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Accommodation Handbook

Legal and contractual information about your accommodation

Information for current students and residents

1.1 Accommodation Overview


As of September 2022, Girton College provides 475 rooms for undergraduates, and 175 rooms, and some family / couple properties for Postgraduates. A current list of rooms in student occupation is available on application to the Accommodation Manager.


The College has 19 rooms (six at the main College and 13 at Swirles Court) which have been specially adapted for students with disabilities. Further adaptations to accommodation will be made as needed. Students should contact the Tutor for Disabilities, via the Student Services office, before arrival, giving details of any special needs. On arrival, students should contact the Head Porter directly, or via their Tutors, to agree a Personal Evacuation Plan. For further information, please see the Access Guides to the College and Swirles Court on the College website.


The numbers of rooms available to each class of student (undergraduate or postgraduate, Fresher or ongoing) is decided by the Student Services Office, steered by the Student Consultation Group, taking into account such details as numbers anticipated, disabilities, and building and maintenance works.

1.2 Undergraduate Allocations


The College accommodates all undergraduate students in College, College Houses and Swirles Court for the duration of their course. Allocation of Undergraduate rooms is the responsibility of the Accommodation Manager, Senior Tutor, the Head of the Student Services and the JCR Accommodation Officer. Allocation procedures are reviewed annually by the Student Consultation Group.


New Undergraduates have accommodation allocated to them once their place at the College has been confirmed.


The JCR organises a ballot in the Lent or Easter Term for continuing undergraduates to choose their rooms in College and in College houses for the following academic year.


Living in College accommodation means that students get easy access to the facilities, experiences and support that the College provides.  If Undergraduate students wish to live out of College accommodation they need to apply to the Senior Tutor for permission to live out. Any application must include permission of the student’s Director of Studies and Tutor. All students proposing to live out are advised to consult their Tutors and then the University Accommodation Service for further guidance.

1.3 Postgraduate Allocations


The allocation of rooms for Postgraduates is the responsibility of the Accommodation Manager. Girton College provides rooms for all Postgraduate students requiring accommodation for one person for the duration of their course who apply and meet all of their entry conditions by the 1st August.


Accommodation for Postgraduate students accompanied by partners and/or children is allocated by the Accommodation Manager.

1.4 Room transfers


If students would like to apply for a room transfer they need to contact their Tutor or the Accommodation Manager.  Room transfers are subject to suitable rooms being available and the agreement of the Senior Tutor.


Unless for Tutorial reasons, there is a £25 charge on all transfers to cover cleaning and administration costs.

2.1. The Tenancy Agreement

Every student living in College-provided accommodation will be provided with a Tenancy Agreement. In addition to defining the period of agreed residency and cost of the accommodation, this also details the basic rules for living in such accommodation. Note that, while every effort will be made to leave students in a specific room during each period of residence, it may be necessary to move the student to alternate accommodation for maintenance or tutorial reasons, and sometimes for the benefit of the College community as a whole.

The Tenancy Agreement relating to occupation of your room is in two parts. The front page, with your personal details, dates and charges, and the further particulars. The further particulars are provided in electronic format on the Tenancies webpage. If you prefer a hard copy version, please notify the Accommodation Manager. It is important that you read the tenancy carefully, and sign and return the front page as directed.

Once you have signed for the keys to your room and have taken possession, you will be deemed to have entered into the Agreement.

2.2. Termination/Cancellation of tenancy agreement

All tenants are required to give notice of termination, as detailed in the tenancy agreement. The College will also give due notice, as detailed in the Tenancy Agreement.

2.3. Landlord Tenant relationship

The relationship between the landlord (Girton College) and the leasee (each student) is detailed in the Tenancy Agreement. The Accommodation Manager and the Bursary can provide detailed information on the allocation and payment for this accommodation.

2.4. Guest accommodation

All accommodation is specific to the student mentioned in the Residential agreement.

Occasional guests may stay overnight from the first Wednesday of term (up to a limit of three nights) in College accommodation, after prior advice to the Porters. For Fire Safety reasons, it is essential that the College is aware of who is resident at any time.  All overnight guests must be signed in at the Porters' Lodge. 

There are a limited number of guest rooms in the college that can be booked by students for guests. Members' charges for guest accommodation, private parties etc. are available from the Conference Office.

Fold up beds can be rented from the College Porters’ Lodge for guests staying in student rooms.

Visitor terms are subject to change without notice, e.g. in the event of a household isolation or changes to government regulations, and the College cannot take any responsibility for invited guests who find themselves without accommodation on arrival.

3.1. Payments

3.1.1 Charges for accommodation
Accommodation charges are reviewed by the College each year, as part of the annual budgeting process and are usually increased in line with forecast inflation. These are determined by Council on recommendation of the Bursar after consultation with the Student Living Costs Group.

3.1.2 Collection of charges
Students have to pay their residence charge on a termly basis in advance. Any charges for damages will be added to the bill for the current term, except, in exceptional cases, where the student may be required to settle such bills immediately. Late payments attract an interest charge as notified in section

3.1.3 Damage deposits
There is no accommodation specific deposit, but all Girton students are required to pay a general College deposit, which may be used for a variety of purposes, including residence charge arrears or damage as required.

3.2. Residence Charges

The Residence Charge at Girton covers your accommodation rent, basic personal possessions insurance and internet connection, as well as well as access to the College facilities such as the swimming pool, gym and cafeteria. It allows you to pay the subsidised price in the cafeteria. At some Colleges there is a separate Kitchen Fixed Charge or minimum meal allowance and charges for connecting to the network, but at Girton this is all put into one payment to help you budget.

The residence charge will vary depending on your year of admission to your course. Please see the Undergraduate Fees and Charges and the Postgraduate Fees and Charges for further details. Please also see Appendix G, Arrangements for the Payment of Utilities for heating charges. Your residence charge will not normally increase during the first three years of an undergraduate course.

