Student placement

Insurance Guidance Note

This guidance note applies equally to Undergraduate and Post Graduate students who may be considering a placement either within the UK or abroad. The University has a duty of care issue to address in all cases.

A placement is a period(s) of study away from the University that may contribute to the award of credit on, modular schemes and other taught schemes of study at Birmingham by its students. This may include periods spent on industrial placements or other subject  related placements, clinical placements, year abroad exchange schemes and field trips.

General Considerations

These should be made prior to a placement taking place as part of the planning process for the student.

  • A Full Risk Assessment to identify potential risks the student could encounter. The University Health and Safety Office may be able to assist here with how to prepare a Risk Assessment. There is also a Health and Safety document on travelling and working abroad which can be accessed online and details of the policy cover should be taken with them including the emergency contact number and policy number. 
  • The students have a responsibility to conduct themselves in such a manner that their performance on the placement brings positive rewards towards their progression on the University course. 
  • Both the University and the Host Institution should consider the needs of students with disabilities and there may be the need for liaison with all parties to make sure that those needs are addressed prior to the placement.

UK Placements

Within the UK insurance market there is an agreement that students on a placement will be treated as if they were employees of the Host Institution.

General note on UK cover.

  • The University has Public Liability insurance which covers the legal liability for loss, damage or injury to a third party .
  • The student will be protected whilst on a placement if a claim is made against the University and there was a legal liability issue found to be relevant to Birmingham.
  • The cover also extends to include the students themselves for loss; damage or injury providing the University is proven to be negligent or legally liable.
  • The University cannot cover someone else's legal liability and as the student will be in someone else's control then that third party is legally liable.
  • If a student deliberately commits a criminal act this is not covered by any insurance.

There have occasionally been some problems with placements with GP's and similar professionals, government departments and local authorities, who's insurance does not cater for employees and therefore they are unable to pick up the student liability. 

In this situation the University insurers can extend the Public Liability cover when requested, this will only include any liability for injury or damage if there has been a negligent act.

Overseas Placements

The University duty of care issue for those students going abroad on a placement needs to be addressed in the planning process where considerations are made with all parties involved.

We need to ensure that the placement is appropriate for the student course being studied and quality checks made.

The Host Institution should be informed of their responsibilities during the period of the student placement.

General note on overseas cover

  • There may be problems where the Host Institution does not have the conventional insurance like that held here in the UK. They may not have the same type of UK Employer's and Public liability insurance. Some overseas institutions refer to cover as "workman's compensation" schemes and they may not necessarily extend that scheme to offer protection from the scheme to our student.
  • This university's insurers advise that the same form of wording which is offered for UK placements can be used overseas and an example of the wording is attached which UMAL have prepared for both types of placement.
  • As stated earlier the student trip abroad should be registered online at Student Placement Form of Indemnity 


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