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.
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.
The university or the professional body may offer an alternative Fitness to Study assessment process.
A hearing can only take place by video if everyone, including you, your supporters and any notetakers agree to it being held in this way.
The university and professional body must make sure that:
the process is accessible
you have suitable equipment
all necessary reasonable adjustments are in place
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:
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
present your own evidence
The panel will decide if you can continue your course. They will tell you about their appeal process.
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
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.