3.3. Payment terms

Rent or residence charge as applicable, is payable by the student during his/her periods of occupation as follows:
Payment at the agreed rate per week is to be made for the College-defined Fixed Period of Residence (FPR) to the College by the 10th day of Full Term. UNDERGRADUATES (Single):

There is a standard minimum residence period of 37 or 38 weeks per annum (depending on University Term dates). Please consult the College website and your residential agreement for details of coming up and going down dates. For final year students expecting to graduate at the end of the academic year, the residence period will be one week longer, allowing residence to continue up to and including the expected day of graduation.

You will be required to sign a formal agreement with College detailing the terms and conditions of your residence, including the period of notice which you will be required to give before leaving your accommodation.

In rooms on the main College site, Swirles Court and the Undergrad hostel at Girton Gate, the residence charge includes electricity.  Family Houses are charged as billed by the Gas & Electric companies

The same weekly residence charge applies regardless of the length of residence. POSTGRADUATES (single):

There is a standard residence period of 49 weeks per annum starting on 23rd September 2023 and billed as 14 weeks, 2 terms of 13 weeks followed by one summer term of 9 weeks. Non-standard tenancies for periods of between 42 and 51 weeks may be granted by arrangement with the Accommodation Manager. You will be required to sign a formal agreement with College detailing the terms and conditions of your residence, including the period of notice which you will be required to give before leaving your accommodation.

There is a single inclusive residence charge which covers room rent and access to College’s general non-academic facilities including use of the College sports facilities and cafeterias – the charge for this is known as Kitchen Fixed Charge and is a separate charge in some other colleges; the residence charge is fixed by Council each year. The residence charge is billed termly.
The student will be reminded of the payment due date on the College Bill they receive at the beginning of each term.
Failure to pay the residence charge by the due date incurs a £50 fine and interest will be charged on overdue accounts at rates approved from time to time by Council. Non-payment of the residence charge (see will be reported to Council and disciplinary procedures, including being asked to move out, may follow. If the student is in danger of not being able to pay his/her College Bill, it is the student’s responsibility to consult his/her Tutor as soon as possible, well before the due date.
If you think you have been charged incorrectly for any period of residence, you should contact the Bursary immediately, well before the bill payment date. If the dispute cannot be resolved without application to your Tutor, you should pay all the undisputed elements of your bill, including all residence charges for which you agree you are liable and arrange an early interview with your Tutor to discuss the disputed amount.
If the agreement is lawfully terminated in accordance with the residential agreement before the end of a period for which the student has paid rent, the College will reimburse the student an amount of the residence charge for the remainder of that period during which the College has been able to re-let the accommodation.

3.4. Fixed Period of Residence and Vacation Periods

You may gain access to your room after 12 noon on the first day of the Fixed Period of Residence (FPR) and you must vacate your room by 10am on the last day of the FPR. Fines for late departure apply. The College Fixed Period of Residence for undergraduates are detailed at Term Dates.

Undergraduates who wish to reside in College during the long vacation, must book with the Accommodation Manager, as notified. If permission is granted, you will be charged at a daily rate for this additional period, which may be higher than the pro rata termly rate and is detailed on the fees and charges sheet.

Students who are booking residence outside the FPR for non-academic reasons will be charged VAT at the current rate.

Undergraduates required to be in residence outside the FPR for compulsory academic courses should book their rooms with the Accommodation Manager, as above and apply to their Directors of Studies for information about funding for the additional rental period.

Students who wish to remain in residence outside the FPR for non-compulsory academic reasons or for Tutorial reasons, should book their rooms with the Accommodation Manager as in 3.4.2 and apply to their Tutors for information about funding for the additional rental period.

Students should be aware that if they remain in occupation of the accommodation outside the FPR without the permission of the Accommodation Manager they will become liable to the College for its reasonable losses (for example if the College is unable to honour a vacation conference booking) in addition to the rent due for their period of occupation and a large tutorial fine. A list of charges for damages, including unauthorised residence is to be found on the accommodation page of the College Moodle Website.

During the Long Vacation, all possessions must be removed from your room in College or College houses. There are very limited facilities within the College for storing personal possessions during vacations, available principally for overseas students and administered by the Lodge at Girton. Failure to remove possessions from rooms at the end of the FPR is unacceptable. Such conduct will be reported to the Senior Tutor. If necessary a removals company will remove and store items and this expense will be charged to the student concerned. The student will also be fined and charged rent for the period when the possessions remain in the room. Please also see section 8.6 for storage of post and parcels.

The College is entitled to use or let the accommodation at any time outside the FPR.

4.1. Health and Safety

The College has a Health and Safety Policy published on the website and available in hard copy from the Health and Safety Officers. All risk assessments are recorded; and records are available for inspection by residents.

4.2. Accident Procedures

In the event of an accident or serious illness, you must inform the relevant Porters’ Lodge immediately and should ask that your Tutor be notified.

In case of dire emergency, dial 999 and then IMMEDIATELY notify the Porters’ Lodge that a 999 call has been made.

If you require first aid, please contact the Porters’ Lodge or, during surgery hours, the College Nurse. All Porters are qualified First Aiders.

In all circumstances of accident or emergency of any sort, it is essential that the Senior Tutor and Health and Safety Office be informed immediately via Student Services or the Porters’ Lodge.

4.3. Accident Reporting Procedures

If you have an accident on College premises, you should, at the earliest opportunity, report to the Porters’ Lodge. If necessary, arrangements will be made for the appropriate treatment elsewhere, either by the College Nurse or by transfer to hospital.

After receiving any attention or treatment, you must complete an accident form. You must give the place, date and time of the accident, the names of any witnesses and a full description of the event.
Accident forms are available in the Porters’ Lodges.

You should also fill in an Accident Near Miss report form for “near miss” incidents, so that the Health and Safety Office can investigate any potential hazard and adjust risk assessments accordingly.

