Jo Ockwell

Student Welfare Lead

I’m Jo Ockwell and I’m Somerville’s Student Welfare Lead and Disability Co-ordinator.

I lead the College’s welfare team who are here to help with life’s ups and downs. We’re all trained to support you in a non-judgemental way and will do our best to help.  I’ve worked at Somerville for almost 15 years so have helped students with all sorts of problems. While I’m not an expert on every possible welfare concern you might have, I will definitely know someone who is!

Adjusting to university life at Oxford is exciting and fun, but it can be difficult too. Here at Somerville we are a supportive and caring community: we believe that seeking help is always the start of sorting out an issue, and never a sign of weakness. The whole welfare team, which includes me as well as our Student Welfare Advisors, college counsellor, and nurse, are here to support you to find the resources or methods that you need to manage any welfare concerns you have and for you to be in control of your own wellbeing.

Part of my role is to support our disabled students. If you have a disability, seen or unseen, please let me know so that we can put in place support to help you through your academic studies. I also co-ordinate examination adjustments, so if you have a disability or health condition that means you need adjustments for examinations, please let me know. There is more information about how we support disabled students here.

Some students understandably worry about confidentiality. I want to assure you now that all members of the Welfare Team at Somerville work within the same guidelines on when they should share any information that a student has told them in confidence. You can find out the detailed guidance on our website, but here it is in a nutshell; we don’t disclose anything that you have told us in confidence unless we are seriously concerned that you might harm yourself or someone else. That basic principle underlines how we work.

I am always pleased to chat to anyone who knocks on my office door (House 4, on the ground floor of House Building) who needs a confidential chat or advice/guidance on all manner of welfare or disability concerns. We can talk in my office, or take a walk and chat if that works better for you; just let me know what you prefer.

My training includes:

CourseAwarding Body
Level 3 in Counselling StudiesCPCAB
Mental Health First AidMental Health First Aid England
Sexual Violence Awareness TrainingOxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre
Student Welfare OverviewDAC Beachcroft
Dealing with student complaints of sexual assaultPenningtons Manches
Relational and Restorative ProcessesSynRJ
Generalist SafeguardingOxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board
Drug and Alcohol Awareness and the Treatment JourneyTurning Point, Oxford
ADHD AwarenessThe ADHD Foundation
College Welfare LeadOxford University Counselling Service
Suicide Awareness Zero Suicide Alliance
Supporting Refugee StudentsWe Belong

A note for parents: We would sometimes like to be able to speak to parents about our students if we are concerned about them. However, we are unable to do so without the student’s explicit consent unless there is an emergency situation and the parent is listed as the student’s trusted contact on their Oxford University student record. 

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