoc work experience, due to childcare failure, or simple showing off purposes grin

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 22:07:41

Thanks Canus, I do wonder if it's a bit of a "computer says no" from the part of the college. It's good to know that it's not the norm... My son really want to see where I've been working for the last few years and, at his age, I know he would behave well! So he's a bit sad when I say he can't, especially as it's made to seem like a massive inconvenience for the head to write a letter.

Lomaamina Wed 25-Jun-14 22:13:06

Same here: I've brought in DS to my college since he was a little boy, without a murmur (other than my PhD students taking him off to play!). Perhaps the mistake was to ask, not that I'm blaming you. I can think of several people where I work who'd plead elf and safety or insurance for no good reason if I'd actually asked before I brought him in.

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 22:15:33

The security guys at the desk were adamant that they wouldn't let any child through without a letter and there are barriers so I couldn't sneak him in even if I tried... I will enquire properly though, because it's really annoying me now!

Trampampoline Wed 25-Jun-14 22:16:48

fair enough to pop in with new baby to say hello, but bringing kids in because if childcare failure is shock

I'd be very pissed of if there were children knocking around my workplace though.

Lomaamina Wed 25-Jun-14 22:18:02

OP, that's a real shame to let him down. Why not wait till a quiet summer's day in a couple of months and bring them in then?

I know DS has benefited enormously from feeling comfortable in a university environment. If worse came to worse could you stake them to a different building? The library, say?

chantico Wed 25-Jun-14 22:19:45

The ferocious rule is there so that children are brought in under only exceptional circumstances. You may have no intention iof anything other than a one-off show-off, but the numbers who will take the piss are surprisingly high.

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 22:28:40

But why should the reason be that insurance doesn't cover children? What does that even mean? And why should a child be any more irritating than an older person? To be honest, I would like my child to see where I work, he's curious about what I do and why shouldn't he be encouraged to find out what a university looks like?

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 22:30:32

Lomaanima, the library is also accessible only after the security barriers, and the guys working there really, really like showing you who's boss :D

chantico Wed 25-Jun-14 22:31:16

There is a 'bring your daughter to work day' isn't there? Might there be support for establishing that event (for DC of both sexes) at your workplace.

Social visitors, regardless of age, are firmly discouraged in most workplaces.

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 22:31:25

Apologies for misspelling your name Lomaamina!

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 22:32:27

chantico, we can sign in any adult, it's children that are not allowed...

QOD Wed 25-Jun-14 22:33:47

We can't take children into work anymore, we have passes to get in and out and blah blah
In case of fire and accidents

kickassangel Wed 25-Jun-14 22:34:49

I'm a student in a US Uni. I can take dd to classes and she can come into the library. So long as she doesn't disrupt anything there are no rules about children.

In fact, some of the student accommodation is for families.

Of course each university can have its own policies but there's no reason why children can't go into a university. How would yours cope if a 17 year old started as a student? They're a child still but need to be on campus.

GaryTheTankEngine Wed 25-Jun-14 22:41:47

It's not uncommon for 17 year olds to go to uni here - Scottish students sometimes finish earlier. I wouldn't call a 17 year old a child either confused if they're old enough to be at uni I think they will be covered under normal insurance.

The fact is, a university is a place for working/ learning and it is disruptive to have children around. That said, it is ridiculous you can't show your kids where you work, just for a bit.

I would imagine that the insurance mentioned is Employers' Liability Insurance; it covers the employer if anyone has an accident in the workplace, be they employees, customers or visitors. I think risk assessments have to be done to cover anyone who may be present in the workplace.

Either your employer
- can't be arsed to carry out risk assessments for children
- considers it costly to do so
- considers the workplace too hazerdous for children at all
- has been told by their insurer that their premiums will rise if children are allowed in the workplace.

They are the ones paying the premiums, it's their call.

fizzly Wed 25-Jun-14 22:51:17

Very curious about which London uni this is. I work at (presumably a different) one. People bring kids in occasionally (not sure if they ask). Newborns are brought in to say hi as a matter of course. I have taken my son round campus a few times, incl lunch in the cafeteria (but not to my office) without anyone batting an eyelid (and Prof was at the next table with his daughter - it was half term). We have school kids on site all the time (and I mean ALL the time) - which is important from a WP/Access pov. I understand general discouragement of having kids hanging around office spaces and labs but for very occasional visits and using insurance as an excuse seems very odd to me.

EBearhug Wed 25-Jun-14 22:51:55

We are not an educational establishment, but we had massive issues with insurance (not sure of the details) when we were trying to arrange a "bring your children to work" day. One of the main issues was having them separated from their parents, part of which was to do with CRB checks and so on. We do actually have quite a few CRB-certified people, but coordinating it was a challenge, and in the end, we asked their parents to attend with them through the day - which meant some people dropped out, because they couldn't give up the whole day, and initially, we'd thought we'd do things like the introduction, tour of the building and so on in groups, so parents could do work, then they'd shadow their parents after work.

Some people do bring their children in, usually when childcare has fallen through. I have to say all the ones I've seen have all been very well behaved, even the quite young ones, who you'd think would be bored out of their brains, and playing up because of that.

I think a lot of businesses now just say, "no children" because it's easier than sorting everything else out - it means it's far harder to get work experience places and so on.

I was lucky, we lived on the job (a farm), so I always knew what my father did.

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 22:51:56

Thanks WhereYouLeftIt, that could well be it, I will have to ask for a letter and so be it if they get pissed off!

Parietal Wed 25-Jun-14 22:53:14

i've bought my kids (3yr / 6yr) to work at uni (london / outside london) on rare occasions when childcare failed. but I work in a my own office (not lab, no security gates). I could imagine security would turn children away from libraries and labs.

I have heard of no-child policies being enforced at other UK universities. I suspect they are in place in more but often not enforced.

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 22:54:15

Thanks everybody for your feedback, it's been really enlightening!

ElizabethMedora Wed 25-Jun-14 22:55:52

I did my MA at a London uni and really struggled with their 'no children' rule as I had an infant breastfed daughter while I was writin my dissertation/sitting exams & really needed to get in occasionally with her to see my tutor/change library books. IMO it sucks.

oxen1 Wed 25-Jun-14 23:10:05

How awful ElizabethMedora, I would think they're not legally allowed to refuse entry to a breasted baby, as that's discrimination against the mother - plus they're clearly heartless!

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