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MPs to debate proposed statutory duty of care in higher education

31 May 2023

On Monday 5 June, MPs will debate a petition calling for the creation of a statutory duty of care from higher education providers towards students.

Nick Fletcher MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, has been asked by the Committee to open the debate. MPs from all parties can take part, and the Government will send a minister to respond.

Create statutory duty of care for higher education students

The petition, which has more than 128,000 signatures, states:

“No general statutory duty of care exists in HE [higher education]. Yet, a duty of care is owed to students, and the Government should legislate for this. HE providers should know what their duty is. Students must know what they can expect. Parents expect their children to be safe at university.”

In response to the petition, on 20 January 2023 , the Government said:

“Higher Education providers already have a general duty of care not to cause harm to their students through their own actions. […] further legislation to create a statutory duty of care, where such a duty already exists, would be a disproportionate response.”

What are petition debates?

Petition debates are 'general' debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government ministers.

Petition debates don’t involve a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means MPs will not vote on the request of the petition at the end of the debate.  

Further information

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