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Sandra – Using a self-disclosure statement helped my daughter get a college place

Sandra contacted our helpline on behalf of her daughter who was experiencing difficulties in getting onto a college course due to her criminal record.

Sandra explained that due to the nature of the course, her daughter had needed to apply for an enhanced DBS check which had disclosed that when she was aged 14, she had received a conviction and given a referral order. She’d been told by her tutor that due to her conviction and the risk she posed, she would not now be accepted onto the course and would need to find an alternative.

Sandra had arranged a meeting at the college for herself and her daughter to discuss the matter but wanted some advice on how to successfully appeal the college’s decision.

We advised Sandra that if her daughter applies for any course which would require an enhanced DBS check then she will need to disclose her conviction when asked (this is often at the point of registration). We suggested that in readiness for the meeting with the college, her daughter put together a self-disclosure statement which often makes it easier when explaining a criminal record. This statement should include details of:

  • The offence and the circumstances surrounding it
  • What makes her suitable for the course and why she doesn’t think that she poses any kind of risk
  • How she has moved on since the conviction.

We also advised that she try to get as much supporting evidence as possible to demonstrate that she wasn’t a high risk and should be allowed to stay on the course.

A couple of weeks later, Sandra contacted us again to explain that although her daughter’s appeal had been unsuccessful, she had used the advice we’d given her to apply for the same course at another college and had been accepted onto that course.


This case demonstrates why it’s worth applying to other colleges/universities when you’ve been turned down by another. Different establishments have different criteria and some are more open to offering places to people who have a criminal record.

Talking about convictions can be difficult and using a disclosure statement can often alleviate some of the stress and anxiety.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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