5.1. Fire Drills

The Head Porter is responsible for arranging fire drills, and a log is kept of all drills. Generally, drills will take place as follows, although retesting may take place if responses have been slow or incorrect (e.g., going to the wrong assembly point):

  • By the second week in October (Michaelmas Term)
  • By the third week of January (Lent Term)

The College fire Assembly points are marked as A, B and C on this map

Swirles Court Assembly point is marked in the Swirles Court guide

5.2. Prevention

It is the duty of all College members, guests and visitors to prevent fire. On a personal level, this means that individuals must be aware of potential dangers – e.g., smoking, unattended cooking, worn electrical leads – while the College also has a number of procedures to ensure that risks are minimised. The Fire Risk Management Policy describes the College procedures for preventing fire and minimising its effects.

Note that all accommodation has a weekly alarm test during a designated period as follows:

  • Main College Wednesdays, 11am until 12.00 Noon
  • Swirles Court Wednesday 10am until 11am

5.3. Detection and Alarm

All Girton College accommodation is equipped with fire detection and alarm equipment. In most cases, this is a hard-wired system, relayed back to the Porters’ Lodge by a dedicated link. In a few cases, a battery operated smoke detector may be fitted.

Any tampering with the fire detection and alarm systems or ‘first aid fire appliances’ (extinguishers etc.) is deemed a very serious offence, and will be dealt with most severely by the College; in the past, irresponsible behaviour involving the fire detection system has led to students being fined (in excess of £500) and sent out of College accommodation. Illegally covering fire alarms is considered to be a very serious offence.

It is essential that all members of College understand the actions which need to be taken in the event of a fire alarm, and these are further described in the Fire Safety Regulations posted in your room.

Please read the Fire Safety notice posted in your room and signs showing escape routes at the end of each corridor on the main College site, ensure it is never removed or obstructed and walk the escape routes at the earliest opportunity during your residency, so you know the way out in an emergency.

5.4. Escape

Each room has its means of escape posted. It is important that escape routes, especially staircases, which can act as a chimney, are kept clear of flammable material, such as paper, cardboard boxes etc. Obstructions will be removed without prior warning. Furthermore, all fire doors are to be kept closed; they are never to be wedged open. College has undertaken a fire safety audit and all areas have been assessed for fire risks.

Each Porters’ Lodge has an emergency manual containing the following information:

  • Risk Assessments
  • Diagrams showing Escape Routes, Fire-Detection Systems and Location of Fire-Fighting Equipment
  • Emergency/Disaster Plan: Actions to be Taken in the Event of a Fire; General and Specific to Property
  • Equipment Testing and Training Summary

Anyone with a disability or temporary which may prevent an effective response to the Fire Alarm should contact the Tutor for disabilities or nurses to draw up a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP).

5.5. Smoking Policy

The College recognises that smoking causes a hazard to health to both smokers and non-smokers and can constitute a fire hazard. Accordingly, the College does not allow Fellows, staff, students, visitors, conference guests, contractors or members of the public to smoke or vape in any part of its premises, other than in Designated Smoking Areas which is located near maintenance. 

College premises include all buildings on the main site and Swirles Court, and other College premises such as graduate flats, the boathouse, the sports pavilion, and also College-owned vehicles are non smoking.

Those students wishing to smoke may do so in the external Designated Smoking Areas (Student).

It is against the law to smoke elsewhere in College premises and grounds (except as noted in paragraph 5.5.2).

This policy is to be communicated to students by the Bursar in their induction briefing and is published on the website. Students are required to advise their guests of this College policy, and ensure that it is followed.

The Bursar and Junior Bursar are responsible for implementing and monitoring the effectiveness of this policy. Students who breach the policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

6.1. Room Keys

Keys for rooms in College or in the College Houses are obtained from the Porters’ Lodges at Girton. Key cards are for rooms at Swirles Court are activated at the Swirles Court Porters’ Lodge. Those issued with a key / key card will be required to sign for it when it is issued at the start of each Term, to hand it in if away from College at Christmas and Easter and to sign again when it is returned at the end of the tenancy. These key registrations are important in confirming the dates for any additional rent and the qualifying dates (“Keeping Term”) for issuing degrees. In the event of the keys not being returned, a charge of £16 will be made.

If a key is lost, a charge of £16 will be made. If you lock yourself out of your room you may borrow a duplicate key / key card from the lodge which you must return within 2 hours, or you will be charged for a lost key.

Unfortunately, experience shows that thefts of money, books, computers and other valuables occur from time to time; you should therefore take care to lock your room whenever you are out. Rooms may be allocated by the College for use by others during the long vacation and private possessions must be removed from College rooms and rooms in College Houses when they are vacated at the end of the residence period.

6.2. Building and Room Security

The College has installed proximity card locks on most external doors to provide a greater degree of security for rooms and those who occupy them. It is very important that doors should be kept closed and locked at all times. University cards should never be loaned to others for access, nor should anyone be admitted who is not a Girton resident. Leaving the doors propped open would potentially negate your insurance, and make you liable for losses sustained by others.

Porters make regular patrols of all College properties during the evening and at night-time. Where patrolling Porters find keys in doors or wedges holding doors open (against the college fire regulations), they will remove them and /or the obstruction, if nobody is in the area at the time, returning them to the Lodge for subsequent collection and advice.

6.3. Personal Safety

Members should take the normal precautions associated with living in a relatively big city.

6.3.1 Moving around in Town at night
If you find yourself stranded alone at night without funds for a taxi or bus home, please phone the Porters who will arrange for a taxi to collect you on the College account and for which you must reimburse the College within 24 hours.

6.3.2 Valuables you carry with you
Do not carry large sums in cash and keep details of valuable items separately e.g. credit card numbers.  Please register your bicycle with the Porters and get a good lock.  When outside of the College lock up your bicycle in a highly populated, well lit area and if possible within sight of a Council CCTV camera.

6.3.3 Where you live
Never leave your room with the door unlocked and close and fasten windows when you are not in. Take great care of your keys and do not let people in you do not know into any building / accommodation.

6.3.4 General
Remember – alcohol impairs judgement

6.4. Insurance

College Council has agreed to provide automatic contents insurance for all students living in single College accommodation. Details are set out at Insurance.

