Accommodation Handbook

Accommodation Overview

As at September 2015, Girton College provides 451 rooms for undergraduates, and 92 rooms and 7 flats for Graduates. A current list of rooms in student occupation is available on application to the Junior Bursar.

The College has 8 rooms (seven at the main College and one at Wolfson 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 Graduate and Undergraduate tutorial offices, before arrival, giving details of any special needs. On arrival, students should contact the Head Porter or Warden directly, or via their Tutors to agree a Personal Evacuation Plan. For further information, please see the Access statement on the website.

All Girton College study bedrooms should contain the following items:

  • Bed & Mattress
  • Desk Lamp
  • Wardrobe
  • Chest of Drawers
  • Waste Bin and Recycling Bin

A complete inventory for each room is supplied. Any faults or damage not listed should be notified as directed on the inventory sheet.


Allocation of Undergraduate rooms is the responsibility of the Senior Tutor, the Head of the Tutorial Office and the JCR Curator. Allocation procedures are reviewed annually by the Residences and Catering Committee. New Undergraduates have accommodation allocated directly once a place has been accepted; the JCR organises a ballot in the Lent Term for other undergraduate rooms in College and in College houses. The College accommodates all undergraduate students in College and College houses for three years of their residence.

The allocation of rooms for Graduates is the responsibility of the Warden of Wolfson Court. Girton College provides rooms for all first year graduate students who meet all their conditions of admission by August 1st and for up to twenty second and third year graduate students by means of a ballot conducted early in the Easter term. Accommodation for Graduate students accompanied by partners and/or children is allocated by the Warden, in July.

Undergraduate students who wish to live out of College accommodation must first obtain tutorial permission. All students proposing to live out are advised to consult their Tutors and then the University Accommodation Service for further guidance.

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

Residence Charges

There is a single inclusive residence charge which covers room rent and access to College’s general non-academic facilities (including use of the 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. At the request of the JCR all Girton undergraduate rooms are charged at the same rate, regardless of size, features and facilities, but the residence charge will vary depending on your year of admission to your course. Please see the Undergraduate 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.

For Graduates, different rates of residence charges apply to different categories of College accommodation. These bands are described in the facilities overview.

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 web site 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. The residence charge for fourth year undergraduates, those returning from a year abroad, and returning de-graders is fixed for a year at a time and such students will be charged at this rate, rather than at the rate for their original cohort.
    In rooms on the main College site, the residence charge includes background heating. Additional electricity usage is metered and charged at cost including VAT at 5%.  In the Girton Road houses and Girton Gate, the residence charge includes a heating prepayment which is set off against the actual charge.
    The same weekly residence charge applies regardless of the length of residence.
  • GRADUATES (single): There is a standard residence period of 48 weeks per annum starting on 1st October each year and billed as three terms of 13 weeks followed by one summer term of 9 weeks. Non-standard tenancies for periods of between 39 and 51 weeks may be granted by arrangement with the Warden of Wolfson Court. 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 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. Different rates of residence charge apply to different categories of College accommodation. The residence charge is billed termly and is pro-rated for the final period of residence of nine weeks.
    In the main Wolfson Court building the residence charge includes background heating. Additional electricity usage is metered and charged at cost including VAT at 5%. In Queen Elizabeth Court the residence charge includes both background heating and any additional electricity usage.
  • The student will be reminded of the payment due date on the College Bill he/she receives at the beginning of each term. The amount of each payment will be thirteen times the weekly Charge for undergraduates and thirteen times the weekly Charge for Graduates. Graduate Bills for the summer term (e.g., between July 1st and September 1st) are calculated according to the leaving date notified to the Warden by the student.
  • Students may apply for accommodation outside the FPR as detailed below. Please note that rooms with en suite facilities are not available for student residence outside the FPR. Students in en suite rooms will be required to move to alternative accommodation. There is no residence at College during the Christmas closure period.
  • The rent for any period of occupation of the accommodation outside the FPR but continuous with the FPR and approved through the Conference offices will be charged as show on the current fees and charges sheet.
  • Overnight, occasional accommodation not continuous with any fixed period of term time residence will be charged at rate for casual vacation residence as shown on the fees and charges sheet. Members’ charges for guest accommodation, private parties etc. are available from the conference offices.
  • Students should be aware that if they remain in occupation of the accommodation outside the FPR without the permission of the Conference offices 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 Website.
  • 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.
  • The College is entitled to use or let the accommodation at any time outside the FPR.
  • Failure to pay the residence charge by the due date incurs a 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.

