Progress of Students: Guidance, Regulatory Details, Forms and Contact Information

Fitness to Practise

Purpose

Student Fitness to Practise is a University-initiated procedure and falls within the University's General Regulations. An academic department may report concerns about a student's fitness to practise, under the General Regulations relating to Fitness to Practise (for programmes specified in the Fitness to Practise Procedures, below). It should be noted that the University has a responsibility (and in some cases a statutory obligation) to ensure that students are fit to practise in their relevant profession.

Process

The Head of Department will conduct an initial investigation into the concerns (which might include any health condition, behaviour or attitude). If further action is deemed necessary, the case may be reviewed by a Faculty Fitness to Practise Committee in order to establish whether or not a student is considered fit to practise.

Appeal Mechanism

The Regulations allow a student to appeal against a decision of the Faculty Fitness to Practise Committee on specified grounds to the Senate Appeals Panel.

Contact

Student Engagement & Progress Team

Advice for Students

The Student Advice Centre can advise a student on their position.

Regulations

The General Regulations relating to Student Fitness to Practise for the relevant academic year can be accessed through the University Calendar.

Procedures

Fitness to Practise Procedures

Downloads

Fitness to Practise Report Form

Departmental Form for Recording Fitness to Practise Cases

Other Information

Investigation Guidance Notes

Investigation Flowchart

DBS Duty to Refer Guidance

Useful Links to External Bodies

Health Requirements Regulation (Regulation 26)

Procedural Guidelines for the Implementation of Regulation 26 of the General University Regulations - Health Requirements

Health Regulation

Reference in these Regulations to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor means the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the relevant Faculty and includes any person authorised to act on their behalf.

26. Where the Pro-Vice-Chancellor is satisfied, having regard to a certificate to that effect from an appropriately registered professional, that an applicant's or student's state of health is such that it is not in their interest or that of the University, or in the case of a student registered on a professionally accredited programme of members of the public with whom there will be contact, that the applicant should begin or the student should continue a programme of study, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor may

  1. at the request of the applicant, grant a deferral of entry for a stated period, which period may be renewed from time to time;
  2. at the request of the student, grant the student leave of absence for a stated period, which leave of absence may be renewed from time to time;
  3. require the applicant to defer admission until the Pro-Vice-Chancellor is satisfied that the applicant may begin the programme of study;
  4. require the student to discontinue the programme of study either permanently or until the Pro-Vice-Chancellor is satisfied that the student may resume.

Before exercising the power under (c) or (d) above, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor shall invite the applicant or student to make any observations in writing and to tender any further medical evidence. Where the circumstances of the case are such that a student required to discontinue a period of study may properly be permitted to transfer to some other programme of study, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor may permit such transfer on such conditions as deemed appropriate.

Background

Most students with health problems are able to manage their studies and their lives in the University with (or sometimes without) support. On occasion a student is considered so unwell, such that they cannot engage with their studies and/or they are causing disruption, concern and distress across the University. Such students may be unable to see the need for or the benefit of taking a leave of absence or even to recognise that they are not fit to study. Expressions of concern about such students may be raised by more than one area of the University, Students' Union, external individuals or agencies.

Normally there are very few cases each year where it becomes necessary to invoke the Health Requirement Regulation whereby a student is required to take a leave of absence or, in extreme cases, to withdraw from the University. The information provided below sets out the formal procedure to be followed when such cases arise. A meeting of a Panel of appropriate individuals will be convened and any action in respect of the Regulations will be taken forward, only after relevant concern has been expressed and a preliminary meeting has been held involving staff from the teams in Student Support and Wellbeing (which will usually also involve staff from the relevant academic department(s)), or following a meeting with the student where possible.

Procedures

  1. A student's case will normally be brought to the attention of staff in Central Welfare and Guidance (CWaG) by staff in academic or Professional Services departments, by Students' Union colleagues or by other students.
  2. Where the usual support mechanisms (including making reasonable adjustments in line with equality legislation and University policies) are deemed inappropriate or have been unsuccessful, CWaG staff will bring the case to the attention of the Head of Student Support and Wellbeing directly or via the regular meetings of the Support Co-Ordination Group (SCG).
  3. SCG will decide whether or not it is appropriate to refer a case to a Panel for the purposes of the Health Requirements Regulation. In certain cases, where there is supporting evidence, it may be deemed appropriate to convene a Panel straight away and without consideration having been given by the SCG.
  4. Before a meeting of the Panel is held, the student will be invited (in writing with at least three working days' notice) to a meeting with two CWaG staff. The student may be accompanied by a friend or representative. CWaG staff will explain that a Panel is being convened and what the purpose of the Panel meeting is. CWaG staff may ask the student to submit a written statement to the Panel. (At this stage, a student may choose to take a leave of absence.)
  5. The Panel will be convened and the membership will normally include:
  • Head of Central Welfare and Guidance (or delegate) (who will be the Chair of the Panel)
  • Medical Director of the University Health Service (UHS) (or a delegate who is a doctor appointed or employed by the University)
  • Mental health professional (employed by the University or from an external service when appropriate)
  • Representative(s) from the academic department(s) involved (who will be the note-taker)
  • Representative from the Student Engagement & Progress Team (SEP) or Research Services (RS)
  • Representative from the Student Conduct and Appeals Team (SCA)
  • Representative from the University Counselling Service (UCS)
  • Representative from the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS)
  • Up to 2 further representatives from CWaG