Please check the policy to make sure that the cover meets your needs and all of your belongings are covered. If they are not you need to top up the cover with the insurance company.

6.5. Security Plan (Bomb and Incendiary Device Procedures)

6.5.1 Prevention
Members of the College: staff, Fellows, and students, all have a role to play in helping to prevent security alerts. Access to the main building and Swirles Court is generally controlled by means of the Porters and proximity card locks backed up by staff vigilance and CCTV monitoring. Please do not let unknown people into College buildings. Direct them to the Porters’ Lodge. Unknown persons should be questioned as to their presence inside buildings. If you are concerned about a suspicious item or person please contact the Porters’ Lodge.

Each person is responsible for their individual room. Rubbish is regularly cleared away so that devices cannot be hidden. Any rubbish bins (waste paper/skips etc.) are regularly emptied and inspected by housekeeping staff. Generally, the message to the whole Collegiate body is for everybody to keep their eyes open and their wits about them.

6.5.2 General Alert
This is a non-specific threat towards the area (Cambridge) or the establishment (the University), such as by animal rights activists. Such threat advice is rapidly disseminated to all concerned by the Head Porter or Senior Tutor and then each area is responsible for its own security sweep and reporting back to the Porters’ Lodge when complete. The public areas will be checked by House and Lodge staff. Live-in fellows are responsible for their own flat and environs, and each individual should check their own room(s), including adjoining corridor areas. The aim is to split the work up among many people to reduce the overall time taken, to improve reaction time, and to heighten awareness.

6.5.3 Specific Threat
In this situation, we would have had information that the College or a particular stair or building has been targeted. The aim is always to avoid the risk of death or injury, so such a specific threat would warrant immediate evacuation of the building or area concerned, followed by a full sweep by Explosive Ordnance Devices experts. The quickest way to effect this evacuation will be by sounding the fire alarm for the area concerned. Explosive Ordnance Devices reporting will be via the Porters (or the incident controller) to the local Police station.

7.1. Contents and Inventories

All Girton study bedrooms should contain the following items:

  • Bed, mattress and mattress protector
  • Desk lamp
  • Wardrobe
  • Chest of drawers
  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Waste bin

You will receive an inventory at the start of your occupancy and, to avoid any dispute as to possible liability, this should be completed and returned to the Housekeepers within seven days via the Porters' Lodge. Those who live in College Accommodation should bring any defects in the room or its furnishings to the attention of the Housekeepers immediately upon starting to live in the room. In this way, charges for damage for which you have no responsibility can be avoided.

Students are not permitted to bring additional major furniture items into College, including beds. Students are expected to supply and launder sheets, duvets, pillows and pillowcases. Bedding packs can be purchased from the Housekeeping departments. Students may bring crockery and cutlery for use in the kitchens. Where provided, mattress covers must be used in the interests of hygiene.

In the interests of safety, it is essential to observe the conditions about electrical appliances mentioned in paragraphs 9.6; for those who come from overseas it is stressed that all electrical appliances must be adapted for 220–240 volts AC.

Items for cooking food such as microwaves, toasters and rice cookers are not allowed in bedrooms. Fridges are allowed in College rooms if they have protection under them in case of leaks, but are not allowed in Swirles Court unless on supported medical grounds.

7.2. Room decoration

The occupants of all College rooms and College Houses are held personally responsible for any damage to the furniture and decorations of their rooms, allowing for fair wear and tear.

The use of drawing pins, screws, nails or any form of adhesive, including Sellotape, White Tack or Blu-Tack and its equivalent, on the walls of rooms, is forbidden. Those who mark walls by using adhesives may incur a substantial charge for redecoration, since the minimum area which can be redecorated would be a complete wall.

Most rooms will have a noticeboard which can be used to display pictures and posters. There are also picture rails in many of the College rooms that can be used to hang pictures from using picture rail hooks.

Fairy lights that are plugged in are not allowed in rooms.

Please do not cover or damage any commemorative plaques on doors as they have been paid for by donors.

7.3. Access to Rooms and Inspections

The College will require access to study bedrooms for cleaning, maintenance and inspection purposes. Notice periods for this access are defined under the appropriate sections of this document. The College reserves the right to enter any room at no notice in circumstances of emergency.

Rooms are inspected regularly and whenever the occupancy of a room changes. Students will be notified before an inspection takes place.

7.4. Defect and damage reporting

The College seeks to respond quickly to any problems with equipment or furnishing in rooms. Any fault or damage which occurs after occupancy has commenced must be notified to the relevant area. In College and in College houses this should be via the online repair form. In Swirles Court this should be via the Swirles Court Porters’ Lodge.

Repairs are normally completed during working hours (Monday-Friday 08.30 – 16.30), but emergency cover is available 24 hours a day for major leaks etc. There is a Service Level Agreement in place defining anticipated repair times (see Appendix C).

The cost of repairing damage may be charged to the student. All students must remember that many other people will have to live in the room after their occupancy and, while the College has a continuing programme of room redecoration and refurbishment, any extra expense caused by damage can only limit the extent of this programme. Conference visitors use rooms during the long vacation and damage can limit this utility to the College.  If students are charged for accidental damage they may be able to claim on their insurance policy.

7.5. Animals / Pets

Students are not allowed to keep animals or pets in their accommodation unless permission has been given for a registered assistance dog.

7.6 Smoking / vaping

No smoking or vaping is allowed inside College buildings including student bedrooms

8.1. Kitchen

The kitchens are communal areas so make sure that you are considerate of other users. Clean and wash up promptly after yourself; cleaners are not required to clear up kitchens after you, so washing up needs to be done by the student. Surfaces and sink areas need to be left clear so that they can be cleaned.

In College hot drinks and snacks should be prepared in the kitchen located on each corridor (between 6am and midnight only). The facilities provided for students’ use are intended for modest catering (i.e. snacks) only and not for group cooking. The College is answerable to the City and South Cambridgeshire Environmental Health Departments for the proper conduct of all large-scale catering taking place at College, and legal proceedings can ensue should any breach of these stringent regulations occur.

