Student names policy

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust (“The Trust”) is committed to upholding high standards of accuracy in relation to student data and acknowledges the importance of securing accurate records in relation to the identity of all students studying with the Trust.

The Student Names Policy (“The policy”) sets out the Trust’s approach to ensure we are able to fulfil a wide range of legal responsibilities and is underpinned by a balance between the statutory and non-statutory requirements and the students’ needs and expectations.

Student names policy


This procedure articulates and outlines Trust‘s Education and Training policy for ensuring student names are checked against statutory forms of identification and accurately recorded. This policy is also intended to meet our obligations under the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulations. 


This policy applies to all applicants and enrolled, suspended, or intermitting students attending the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust on Trust premises and at National Centres. Where National Centres need to amend this policy for relevance and practical reasons, this policy should be used as the basis and the amendments must be agreed with the Trust. In exceptional circumstances an Associate Centre may have their own policy, which will need to be agreed by the Trust to be implemented with students studying on Trust courses.

Recording of names

The Trust’s student records system (SITS) provides a record of a student’s legal name as the name appears on a student’s passport, birth certificate or driving licence. The Trust may accept other forms of identification for this purpose but it is at the Trust’s discretion; a valid passport is the preferred form of identification. Where a student provides a form of identification which does not include a photograph, such as a birth certificate, the Trust may request photographic identification in order to verify identification.

The student name is recorded and checked during the initial registration process during Welcome Week and each student is required to provide evidence of their legal name. The record remains unchanged for the duration of a student’s studies and beyond, unless formal notification is received from the individual student and a request made to Student Registry ( for the name to be changed during their studies.  It is the responsibility of students to ensure any official name change is reported in a timely way, and before the completion of their studies (where applicable), to ensure records are maintained accurately.

Without exception, the legal name appears on award certificates as first name followed by surname (as recorded in SITS). Students can access MyTAP, which is their portal to the record, in order to check the name shown.

Use of legal names

The name recorded in SITS is used by the Trust for all formal activities, including those related to legal requirements, such as determining immigration status. This name also appears on any formal documentation produced by the Trust to record a student’s academic achievement, such as award certificates and academic transcripts. Without exception, the Trust does not permit preferred, alternative or amended names to be used for these purposes.

Where a student’s legal name changes, for example through marriage, gender transition or for another reason, the formal record and related documentation will only record the new name where the student has informed the Trust in accordance with Section 6 of this Policy during the period of study. After a student’s award has been conferred, retrospective reporting of a name change for that period of study will not result in a change being made in the record, even though the change of name may have occurred during the period of study. 

Changing the Trust’s formal record

The process of changing the Trust’s formal record of a name is managed by Student Registry. A student wishing to change their name is required to provide, in person, an original copy of one of the following forms of identification showing the new name before the change may be made:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid driving licence
  • National identity card
  • Birth certificate
  • Change of name deed/Deed poll certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce certificate
  • Police report or solicitor’s letter: if you have to adopt a pseudonym for personal reasons (including personal safety) while you are a student at the University, you should provide a police report or solicitor’s letter as evidence of the change
  • Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) – the Trust will never ask for this to be presented but evidence will be accepted if the student chooses to present this voluntarily
    • The Trust does not change the formal record as indicated SITS if satisfactory evidence of a legal change of name is not provided.
    • Some students who have transitioned may choose to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) although this is not a requirement for updating records at the Trust.
    • When a person receives a GRC, they have the right to request that all references to their former name and gender are removed from old records to ensure their former identity is not revealed. All records held on paper file must be found and replaced with new records, for example birth certificates or original offer letters. It is illegal for documents to remain on file that would disclose to a third person that a change has occurred.

Preferred names and/or titles

The Trust permits a student to indicate a preferred name and/or title as an alternative to the formal name recorded on SITS.  Examples of circumstances where a preferred name may be applicable for use include:

  • international students wishing to adopt a different name during their time at the Trust
  • students who wish to be known by a middle name rather than their first name
  • personal security

This is not an exhaustive list of examples and is included in the policy in order to demonstrate the uses of preferred names that the Trust considers appropriate.

While the Trust understands and accepts the need for permitting preferred names to be recorded on its systems for use across the Trust, it reserves the right to refuse to record a preferred name if it is not considered appropriate for the purpose for which it is intended.

Recording and use of preferred names

A preferred name is recorded in SITS upon request alongside the legal name, usually during the registration process. It is used for the production of class lists and registers, and for informal communication with the student. Changes to a preferred name are managed via Student Registry, again upon request. No formal documentation is required to make a change. The Trust reserves the right to refuse to change a preferred name if the change is not considered appropriate for the purpose for which the preferred name is intended.

A student’s registration card is produced using the student’s legal name. Where the student wishes the card to show the preferred name, the student must request for the preferred name to be recorded on SITS (see section 8.1) and for a replacement card to be produced. The student is required to pay the standard fee for a replacement card in these circumstances.

Policy review

The Policy is reviewed regularly by the Academic Registry to ensure it continues to meet the Trust’s legal and operational requirements.

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