What is Fitness to Practise?
Fitness to Practise procedures apply to students on certain professional degree programmes. These programmes are accredited by external professional bodies and students are expected to display safe and appropriate standards of professional behaviour. The University, in conjunction with the professional bodies, has a duty to ensure a student is fit to practise. ‘Fitness to Practise’ refers to the procedures which are followed when a concern is raised about a student’s fitness to practise.
Which degree programmes does it apply to?
Students across a range of programmes are subject to Fitness to Practise procedures.
In the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the programmes are:
- - Social Work
- - Teaching/Education
- - Nursing
- - Clinical Psychology
- - Law (Diploma in legal Studies)
In the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, the programmes are:
- - MBChB (including BMedSci honours programmes)
- - BVM&S (including BVetSci honours programmes)
- - BSc in Oral Health Sciences
- - Clinical postgraduate programmes in the Edinburgh Dental Institute
- - MSc Anaesthesia Practice
How does it work?
A student can be referred or reported for Fitness to Practise issues through many routes, such as complaints being made by the public or staff where a student is on placement; reports from University staff or other students; and via a referral from a Code of Conduct investigation.
There are slightly different procedures for programmes in the two Colleges and you can read these in full here:
‘Procedures relating to cases of Fitness to Practise’ in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
‘Student Fitness to Practise procedures’ in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Generally speaking, a report will be made detailing the potential issue and the student will be notified of this. The student is often then invited to a meeting where they will have the opportunity to put forward their response. It may be helpful to write a written response to the allegations. This can be sent in advance of the meeting, or can be used to help formulate the points you wish to make in person. Our advisers can support you to prepare for any meetings and also accompany you on the day. We cannot answer questions on your behalf, but we can help clarify points and ensure procedures are being followed correctly.
What are the outcomes?
Following a fitness to practise case, there are several possible outcomes. A student could be:
- - Allowed to continue on their programme
- - Given a warning
- - Allowed to continue on their programme, under certain conditions
- - Be required to repeat parts of their programme
- - Be required to interrupt studies
- - Expelled from their programme
In cases where a student is facing allegations under the Code of Student Conduct as well, the Fitness to Practise procedures would normally take precedence.
Can I appeal?
Students have the right of appeal against the outcome of the Fitness to Practise procedures.
Please note, there are strict deadlines involved in the appeals process and you would need to lodge an appeal within 10 working days of being informed of the decision.
You would also need to have specific grounds for an appeal and there are two grounds of appeal:
- - Ground A: Substantial information directly relevant to the students case which for good reason was not available to the College Fitness to Practise Committee when its decision was taken.
- - Ground B: Alleged incorrect procedure or conduct of the College procedure for assessing Fitness to Practise. This involves review of the way the student case was handled, not re-investigation of the case itself.
We have more information here about appealing, and our advisers can support you with this process.
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