Swirles Court kitchens can be used for self-catering as they are larger and have room for students to sit in them.
Cooking is not allowed in bedrooms in College, College Houses or Swirles Court because of hazards to personal and group safety, and the risk of damage to furnishings and fittings.

8.2. Food Storage

Food must be stored in cupboards, not on the floor where it may attract pests. Food stored in communal kitchen areas should be labelled with the owner’s name and room number. Any cases of pilferage will be treated as theft.

In College out of date or rotten food will be disposed of without prior warning by cleaning staff in order to prevent risks to health and safety. A note is left in the kitchen describing what has been disposed of and why.

All food items must be removed from communal areas at the ends of terms.

The College operates in line with stringent food safety legislation and guidelines. If you wish to discuss food safety issues, please arrange to see to the Catering Manager.

8.3. Bathroom, toilet and shower areas

In College communal bathrooms and toilets are cleaned on a daily basis from Monday-Friday and twice weekly in the College Houses. Any problems with facilities (blocked drains, leaking taps etc.) should be reported to the Maintenance Department via the repair request form on the web

Access must be allowed to clean en-suite bathrooms regularly through term as notified in both College and Swirles Court.

8.4. Cleaning

College staff, known as Domestic Assistants or House Services Assistants, or contract cleaners are responsible for cleaning Undergraduate and Graduate communal service areas on the main site, at Swirles Court and in the undergraduate houses; they come in regularly for this purpose. All en-suite bathrooms will be cleaned once every two weeks. You must not damage or leave in a dirty or untidy state any other part of the building of which your room is part (e.g. kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, and landings).
Rooms are inspected on a regular basis by the Housekeepers.

The Housekeepers check cleaning and maintenance at regular intervals, and will deliver the service in accordance with the Housekeeping Service Level Statement see Appendix D. The College shall not be held liable if failure to provide any of these services is due to factors reasonably beyond its control (such as pandemic, mechanical failure, staff shortages/illness, or a lack of materials).

The College may need to send in people to make repairs etc. to your room, but this will normally only be done at reasonable times, and giving reasonable advance notice, of at least 24 hours, if at all possible. The College reserves the right to enter the accommodation at all reasonable times to inspect, carry out any necessary works, and to show others round the property (e.g. builders, architects etc.); this may be without notice, or with only minimal notice as appropriate, in any case of emergency.

8.5. Laundry facilities

Token-operated washing machines, dryers, irons and provision for drying are available in the College for use by its members.  They are located in Ash Court, Woodlands D Corridor, Orchard A Corridor, Hospital A Corridor and in Swirles Court by the Porters’ Lodge. For the 2022/2023 academic year a wash cycle will cost £2.50 and a drying cycle £1.25. Tokens can be purchased from the Porters’ Lodge.

The College will not accept any responsibility for loss of personal laundry.

Some of the College Houses are supplied with domestic-style washing machines. Complaints of laundry malfunction should be notified via the repair request form.

8.6. Post/Mail

Each student, whether resident in College, a College House or living out, will be allocated a shared pigeonhole in the Porters’ Lodge at Girton. The Porters will place all mail which is personally addressed in the pigeonholes. Other general mail will be left in an accessible part of the Lodge for collection. Only the Porters and members of Girton College may place mail in pigeonholes. Post will be delivered to Swirles Court for students who are resident there. Within reason, stamped letters addressed to the College will be forwarded to a student’s last known address. Students returning overseas should leave stamped envelopes in the Porters’ Lodges for this purpose.

Letters are put into pigeon-holes as soon as they are delivered; parcels and registered mail are kept at the Lodge by the Porter until claimed with a College identity card. Please collect your mail and any parcels or registered mail promptly. Note that the College cannot accept any responsibility for parcels and registered mail delivered to College for students not in residence, or which is otherwise left uncollected for more than a few days.

9.1. Heating

Central heating is supplied to all College rooms from mid-October to mid-April each year. If conditions are very cold or very warm before or after these dates, the heating will be adjusted to suit. Central heating is supplied to Swirles Court through the district heating system. Occupants in all accommodation are encouraged to help to save energy and cost by keeping windows closed in cold weather, dressing appropriately for the temperatures and using radiator thermostatic settings sensibly.

If in the event of a heating problem and Maintenance cannot fix the issue then College approved Electrical heaters will be loaned for the duration of the heating problem.

It is not expected Students to use Electrical type heaters in their rooms, only College approved type heaters can be used as explained above. The oil filled and type without a safety tilt isolation switch are not permitted to be used on the College site. Please contact the Maintenance Department for any clarification.

9.2. Gas Installations

All gas installations are serviced annually by qualified GAS-SAFE-registered operatives. Where possible, the College undertakes this type of servicing during the Long Vacation in order to minimise disruption to occupants. However, Health and Safety considerations must always be paramount and servicing and repair will sometimes have to be undertaken during periods of residency; as far as possible, this will always be planned so as to reduce inconvenience.

9.3. Electrical Installations (including Electrical Equipment Testing)

The testing of all mains-powered electrical appliances for example brought into College accommodation by students (Electrical Equipment Testing (EET) commences in the Michaelmas Term and takes approximately three weeks to complete. You will be notified when your room is due for testing. The Electrical Installation (main circuitry, switchboards etc.) is tested at regular intervals of not more than every five years.

9.4. Water Supplies

Risk assessments and monitoring of water in all areas of the College is carried out in line with Health and Safety Policy. Testing for Legionnaire’s Disease is carried out by outside specialists on a regular schedule. All showerheads are de-scaled quarterly.

All cold water taps that should not be used for drinking water are marked as such.

Waste water systems are connected to Local Authority sewers. Waste chemicals and environmentally damaging or toxic substances are not to be poured into waste water systems (via basins, baths, showers, toilets or external drains (e.g., under rainwater downpipes) but are to be disposed of correctly. It is a student’s personal duty to dispose safely of such waste.

