Fitness to Study assessments

Your university may ask you to a Fitness to Study assessment if they have serious concerns about your wellbeing or how you are coping with university life.

Warning A Fitness to Study assessment is not a standard requirement after a break in studies

It should only happen if the university is also looking at what reasonable adjustments could help you return to your studies.

Adjustments for disabled students and examples (Disability Rights UK)

Ask for the reasons for the assessment. This will help you to understand and respond to the university’s concerns. If you feel that you are not getting the right support, you can raise your concerns too.

The Fitness to Study process can be different in each university.

Find out about your university’s process

Most universities publish their Fitness to Study procedures online. You could also request a copy from the person who asked you to go to the assessment.

The assessment often has 3 steps:

1. An informal meeting with your tutor or supervisor

You can talk about your and the university’s concerns about:

  • your wellbeing
  • what you and the university can do to address this
  • if you have the reasonable adjustments you requested

2. A more formal committee or group meeting

This could include:

  • the Head of Department
  • other academic staff
  • representatives of the Student Support service

This group should decide if the measures agreed at the first stage have worked. They should agree a written action plan.

3. A panel meeting or case conference

This may include:

  • your tutor or supervisor
  • someone senior from the university
  • a student support officer or disability adviser
  • someone to support you

You will be able to:

  • make your concerns heard
  • ask questions
  • present your own evidence

The panel will decide if you can continue your course. They will tell you about their appeal process.

Prepare evidence

Ask for a copy of any evidence that the university has included as part of their assessment.

You can collect your own evidence. For example:

  • reports from health professionals or people who support you
  • attendance records

Explain the barriers you faced on your course. If you asked for reasonable adjustments, show a copy of what was agreed. This might be an email or copy of a needs assessment. Tell the panel if you feel these have not been put into place.

Bring someone to support you

There may be several people in the room, so you may feel more confident if you bring someone with you. This could be the Student Disability Officer or another welfare officer from your students’ union. You could also ask another student or family member.

Ask for reasonable adjustments

The assessment process should be fair. You should not face barriers to taking part. You are the expert in your condition. If the assessment is not accessible to you, ask for any adjustments that you need.

For example, if your health condition affects your stamina, you can ask for meetings at a certain time of day. It may be easier for you to go before lectures.

Ask for a time limit if long meetings will affect your ability to contribute.

Send an email so there is a written record of the adjustments you’ve asked for.

Asking for reasonable adjustments

Help with Fitness to Study

Disabled Students Helpline (Disability Rights UK) can:

  • give you advice about the Fitness to Study process
  • help you understand what is reasonable and fair

Your Student Union Welfare Officer can:

  • advise you about how to get support for your health and wellbeing
  • attend meetings to support you

A university Disability Officer can:

  • give you specialist advice about reasonable adjustments
  • arrange specialist support, such as sign language interpreters, to make sure you can take part

Last reviewed by Scope on: 11/10/2019

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