Fixed Period of Residence (FPR)

  • You may gain access to your room after 12 noon on the first day of the 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 for the academic year 2015-2016 are detailed at
  • Undergraduates who wish to reside in College during the long vacation, must book with the Conference Office at Girton College or Wolfson Court, 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 Conference Offices, 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 Conference Offices as in 1.5.2 and apply to their Tutors for information about funding for the additional rental period.
  • A number of Undergraduate rooms are required for December Admissions Interviews which take place during the Undergraduate FPR. Students electing to live in these rooms are offered a partial rent rebate for the interview period.  Arrangements are notified by the Tutorial Office and the fixed rebate is set by Council annually.
  • 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 and the Housekeeper at Wolfson Court. 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 6.9 for storage of post and parcels.
  • Billing disputes. 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.

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.

Accident Procedures

In the event of an accident or serious illness, you must inform the 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.

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 the Tutorial Office or the Porters’ Lodge.

First Aid Provision

If you require first aid, please contact the Porters’ Lodge or, or during surgery hours, the College Nurse.

Emergency Contacts

All Porters are qualified First Aiders. The College Nurses are able to give any necessary treatment when on duty.

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.

Fire Drills

The Head Porter and the Warden of Wolfson Court are 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)


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 an weekly alarm test during a designated period as follows:

  • Main College – Wednesdays, 12:00 Noon
  • Wolfson Court – Friday Lunchtime

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 £300) and sent out of College accommodation.

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, 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.


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 & 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

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 in any part of its premises, other than in Designated Smoking Areas.

  • College premises include all buildings on the main site and Wolfson Court, and other College premises such as graduate flats, the boathouse, the sports pavilion, and also College-owned vehicles.
  • Those students wishing to smoke may do so in the external Designated Smoking Areas (Student). The external Designated Smoking Areas (Student) are: listed on the Health and Safety Section of the College web site.
  • It is against the law to smoke elsewhere in College premises and grounds (except as noted in the paragraph above).
  • This policy is to be communicated to students by the Bursar in her 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.


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. The Bursar advises both the Maintenance and Contracts Manager and the Warden about appropriate adjustments in the light of the long-range weather forecast. Occupants 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.

Operating Appliances

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

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.

Electrical Installations (inc. PAT testing)

The testing of all mains-powered electrical appliances brought into the College by students (Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)) 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.

Water Supplies

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

Waste Water

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.

Water Hygiene

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.


Suitable lighting is provided in all rooms, and externally around the College. If a bulb fails, and you cannot change it yourself, you should report it on the on-line maintenance reporting form. As far as possible, all light bulbs will be low-energy, long-life models.

Permitted Appliances

Electric appliances with low current consumption (e.g. radios, CD players, hairdryers, electric razors) may be used in your room but other appliances with heavier consumption (e.g. electric fires, deep fat fryers, microwave ovens) are strictly forbidden. The safety of any privately owned electrical appliance is the responsibility of its user. 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 hi-fi system with a number of elements) a single 4-way floating socket may be used (with mains cut-off switch); this also requires testing through the Maintenance Department. Enquiries as to the use of electrical apparatus should be addressed, in the first instance, to the Maintenance Department. Socket 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.

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

Data Network

The majority of rooms in the College have facilities that (see fees sheet) 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’ & EduRoam. Details of the service and connection instructions are available at:

Computing Support

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

Room Keys

Junior members may obtain a key to their rooms in College or in the College Houses from the Porters’ Lodges at Girton or Wolfson Court. Those issued with a key 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 and a charge of £32 for a second lost key. If you lock yourself out of your room you may borrow a duplicate key 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.

College Council has agreed to provide automatic contents insurance for all students living in single College accommodation.

Details are set out on the N W Brown Insurance Brokers website and the Student Insurance Flyer

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.

Security Porters make regular patrols of all College properties during the evening and at night-time.

Personal Safety

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

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.

Valuables you carry with you

  • Do not carry large sums in cash.
  • Keep details of valuable items separately, e.g. credit card numbers.
  • Insure your property

Where you live

  • Never leave your room with the door unlocked.
  • Close and fasten windows when you are not in.
  • Take great care of your keys.
  • Do not let people in you do not know.


  • Remember – alcohol impairs judgement

Security Plan (Bomb and Incendiary Device Procedures)

There are three phases to consider with regard to Security alerts in the College:

Initial prevention

This is a general responsibility for all members of the College: staff, fellows, and students. Access to the main building and Wolfson Court is generally controlled by means of the Porters and proximity card locks backed up by staff vigilance and CCTV monitoring. Hostels are required to be closed and locked; there should not be any opportunity for ‘terrorists’ to leave devices in those areas. Each person is responsible for their individual room. Unknown persons should be questioned as to their presence inside buildings. 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.