Please note that the surface water run-off from the Ash Court Building, including the paved courtyard, discharges into the pond and the surface water run-off from Swirles Court discharges into the lakes.

9.5. Lighting

Suitable lighting is provided in all rooms, and externally around the College. If a bulb fails, and you cannot change it yourself, if you are living in College you should report it and for Swirles Court report it to its Porters’ Lodge. As far as possible, all light bulbs will be low-energy, LED models. Mains powered fairy lights are not allowed. Battery fairy lights are permitted.

9.6. Permitted Appliances

Electric appliances with low current consumption (e.g. radios, hairdryers, electric razors) may be used in your room but other appliances with heavier consumption (e.g. electric fires or heaters, deep fat fryers, microwave ovens) are strictly forbidden. This includes kettles, coffee machines or any other appliance with a heating element.

If in any doubt, contact The College Electrician for clarification of whether an item is banned before purchasing it/bringing it to College. This also includes fridges and freezers in student rooms, except for those used for medical needs. No cooking appliances such as toasters or rice cookers should be used in bedrooms. The safety of any privately owned electrical appliance is the responsibility of its user.

Any appliances purchased or brought into College must be taken to Maintenance to be checked for suitability if not included in the start of year Electrical Equipment Testing (EET). The College will test all mains-operated electrical equipment and raise the appropriate certification; this will be arranged through the College Maintenance Department at the start of the academic year. We make every effort to provide sufficient discrete power outlets for your use. In the event that more sockets are required (e.g. to run a computer system with a number of elements) a single 4 or 5-way floating socket may be used (with mains cut-off switch).

Due to counterfeit models being used in college, we only allow the unit which is for sale via the Porters Lodge; this also requires testing though will be pre-tested by the Maintenance Department. Enquiries as to the use of electrical apparatus should be addressed, in the first instance, to the Maintenance Department. Socket and block adaptors (normally 2 or 3 way) are not to be used under any circumstances.

It is in the interest of everyone’s safety that these rules should be strictly observed and adhered to, just as it is essential that no alterations or additions to electric wiring be made. Up to two U.K. plug adaptors will be supplied upon request, with additional adaptors available to purchase from Porters Lodge. No other adaptors are to be used and will be confiscated and destroyed if found in student rooms, due to safety.

Further information on electrical safety is to be found on the Health and Safety page of the website.

If you need assistance in operating any of the appliances provided by the College, please consult the Maintenance department at Girton who will be happy to assist you.

9.7. Data Network

The majority of rooms in the College have facilities that enable residents to connect their computers to the Cambridge University Data Network (CUDN); this requires the computer to be equipped with an Ethernet card with an RJ45 connection. This gives access to a number of facilities including the Internet and email. Use and maintenance of a computer connected via the College network is at the student’s own risk and carries a responsibility to abide by the College and University rules and regulations.

A number of communal areas are covered by the University of Cambridge Wireless Services, ‘UniOfCam’ and EduRoam. Details of the service and connection instructions are available at:

All of Swirles Court has WiFi which can be connected to through EduRoam and a network point in each bedroom. Please direct any queries to the Girton IT Department in the first instance.

9.8. Computing Support

Students have access to support for their Computing facilities via the Girton College Student Computer Reps, the Girton IT Department and the University Computing Service Helpdesk. In the first instance, enquiries should be emailed to

10.1. Energy efficiency

Residents should be aware that major waste – and contribution to both local costs and global warming – is caused by individuals being careless in their behaviour: leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms; opening windows rather than turning down heating; turning heating up rather than dressing slightly more warmly etc. Fuel costs have more than doubled in recent years, and major savings have to be made by all. The College expects all residents to minimise waste by utilising thermostatic controls, where provided and by dressing appropriately for variations in outside temperatures.

Students are asked to be energy-conscious and switch off lights and any appliances, including computers, when leaving their rooms. The College’s Environmental practices are reviewed regularly by the College Surveyor and Council, as part of the Strategic plan.

10.2. Refuse Collection

Please refer to Recycling Section 10.3 and Appendix H for details of the rooms bins provided in the Undergraduate and Graduate rooms in College and at Swirles Court and how to deal with them. Cleaners will not enter rooms to remove rubbish bins. The collection bins in the gyp rooms and other areas will be cleared by the Housemen in College and the cleaners at Swirles Court.

In the outside houses and flats, where the internal College recycling scheme does not operate, occupants should take waste to the dustbins and segregate it appropriately as required by the Local Council. This could be Cambridge City Council or South Cambridgeshire District Council depending upon location. If in doubt over location please contact the College Surveyor. Local Authority recycling procedures and collection times are posted on their Websites and should be followed. The bins to the Girton Road houses, Girton Gate and Front Lodge will be put out for roadside collection by the contract cleaner. If your bin is not put out for roadside collection by the contract cleaner it will be your responsibility to do so.

Collections of sanitary waste will be made every four weeks by a contractor.

10.3. Recycling

10.3.1 The Environment and College Recycling Facilities

The College actively seeks to enhance the environment through a positive approach to health and safety by control of pollution and care for the environment, and will meet the obligations under the Environmental Protection Act. The potential for pollution from our activities is assessed and either eliminated or controlled so far as is reasonably practicable. The College is also actively developing an environmental action programme.

10.3.2 College’s Commitment to Recycling

As part of the College’s Environmental Policy Statement we have made a commitment to recycle as much waste as possible in the safest possible manner. The primary recycling facilities are detailed in College Recycling Procedures’ (appendix H) which sets out the system which the students and College members should follow.

There is a considerable amount of legislation covering the storage and disposal of waste materials, particularly specialist and hazardous waste, but also general waste and recyclables. The principle pieces of legislation affecting the College are:

  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990 – which establishes that waste producers are ultimately responsible for the final disposal of their waste.
  • The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 and the Hazardous Waste Regulations – which set out the reasonable measures businesses must make to ensure that their waste is stored adequately, suitably described and collected by licensed waste contractors, and disposed of legally. The records associated with these procedures are open to inspection by the Local Authority.
  • The Landfill Directive which places restrictions on what waste can go to Landfill. As of October 2007 Landfill sites can no longer accept untreated waste. Treatment can include the separation of non-hazardous waste to remove the material that can be recycled from that which ends up in landfill.

