Swansea University

Fitness to Study Procedure

1. Introduction and Procedure

1.1

A student may be required to attend a medical assessment, suspend studies or withdraw from the University where the University deems that on health grounds it is not appropriate for the student to continue with his/her studies, whether in exercising its duty of care to others of where it is deemed not to be in the interest of the particular student. The procedure to be followed in such circumstances is set out below.

1.2

Any member of staff who has serious concerns that it may not be appropriate for a student to continue with his/her studies, whether in exercising its duty of care to others or where it is deemed not to be in the interests of the particular student is advised to contact the Head of Student Support Services, the Wellbeing Services Manager or (if the concern relates to a student’s physical disability) the Disability Office Manager to discuss the concerns - at first instance without disclosing the student’s name/personal details (to protect the student’s right to confidentiality). Staff are referred to the ‘Procedures for Helping Students with Mental Health Difficulties’ set out within the University’s Mental Health Policy.

1.3

Where the Head of Student Support Services, the Wellbeing Services Manager or the Disability Office Manager consider the concerns about a student’s health to be of such a nature that it appears that the student’s continuation of his/her studies is likely to pose a risk of harm to the student him/herself or to others, he/she will establish a multidisciplinary Committee Panel consisting of staff from Wellbeing Services and/or the Disability Office, Academic Services and the student's College. The Panel will be chaired by the Director of Student Services or Head of Student Support Services (or their nominee).

1.4

Where it is considered to be appropriate, any further person(s) may be invited to attend the Committee meeting for the purpose of providing information to the Committee Panel. Such person(s) will normally be asked to leave the Committee meeting before the Panel determine what further action (if any) is appropriate [in accordance with Section 1.6 below] unless the Chair considers it pertinent for the person to remain. The Chair of the Panel may also request any persons to provide written details of their concerns to the Committee Panel.

1.5

The discussions during the Committee meeting, and any written information presented to the Committee Panel, shall be confidential and shall not normally be disclosed to any persons other than the Committee Panel (unless in accordance with Section 1.6(ix) or 1.8 below). To ensure that the Panel is made aware of all appropriate and relevant concerns and facts the confidentiality policy for Student Services will be relaxed to allow for an assessment of risk to be undertaken.

1.6

Based on the outcome of the Committee’s review of the case and informed by the assessments and recommendations of the relevant professional staff, the Committee Panel may:

i. determine that no further action is required;

ii. arrange a further Committee meeting to review the case on a later date;

iii. require the student to attend an appointment at Wellbeing Services and/or the University's Disability Office to discuss their support needs;

iv. require the student to contact (either directly or with the assistance of Wellbeing Services or the Disability Office as appropriate), within a prescribed period of time, a suitable qualified practitioner (to be specified by the Committee Panel) to arrange an appointment for assessment and to attend such appointment;

v. require the student to provide to the Committee, by a specified date, a letter / report from the suitably qualified practitioner with whom the student has been required to attend an appointment for assessment. The Committee Panel will specify the information which such letter / report will need to contain;

vi. require the student to suspend his/her studies where the Committee Panel considers that the student’s continuation of his/her studies is likely to pose a real risk of harm to the student him/herself or to others. In such circumstances, the Committee will determine the conditions which have to be met for the student to be permitted to resume his/her studies, such as (but not limited to) the Committee’s receipt of written confirmation from the Occupational Health Department and/or other suitably qualified practitioner as specified by the Panel that the student is fit to resume his/her studies and/or a satisfactory outcome of a risk assessment;

vii. recommend to the Chair of the Academic Regulations and Cases Board that the student be withdrawn from the University, where the Panel considers that:

  • the student's return to study in the foreseeable future is likely to have a detrimental effect on the student's health or pose a risk of harm to the student or others; and
  • either all support options have been exhausted or appropriate support options are unlikely to safeguard against the likely detrimental effect on the student's health/risk of harm.

The Chair will determine whether the student is withdrawn from the University. The student will be informed in writing of the Chair's decision in accordance with Section 1.9 below.

viii. determine, at its discretion, any alternative outcome(s) which it considers to be appropriate in the circumstances of the case;

ix. determine that the outcome of the Committee meeting, any document considered by or relating to the Committee and/or details of any specific concerns be disclosed to specific person(s) as the Committee Panel deem to be appropriate;

x. determine any combination of the above outcomes.

1.7

Where the Committee determines any outcome under Sections 1.6(iii-viii) above, the student shall be informed in writing following the Committee meeting of the outcome and the reasons for the Committee’s decision. The student shall not normally be notified of the discussions at the meeting. It will be made clear to the student that this procedure is separate from the University’s Disciplinary Procedures.

1.8

Following a referral of the student to a suitable qualified practitioner for assessment [in accordance with Section 1.6(iv) above] the Committee shall normally provide to the practitioner copies of:

  • these procedures; and/or
  • the letter(s) sent to the student confirming the outcome of the Committee meeting(s); and/or
  • the record / summary of the Committee meeting(s); and/or
  • any further documents / correspondence which the Committee Panel consider it appropriate to be provided to the practitioner.

1.9

Where the student is required to suspend or withdraw [in accordance with Sections 1.6(vi) or 1.6(vii) above] a letter shall be sent to the student informing him/her of the suspension/withdrawal and the reasons underlying this decision. It will be made clear to the student that this procedure is separate from the University's Disciplinary Procedures. Students will be given an opportunity to request the Committee to re-examine this decision by making written representations to the Committee within 14 working days of the date of the Committee’s decision.

1.10

The suspension/withdrawal shall be reviewed by the Committee in light of: receipt of representations from the student [made in accordance with Paragraph 1.9 above]; and/or any new developments and prior to the next available point of return to studies, usually the start of the next academic session. The Committee may take advice from the Chair of the Academic Regulations and Cases Board before reaching its decision. The student shall be advised by letter of the Committee’s final decision following the re-examination and of their right to request a Final Review in accordance with the University's Final Review Procedures (see Section 2).

1.11

The student’s resumption of studies following a required suspension shall be subject to prior approval by the Committee and conditional upon the Committee being satisfied that all of the conditions imposed for the student to be permitted to resume his/her studies have been met.

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