Reaction to a 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.

Reaction to a 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.


CCTV cameras are used at the main building and at Wolfson Court to help to safeguard the security of people and property. Cameras, which are capable of being directed and zoomed remotely, are positioned to capture views of the car parking areas, the main entrances and strategic areas, as well as general views across the sites, and within the Swimming Pool hall. The live pictures are viewed, from time to time, by the College’s Porters, in order to detect any suspicious activity.

Warning signs are in placed at the main entrances to remind members of College and members of the public that surveillance cameras are in operation. CCTV footage is retained for 30 days and stored in a secure location. It is then wiped clean if not required as evidence.

Information derived from CCTV surveillance will only be used for security purposes, unless it leads to the discovery of an activity that no employer could reasonably be expected to ignore, for example, breaches of Health and Safety rules that put others at risk.

You have the right of access to information about yourself held on CCTV footage. To request access you will be asked to complete a Data Access Request Form (available from the Data Protection Officer), pay the current fee and provide evidence of your identity.


Cooking is not allowed in bedrooms in College or in bedrooms in College Houses because of hazards to personal and group safety, and the risk of damage to furnishings and fittings. Hot drinks and snacks should be prepared in the kitchen located on each corridor (between 6am and midnight only) and in each house, provided that it causes no nuisance to others and that you clean up promptly after yourself; cleaners are not required to clear up kitchens after you. The facilities provided for students’ use are intended for modest catering (i.e. snacks) only, and under no circumstances is any group cooking permitted. 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.

Food Storage

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 Conference and Catering Managers. Food must be stored in cupboards, not on the floor where it may attract pests. Note that, except in very exceptional circumstances, refrigerators and freezers are not permitted in student rooms. 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. 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.

Bathroom, toilet and shower areas

Communal bathrooms and toilets are cleaned on a daily basis from Mon-Fri on the main sites 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

En-suite facilities

Access must be allowed to clean en-suite bathrooms at least once a week.

Furnishing quality

Furniture and Decoration of Rooms in College and College Houses

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. Much chargeable damage has been done in the past by the hanging of pictures with pins, Blu-Tack or other fixatives to walls and woodwork, and it is essential that approval is obtained before anything is fixed to walls or woodwork. The use of any form of adhesive, including Sellotape or Blu-Tack and its equivalent, on the walls of rooms, is forbidden; however the limited and careful use of suitable double-sided mountings may be permitted. (Check type with Housekeeper or House Services Manager). Those who mark walls by using unauthorised adhesives may incur a substantial charge for redecoration, since the minimum area which can be redecorated would be a complete wall.


Rooms are inspected regularly and whenever the occupancy of a room changes, with a view to repairing damage during the Long Vacation (if it can wait until then). 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 House Services manager (College) or Housekeeper (Wolfson Court) within seven days. Those who live in College or in a College House should bring any defects in the room or its furnishings to the attention of the House Services Manager (Girton) or Housekeeper (Wolfson Court) immediately upon starting to live in the room. In this way, charges for damage for which you have no responsibility can be avoided. 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.


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 via the online repair form Repairs are normally completed during working hours (Mon-Fri 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 range of furniture provided in each room is detailed in para 1.1.3, and 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 (or purchase these 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 4.8 and 4.9; for those who come from overseas it is stressed that all electrical appliances must be adapted for 220–240 volts AC.


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 Wolfson Court and in the undergraduate houses. ; they come in regularly for this purpose. All en-suite bathrooms will be cleaned once a week. 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 House Services team and the Housekeeper.

The House Services Manager (Girton) and Housekeeper (Wolfson Court) 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 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.

Laundry facilities

Token-operated washing machines, dryers, irons and provision for drying are available in the College for use by its members in Ash Court, Woodlands D Corridor, Orchard A Corridor, Hospital A Corridor and Wolfson Court Front Corridor. 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


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 Sustainability Committee and Council, as part of the Strategic plan.


Each student, whether resident in College, a College House or living out, will be allocated a shared pigeonhole in the Porters’ Lodge at Girton or Wolfson Court. 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. 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. A list of parcels etc. is posted daily on the notice board. 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 or Wolfson Court for students not in residence, or which is otherwise left uncollected for more than a few days.

Maintenance Organisation

Maintenance and repair of Girton College property is undertaken by a variety of means. 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

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 and the Warden. 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.

