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Pregnancy

Student Services Hub

Lecturer and student

Our team of advisers are based within your Student Services Hub and can provide information, advice and guidance on a range of topics from accommodation and funding to exam stress and wellbeing. Drop us a line or pay us a visit.

Pregnancy testing

If you need to confirm if you are pregnant you can purchase a home test for £2 from:

Getting support

Contact your Student Services Hub for initial advice. There are also many services and agencies that can help you explore your options:

Your studies

If you are pregnant, you are encouraged to contact your Student Services Hub to talk through a variety of issues including; arrangements for maternity related absence, financial implications, visa implications and emotional support.

  • Risk assessment

    Once you have spoken with your Student Services Hub you will need to complete the risk assessment form for new and expectant mothers who are students (.pdf). Please read the guidance notes (.pdf) before completing the risk assessment.


  • Extenuating circumstances

    If you feel that you have performed less well in your exams and/or coursework due to your pregnancy then you may be able to submit extenuating circumstances which will be considered by the Board of Examiners.


  • Intermitting

    Depending on what stage you are at in both your pregnancy and your course, you may want/need to consider taking some time out (known as intermitting) from your studies and returning once the baby is born. You may also wish to speak to:

    • your doctor or midwife
    • your Department to discuss intermitting and any adjustments that can be made to allow you to continue with your studies. Please note that on some courses which are highly physical or involve hazardous activities it may not be possible (for the health of both mother and baby) to continue with the course past a certain stage of pregnancy.
    • Accommodation if you are living in University-owned accommodation. We have very limited family accommodation and you would be unable to stay in a single room once the baby is born. Intermitting students can be released from their contract once they return their key.
    • Wivenhoe Park Day Nursery - if you are on Colchester Campus you may wish to consider childcare on campus when you return to study.

    If you decide to intermit from your studies you should be aware that this will affect your student funding. Intermitting students continue to be treated as full-time students for Council Tax purposes so you will not have to pay any Council Tax whilst you are intermitting (though if you live with non-students the household may still be liable).

Pregnancy and funding

There are a number of financial options available to support you once you know that you are pregnant.

  • Free prescriptions and NHS dental treatment

    You are entitled to free NHS prescriptions and NHS dental treatment whilst you are pregnant and for 12 months after the birth of your baby. You should ask your doctor or midwife for form FW8 so that you can apply for your maternity exemption.

    International students

    If you are an international student and your visa states that you have 'no recourse to public funds', then you are still able to claim free prescriptions and NHS dental treatment as this is not counted as 'public funds'.

  • Sure Start Maternity Grant

    Sure Start Maternity Grant can be claimed from 11 weeks before birth to three months after. It is a £500 grant payable to those who receive (or whose partner receives):

    • Income Support
    • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Pension Credit
    • Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element
    • Working Tax Credit where a disability or severe disability element is included in the award

    International students

    If you are an international student and your visa states that you have 'no recourse to public funds' then you can not claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant. Contact us for more information.

  • Healthy Start Scheme

    The Healthy Start Scheme is a weekly voucher scheme for those who receive (or whose partner receives):

    • Income-based Employment Support Allowance or Jobseekers Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Child Tax Credits (with a family income of less than £16,190p/a)
    • Working Tax Credit (run-on only)
    • Vouchers are worth £3.10 each and are redeemable for milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, infant formula milk and vitamins

    International students

    If you are an international student and your visa states that you have 'no recourse to public funds' then you can not claim vouchers from the Healthy Start Scheme. Contact us for more information.

  • Child benefit

    Child Benefit is a weekly or monthly benefit paid to you to help towards the upkeep of your child so long as they are:

    • aged under 16
    • over 16 but under 20 - and are in education or training that counts for Child Benefit
    • under 18 and have recently left education or training - but they must have registered for work, education or training with a careers service, Connexions, Ministry of Defence or similar

    The amount you will receive is £20.30 per week for your eldest child and £13.40 per week for subsequent children. You should apply as soon as possible after your child is born to avoid losing out on money available to you.

    The government has announced that it intends to reduce and stop Child Trust Fund payments.

    International students

    If you are an international student and your visa states that you have 'no recourse to public funds' then you should not claim child benefit as this could jeopardise your immigration permission. Contact us for more information.

  • Tax credits

    Tax credits are payments from the government for those with children or low-paid employment. The amount and type of tax credit you are eligible for depends on:

    • how many children you have living with you
    • whether you work - and how many hours you work
    • if you pay for childcare
    • if you or any child living with you has a disability
    • if you're aged 50 plus and are coming off benefits
    • your income

    International students

    If you are an international student and your visa states that you have 'no recourse to public funds' then you should not claim tax credits as this could jeopardise your immigration permission. Contact us for more information.

  • Employed students

    Statutory Maternity Pay

    Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is a weekly payment from your employer for up to 39 weeks, starting when you commence your maternity leave. For the first six weeks you will receive 90% of your average gross weekly earnings, for the remaining 33 weeks you will receive either the standard rate of £135.45, or 90% of your average gross weekly earnings (whichever is the lower amount).

    To qualify for SMP you must have been:

    • employed by the same employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the 15th week before the week your baby is due
    • learning an average of at least £107 a week

    International students

    If you are an international student and your visa states that you have 'no recourse to public funds' then you may still be able to claim SMP as it is not counted as 'public funds'.

    Maternity Allowance

    You might get Maternity Allowance if you are employed but are not eligible for SMP. You will need to:

    • have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 'test period' (66 weeks up to and including the week before the week your baby is due)
    • have earned £30 a week averaged over any 13 weeks in your test period

    International students

    If you are an International student and your visa states that you have 'no recourse to public funds' then you may still be able to claim Maternity Allowance as it is not counted as 'public funds'.