Plus as appropriate:

  • External service representative (if student attached to that service)
  • Representative from Accommodation and Commercial Services (if the student is in accommodation owned or managed by the University)
  • Representative from the Multifaith Chaplaincy
  1. Doctors or other clinical staff may seek a student's permission to discuss their case, as will others involved. However, health and safety issues and duty of care considerations will be paramount and the meeting will go ahead with or without the student's permission to share information about their case. Medical staff (and possibly DDSS or UCS) input may therefore be limited.
  2. The purpose of the Panel meeting is to consider whether or not it is in the student's and/or the University's interest and/or the general public's interest (in the case of a student on a professionally accredited programme of study) for the student to discontinue their studies at the University, in line with the Health Regulation above.
  3. Panel members must pay close attention to equality legislation and to the University's policies on equality.
  4. Where the Panel settles on a view that the student should discontinue their studies at the University, this will be notified to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) of the relevant Faculty. Relevant supporting material (including medical certificate) will also be made available.
  5. In line with the Health Regulation, the student will then be invited to make any observations in writing and to submit any further medical evidence, before any decision is acted upon. In the case of an applicant, a similar process/sequence will be followed as set out above, taking appropriate account of the different circumstances.
  6. Where it is deemed necessary by either the Medical Director of the University Health Service (UHS) (or a delegate who is a doctor appointed or employed by the University) or a Mental Health professional (employed by the University or from an external service when appropriate) a decision may be made and action taken in line with the Mental Capacity Act and what is therefore deemed to be in the student’s best interests.
  7. All aspects of this process will be handled in accordance with the provisions of Data Protection legislation.
  8. CWaG staff may assist a student in completing any necessary administrative processes to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the University.
  9. A student who is dissatisfied with the handling of their case in respect of the procedure may submit a complaint in accordance with the Student Complaints Procedure.
Progress Concerns and Faculty Student Review

Purpose

Progress of Students is a University-initiated procedure and falls within the University's General Regulations. An academic department may request a review of a student's academic progress, on specified grounds. The relevant form is available under the Downloads section below. Separate procedures exist for reviewing concerns about a student's fitness to practise.

Grounds for Review

(a) failure to attend regularly, or as specified in the relevant Regulations, the programme of study for which the student has registered;

(b) failure to perform adequately the work of the programme;

(c) failure to present at the times appointed such written work as may have been required;

(d) failure to pass an examination;

(e) failure to pursue the programme of research or to co-operate appropriately with the appointed supervisor;

(f) failure to demonstrate a satisfactory level of professional competence in the programme of study or research.

Process

The review is primarily to determine whether or not a student should be permitted to continue their programme of study or research, and if so on what terms.

There are two stages: The Progress Concerns stage, i.e. Progress Concerns email / Progress Concerns Interview with a Faculty Officer, escalating up to the more formal Faculty Student Review Committee (FSRC) stage. The Workflow Diagram below illustrates what is expected of the academic department before submitting a Progress Concerns Report and outlines the actions that may be taken by the Student Engagement and Progress team:

Progress Procedures Workflow Diagram

Students will receive this communication by email only and departments will need to advise the student that it is important for them to check their University email account for further information from the Student Engagement and Progress Team.

Please note that where concerns relate to a student on a Tier 4 visa and are largely due to poor attendance, departments are advised to discuss the case with the International Student Support (ISS) team in the first instance to assess whether the matter might be dealt with more appropriately via the Tier 4 Attendance Process.

When a Progress Concerns Report (PCR) has been submitted to the Student Engagement and Progress team, all aspects of a student's record may be taken into consideration. Where successful conclusion of the programme of study leads to professional practice, that may be taken into consideration.

Timetable

Progress Concerns Report Timetable

Appeal Mechanism for FSRC Decisions

The Regulations allow a student to appeal against a decision of the Faculty Student Review Committee on specified grounds to the Senate Appeals Committee.

Students wishing to appeal should complete and return the Progress Appeals form included in the decision letter sent out to them following the Faculty Student Review Committee hearing, as per the instructions in the letter.

Contact

UG and PGT Students

Student Engagement & Progress Team

PGR Students

Research Degree Support Team

Advice for Students

The Student Advice Centre can advise a student on their position.

Regulations

The General Regulations relating to the Progress of Students for the relevant academic year can be accessed through the University Calendar.

Procedures

Notes for Departments on Procedures relating to Student Progress

Notes for Departments on Procedures relating to PGR Student Progress

Notes on Procedure of Faculty Student Review Committees

Downloads

Progress Concerns Report Form

Progress Concerns Interviews - Faculty Officer Guidance

Faculty Student Review Committee - Staff Guidance

PGR Unsatisfactory Progress Report Form

The report below is an example of a Progress Concerns Interview Report. This report will be completed when a student attends an interview with a Faculty Officer:
Example Progress Concerns Interview Report

The letter below is an example of a generic Progress Concerns Letter which is sent to students:
Example Progress Concerns Letter

The letter below is an example of a Progress Concerns Letter to be used when a student has completely disengaged from their programme of study and all attempts by academic departments to re-engage the student have failed. The Student Engagement & Progress team will liaise with academic departments before proceeding with any student withdrawal:
Example Progress Concerns Letter (option to deem withdrawn included) 

Other Information

Student Access to Mental Health Services (SAMHS)  

Central Welfare and Guidance (CWaG)