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.

Construction Quality

Records for all of the buildings are kept by the College Surveyor and the Warden in their archives. 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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

Refuse Collection

Please refer to Recycling Section 8.3 and Appendix H for details of the rooms bins provided in the Undergraduate and Graduate rooms in College and at Wolfson Court and how to deal with them.

Cleaners will not enter rooms to remove rubbish bins.  You are to deal with your recyclable material.  Please leave your general rubbish bin, not containing any clearly recyclable material, outside your room for emptying on the days advised by your Housekeeper for your wing/floor/area.  Graduates in Queen Elizabeth Court should put their general rubbish bins outside their room doors for collection on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The collection bins in the gyp rooms and other areas will be cleared by the Housemen in College and the Housekeeper at Wolfson Court.

In the outside hostels, 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 six weeks by a contractor from College and Wolfson Court.


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 through liaison with the Sustainability Committee.

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 the ‘College Recycling Procedures‘ appendix 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 these 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.

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 obtaining a form available from the Tutorial Office. The form must be counter-signed by the student’s Tutor. Permission can only be granted when an authorised parking space is available. The same form must be completed when permission is also sought to park a motor vehicle in College. Parking badges are required if a vehicle is to be parked in College.

No student vehicles are allowed in Cloister Court, Ash Court or at the Wolfson Court Front car park. Students with permits may park their cars only as directed, e.g., in Mares’ Run at College and in the West side car park at Wolfson Court.


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, hostels or houses.

Cyclists MUST use lights at night and in poor visibility.

Bus Travel

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

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 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 relationship between the landlord (Girton College) and the leasee (each student) is detailed in the Student Residential Agreement Student accommodation is managed as detailed in the sheet issued with the tenancy agreement, Management of Student Accommodation (also on the website Accommodation Page). The Tutorial Office and the Bursary can provide detailed information on the allocation and payment for this accommodation. In broad terms, the operation of this accommodation is as below:

Application and allocation

The numbers of rooms available to each class of student (undergraduate or postgraduate, fresher or ongoing) is decided by the Tutorial and Admissions Office, steered by the Residences and Catering Committee, taking into account such details as numbers anticipated, disabilities, and building and maintenance works. Freshers, (both undergraduate and graduate) are housed by the Tutorial office and the Warden of Wolfson Court. As far as possible, allocation of the remaining student rooms is left with the JCR (undergraduates) and Warden (Graduates) to organise by means of ballots, held in the Lent Term (Undergraduates) and the Easter term (Graduates). The outcome of the ballots is then verified by the Residences and Catering Committee.

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. Final recommendation of these charges is made by the College Financial Planning Committee and are confirmed by Council.

Collection of charges

Students are charged for 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

Damage deposits

There is no accommodation specific deposit, but all 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.

Termination/Cancellation of contracts

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 Residential Agreement.


If a student has any complaints about the delivery of services in relation to accommodation, this should be raised with the appropriate 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 (see


These will be provided at the start of residency, usually the beginning of the Michaelmas Term (see para 6.5.2).

Access to Rooms

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.

Defect Reporting

This is detailed in the Maintenance Service level Agreement


All accommodation is specific to the student mentioned in the Residential agreement. Occasional guests may stay overnight (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.

Advance Information

The Tutorial and Admissions Office is in correspondence with all 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.

Induction briefing

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

Management Structure and Contact Details

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

Student Guide

The Student Guide and Graduate Guide is published on the College website and is updated annually and supplemented from time to time by letters and email notices. The guide contains a description of the College management structure and contact details.


The College provides contents insurance as part of its charges. Details of the cover are given on the provider’s website and the Student Contents Insurance Leaflet.

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 Residences and Catering Committee, via student representatives.

Every student living in College-provided accommodation will be provided with a Residential 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 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 Girton College Student Guide and Graduate Guide on the website.

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.


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.


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. The College takes a particularly serious view of student misbehaviour which inconveniences other members of the College, members of College staff or its neighbours. For example, unruly, abusive or threatening behaviour or excessive noise is not tolerated and those responsible can expect an uncomfortable interview and sanctions.

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 him or her. 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.


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 web site

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 Tutorial 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 (

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.


The College is a long-established, self-governing organisation, subject to regular internal and external audit, which includes all aspects of institutional management. 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 Girton College Student Guide – 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.


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.

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.

Please refer to the further information links on the right side of this page for appendices information, via the PDF or Moodle (Internal Only).

Contact Information

Accommodation Office
+44 (0)1223 339032