The College recycling bin scheme aims to treat the rubbish as far as is practicable by the separation of recyclable materials. Please follow the system to minimise the cost to the College of landfill taxes, to maximise the level of recycling, to help the College to meet its legal obligation, and to support the efforts of your fellow students.

Both the College sites are registered with the Environment Agency as producers of hazardous waste, although the quantity of such waste is only a small proportion of the overall quantity of waste generated. Specialist waste is dealt with by the appropriate department within College.

11.1. Maintenance Organisation

Maintenance and repair of Girton College property is undertaken by a variety of means. For the College, Swirles Court and Houses there is a small team of tradespeople on the staff of the College, available for routine and emergency maintenance work. Some regular repair work is sub-contracted to outside companies (e.g. plumbing repair and painting), as is most periodic testing (e.g. Legionnaire’s testing, lift and winch tests, lightning conductor tests etc.).

Finally, specialist contractors may be brought in to undertake more major works, such as refurbishment of rooms, staircases and houses. Works should be requested by means of the online repair request form.

11.2. Approved Contractors

A list of approved contractors and copies of their Public and Employer’s Liability Certificates are held by the Maintenance and Contracts Manager. If you are unsure as to the identity of anyone arriving to undertake work, check their details with the Porters’ Lodge before allowing them to enter. All contractors should be wearing appropriate badges obtained when they sign in at the Porters’ Lodge.

11.3. Response Times

Response times for repairs at different levels of urgency are given in the Maintenance Service Level Agreement at Appendix C. If these response times cannot be met – for example because of a lack of spares – the student will be advised of a revised estimated time for completion.

11.4. Construction Quality

Records for all of the buildings are kept in the Operation and Maintenance Manuals held either with Maintenance or the Semi current records store. The Maintenance and Contracts Manager, the College Surveyor and the Architect for each specific project are responsible for construction quality, which must be in accordance with the (then) current Building Regulations and Local Authority and Planning directives.

11.5. Gardens and Grounds Maintenance

Gardens staff will maintain the grounds around all College buildings in a tidy, aesthetic and practical manner. Gardens will be maintained in a manner to give some screening for occupants while in their rooms, while minimising opportunities for the concealment of intruders.

Principal pathways are maintained to provide a suitable surface for all users, including those with ambulatory problems, and the College is following an active programme to improve access to all areas. While not all paths are fully illuminated, principal routes have suitable intensity lighting to provide security to users.

Residents must not access their rooms via the windows because of resulting damage to plants and shrubs. Please see the website for a map of lit routes around the College Grounds. A Service Level Agreement for Gardens and Grounds maintenance is provided at Appendix E.

11.6. Litter Clearance

All College members are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the College buildings and environs, and should ensure that their waste – and that of their guests – is disposed of correctly. External litter bins are placed at appropriate intervals around the grounds and emptied regularly by House Services and Grounds staff.

11.7. Snow and ice clearance policies

Snow clearance policy is defined as part of the Gardening Service Level Statement. Students should take particular care during snowy periods that their actions do not cause a hazard for others. Hence, creating ice slides on roadways or steps, or making and using snowballs containing gravel from the paths should be avoided.

12.1 Support Services

The College provides a full range of student support services, including health care, tutorial, pastoral and spiritual guidance. All Tutors and many of the staff can offer advice on where help can be found. The College Porters’ Lodges are staffed 24 hours per day, and the Duty Porter can always contact the Duty Tutor and other College Officers as required. The University also offers a number of counselling services. Further details can be found in the Welfare and Support pages on the website.

12.2 Nurses

The College employs two nurses who are in attendance each day during Term. In addition, all students should register with a local doctor or practice.

13.1. General

Information relating to conduct, behaviour, discipline, and student complaints can be found on the website. Students’ attention is drawn, in particular to the Discipline information page of the website. In general terms, College members should conduct themselves in a fit and proper manner at all times, having consideration for their neighbours, be they fellow students or the local community. Internal disciplinary procedures exist for more minor infringements. Additionally, the University has a number of sanctions for behaviour impinging on the image of the University, while the most serious breaches, including all criminal behaviour, will be referred to the local police.

13.2. Good Neighbour Policy

Students will be expected to be mindful of the proximity of neighbours both within the properties and in the wider community. Particular attention is drawn to students resident in outlying properties, including Swirles Court, which are in a non-academic environment. The College takes a particularly serious view of student misbehaviour which inconveniences other members of the College or its neighbours. Students are reminded that parties require the permission of the Senior Tutor. The internal event application form can be found at: Internal event booking form.

13.3. College

The College Statutes provide that the maintenance of discipline in College is the responsibility of the Senior Tutor assisted by the Dean and Tutors. The Senior Tutor is generally involved only when she receives a complaint, but she also tries to head off trouble before it happens by, for example, discussing arrangements for parties with junior members, and by stipulating rules for the serving of alcohol at parties and events. The Senior Tutor deals with general complaints herself, usually acting in consultation with the Tutors, the Dean and occasionally with the JCR and MCR committees, or Council.

Disciplinary measures may include formal warnings as to future conduct, fines, requirements to desist from activities, prohibition from use of College facilities (such as the Bar or Formal Hall), expulsion from College accommodation and expulsion from the College for short periods. Unruly, abusive or threatening behaviour or excessive noise is not tolerated and those responsible can expect an uncomfortable interview and sanctions.

13.4. Disciplinary Procedures

The most serious complaints or offences are dealt with by Council at the instigation of the Dean or Senior Tutor. Any person in statu pupillari who is charged before Council may choose a Fellow to represent them. Ordinarily, but not necessarily, the Fellow is the student’s Tutor. Council is empowered to impose more severe sanctions, such as rustication (temporary suspension), for a Term or year, or even permanent expulsion from the University. A student against whom the Council pronounces has the right of appeal. Please see the website for further information.

