Please note: This only applies to courses that lead to a qualification with a professional body.
If a concern for a student’s professional practice is raised, the Head of School will appoint an Investigating Officer to look into the issue. The Officer would then ask you to attend a meeting to discuss the concern and record your side, then speak with other parties involved before compiling a report for the Head, who in turn will decide if a Fitness to Practice Panel is needed.
The Fitness to Practice Meeting
If you have been called for a Fitness to Practice meeting, you should be sent details of the meeting along with the Investigating Officer’s report. You can contact our Advice Centre for support with the meeting and/or to attend with you.
The advisor will need to have full knowledge of your case and discuss this with you beforehand, so please give them plenty of notice of the date and time of your meeting.
The outcomes from the Head of School meeting can be
a. that there are no grounds for concern and the case should be dismissed;
b. that further investigation is necessary;
c. that the matter should be referred to be dealt with under another University procedure;
d. that there is insufficient evidence to reach a finding that a student is unfit to practise, but that the cause of concern is sufficiently serious to warrant remedial action such as monitoring or supervision of the student for a defined period, and/or the issue of a written reprimand which will normally have effect for the duration of the course;
e. that the student be re-assessed in specified part(s) of the course, in consultation with the Chair of the Assessment Board;
f. that the student be permitted to continue on the course, subject to conditions and/or an undertaking including (without limitation) a 5 programme of rehabilitation or treatment, or observation/supervision, reviewed by the Dean/Head of School after a given period;
g. that the student is required to withdraw from his/her studies for a specified period, in which case the student’s return to study may be subject to a further satisfactory assessment and/or conditions;
h. that the matter should be referred to a Fitness to Practise Committee.
If the Head of School decides to refer your case to a full panel meeting, the meeting is your opportunity to ask any questions about the report and lay out your case. Other members of the panel will also have the opportunity to question the report and ask you any questions. You will then be asked to leave the room/call whilst a decision is made. Sometimes a decision will be made on the day, but the panel have the right to talk afterwards before confirming the decision in writing.
Possible outcomes will vary depending on the situation but can include; the meeting being adjourned because further investigation is needed, a period of monitoring or supervision, reassessment, the case being dismissed as no cause for concern has been proven or transferring to a non-professional course.
In very serious cases it may be decided that the student has been found unfit to practice and their professional education and training may be terminated resulting being withdrawn from university.
If you are unhappy with the decision made you can appeal to the firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 working days of the date on letter confirming the fitness to practice decision. This appeal must fit within 1 of these 3 grounds:
- If new evidence or Extenuating Circumstances has become known which the student could not have made known at the time of the original hearing.
- If you felt the original hearing/interview was not conducted fairly or in accordance with the published procedure
- If the original decision was manifestly unreasonable.