5.1 Summary of responsibilities: the pastoral role

Departmental tutors and academic advisers also have a duty of care to their advisees and may be called upon to provide pastoral support on a wide range of issues at the departmental level. In addition, Departmental Tutors and Academic Advisers need to acquaint themselves with the support services available in the School to which they can refer distressed students. A summary of these is provided in the table below:

Activity Academic adviser (AA) Departmental tutor (DT) Others involved

Pre-course/programme documentation/web information: Departments are advised to make information about their programmes and their academic adviser arrangements available to students online (via website, Moodle or Outlook), ideally in advance of the start of the academic year.

AA should be familiar with departmental practice and adhere to specifications in the departmental handbook or guidance to students.

DT may write/oversee preparation of welcome packs and preparation of departmental handbook/website information.


Departmental manager/ administrators

Allocation of students to academic advisers (AAs)

AA to make initial contact with students and post office hours/contact information in line with departmental policy.


DT to allocate students to AAs (may be undertaken with/ delegated to a member of administrative staff)

Departmental manager/ administrators

Orientation: takes various forms:

  • Departmental orientation
  • Central orientation organised by SSC
  • Student mentoring
  • Orientation for disabled students - contact Disability and Wellbeing Service (lse.ac.uk/disability)
  • Students' Union events
  • Student help desk


See also: Your First Weeks at lse.ac.uk/yourfirstweeks

AA should be familiar with/participate in various orientation events as appropriate to departmental culture.

DT to coordinate departmental orientation.

Departmental manager/ administrators

Supporting disabled students (including students with dyslexia and mental health issues)

AA should, at first meeting, invite student to disclose any disability, and encourage the student to contact the Disability and Wellbeing Service (DWS).

AA may be asked to review/advise the Individual Student Support Agreement (ISSA) put in place for 'reasonable adjustments'.

AA should encourage any students with a disability or other condition to apply early for individual examination adjustments, if required.

DT should encourage students to disclose (eg by open invitation at orientation meetings) and take note of any ISSA received.

Key DWS contacts: 

Nicola Martin, Head of the DWS

Sue Haines, Office Manager

Ext 7767, Room G.23 in Old Building, email disability-dyslexia@lse.ac.uk|

Supporting students in distress/difficulty

For a listing of key contacts in the various support services see Section 7 (Professional support for students).

Both AAs and DTs may be involved in supporting distressed students. Five key issues for AAs/DTs to keep in mind are:

  1. Duty of care. The School has a duty of care to its students.
  2. Student right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act. This is a complex area in which staff need to be well informed - see Data Protection at www.jisclegal.ac.uk/dataprotection/dataprotection.htm for more on DPA and FOI (Freedom of Information) - and always remember you can seek advice without naming the student concerned.
  3. Provide students with guidance on where they can turn for professional support. Do not attempt to advise beyond your personal professional abilities. NB: support services such as the Disability and Wellbeing Service and theStudent Counselling Service will not approach students directly on your advice unless you have sought the student's agreement for them to do so (eg by copying them in on relevant email correspondence).
  4. If possible, keep some record of cases that give you cause for concern (eg a brief note following a meeting with a student, ideally copied to the student).
  5. Look after yourself as well as your students. If you have been supporting a student through some major difficulties, you may find it helpful to 'debrief' with the staff counsellor (Paul Glynn: p.glynn@lse.ac.uk, ext 6953).

Medical emergencies

External: 999

Internal: St Philips Medical Centre, ext 7016, and/or accompany student to the Medical Centre

Mental health emergencies

External: 999

Internal: St Philips Medical Centre, ext 7016, and/or accompany student to the Medical Centre

Disability and Wellbeing Service  

Student Counselling Service:: lse.ac.uk/counselling|

Incidents involving violence

External: 999

Internal: ext 666

Students with visa problems

See Section 5.4d for detailed advice.

Refer students to SSC for letters verifying their status and to the Students' Union Advice & Support Service for legal advice.

DTs may be approached to offer supplementary information on students needing visa extensions. However, in most cases, refer students in the first instance to SSC or to the Students' Union Advice & Support Service for advice.

Registry (via SSC) will sign off student registration documents which can be downloaded from LSE for You to verify student status.

The Students' Union Advice & Support Service provides legal advice on visa problems.

Requests for preferential allocation to Halls of Residence

See  (PDF)

Advise student to contact Accommodation Office.


Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Disability and Well-being Service and the Convener of the St Philips Medical Centre can support student requests for preferential allocation to Halls of Residence.

Career and personal development planning


Encourage students to makes use of their Personal Development Aide Memoire| and see information at the "student comment" section of their LSE for You class register. Both can be of help when writing references.


The School's Academic and Professional Development division (Careers Service, Teaching and Learning Centre, Language Centre) offers sessions on personal/career development and can tailor these to departments on request.

Writing references

See LSE Careers' Staff guide to writing references at lse.ac.uk/careersService/aboutUs

AAs are expected to write references for students on request. The student must give reasonable notice and information. See LSE for You for access to student class reports, exam grades and teacher comments and ask students about their Personal Development Aide Memoire| record.

Students requiring three references (common for applications to higher degrees) will often approach the DT for a reference.

Previous AAs/DTs, lecturers and class teachers may be approached. Wherever possible references should be signed off by members of full-time faculty. Hourly paid teachers should seek advice. 

The Registry registry@lse.ac.uk| can handle simple requests from employers requiring verification of attendance and qualifications.

LSE100: See Section 5.8| about including LSE100 in references.

Students who have registered with sufficient funding but who later experience unforeseen circumstances which leave them in financial difficulty can apply for help from the School via the Student Support Fund.  Unforeseen circumstances can take a range of guises, but in all cases applicants need to provide supporting documentation.

In cases where a student has knowingly registered under-funded, support from a student's department and/or AA does not tend to have bearing on the outcome of the application since this depends solely on whether or not the student can show that their difficulties are unexpected.

DT to encourage students to attend Financial Support Office daily drop in sessions - 1pm – 2pm during term time (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays outside of term)  in Student Services Centre. Email financial-support@lse.ac.uk|  for further information.

Supervisor, Disability and Wellbeing Service if the student needs to be referred or is known to them.