13.5. University

The University, too, has its own disciplinary regulations; these are in a booklet entitled “Information for Students”, which is given to all members of the College on first coming into residence. In addition there is the Student Complaint Scheme administered by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, and information can be found on its website:

13.6. Student Complaints

Every attempt will be made to deal speedily and effectively with any complaints made about any matter of concern to students. Any minor concerns of a domestic nature which relate to accommodation faults or the non-functioning of other student facilities should be notified via the on line repair request form. More major domestic concerns should be referred to the Heads of Domestic Departments, while complaints about bills and other financial matters should be addressed directly to the Bursary. If students are not satisfied with the College response to any complaint they make then they should contact the Senior Tutor either via the Student Services Office or by email. The College’s procedures for dealing with comments, suggestions and complaints from students are set out in full on the website. See also the Student Complaint Scheme administered by The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

13.7. Care of Premises

Students should make every effort to ensure that their property and its immediate surroundings are used in a manner that maintains it in the highest condition.

14.1. Advance Information

The Student Services Office is in correspondence with all undergraduate and postgraduate Freshers prior to their arrival in College, giving full details of the accommodation available as well as other aspects of life as a student in Cambridge.

14.2. Induction briefing

All new students, both undergraduate and graduate, are given an induction briefing from the Senior Tutor and their staff and from the Bursar, Head Porter/Junior Bursar. This is part of the matriculation process.

14.3. Management Structure and Contact Details

Management of Student Accommodation is as listed on the chart in appendix F.

14.4. Student Guide

Information related to current students is published on the College website and is updated annually and supplemented from time to time by email notices. The guides contain a description of the College management structure and contact details.

14.5. Insurance

The College provides contents insurance as part of its charges. Details of the cover are available at: Insurance.

14.6. Review of Documentation

Students, as users, are actively encouraged to suggest changes and improvements to the advice contained within this handbook and on the website. Such changes should be suggested to the student consultation group, via student representatives.

14.7. Complaints

If a student has any complaints about the delivery of services in relation to accommodation, this should be raised with the appropriate College Department Head in the first instance and an investigation will be undertaken and any agreed problems resolved. Should this not be acceptable, the student may appeal to the Junior Bursar, Bursar or Senior Tutor and, failing agreement at this level, to the College Council. A final appeal may be referred to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

15.1. Car Parking

Owing to traffic problems in Cambridge, the University and Colleges are under an obligation to the civic authorities to restrict the use of motor vehicles used by junior members (undergraduates and graduates). Consequently, it is a University offence for a junior member to keep, hire or drive a car in Cambridge during Term without permission. A fine can be imposed by the University Motor Proctor on any offender.

Permission is only granted in exceptional circumstances and will usually require a letter of recommendation from your Cambridge GP. Such permission should be sought by completing the College Parking Permit Application Form. Permission can only be granted when an authorised parking space is available. Parking badges are required if a vehicle is to be parked in College.  

No student vehicles are allowed in Cloister Court or Ash Court. Students with permits may park their cars only as directed, e.g., in Mares’ Run at College and in the car park at Swirles Court.  Swirles Court only has parking for Blue Badge holders.

15.2. Bicycles

All student bicycles must be marked with the distinguishing letter of the College and with a personal number which will be allocated by the Porters. This is not only to satisfy University Regulations (Proctors may issue warnings or on-the-spot fines for failure to comply) but also to maximise the chance of the bike’s return should it be stolen. Information as to accommodation for bicycles in the College should be obtained from the Head Porter.

No bicycles may be brought into or stored in any of the College buildings, Swirles Court or houses.

Cyclists MUST use lights at night and in poor visibility. More information is available on the Camcycle website.

15.3. Bus Travel

Details of bus services in Cambridge can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website or Stagecoach website.

The U bus runs from Eddington U Bus

15.4. Electric Scooters

You must not bring your own e scooter to Cambridge or keep one in Cambridge as it is currently illegal to ride it on public roads, cycle lanes and pavements.  You cannot have one in your bedroom.

You can, however, hire an e scooter whilst in Cambridge - see below for further details 

Voi e-scooters now available at Eddington - Eddington Cambridge (

16.1. General

The College is a long-established, self-governing organisation, with all aspects of institutional management subject to regular internal and external audit. Annual reports are lodged with the University of Cambridge and, via it, with the Higher Educational Funding Council (HEFCE). While the College has well-established student accommodation practices – detailed above, and amplified in other publications such as the Undergraduate and Graduate Girton College Student Guides – it has also registered with the Accredited Network UK (ANUK) as abiding by its published Code of Practice for larger educational institutions. ANUK will periodically review and update its Code, and the College will – in principle – amend its procedures to conform.

16.2. Administration

ANUK has overall responsibility for administering the Code of Practice. This includes: maintaining a list of all institutions signed up to the Code, and all buildings within those institutions covered by the Code; liaising with other bodies over areas where the Code is only applicable in parts; and periodically reviewing the Code.

This review will be undertaken by a standing committee representing relevant stakeholder groups, including University management, students and specialist professions (e.g., facilities managers, maintenance etc.). In this task, they will take note of significant complaints made by students concerning non-observance, other breaches noted by internal or external audits, and reports from bodies such as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

If necessary, the committee may undertake further investigation, and then issue remedial proposals. In extreme cases, the committee may decide that a higher educational institution is no longer compliant with the Code, at which stage responsibility may pass to an alternate body, such as the Local Authority, to impose changes.

16.3. College Response

In registering with the ANUK Code of Practice, the College undertakes that:

All the accommodation registered with ANUK (and given in Appendix A) meets the standards and accords with the procedures set out in the Code.

An appropriate complaints procedure is in place, integrated into normal College practices with a procedure for reporting back to ANUK on any significant complaints relating to the Code.

Auditors will consider the College’s management of its student accommodation in relation to the Code, advising HEFCE and ANUK as appropriate.


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