Fitness to Study procedures and intermission

Yn disgwyl am adolygiad mewnol gan Jesus College, Cambridge o'u triniaeth o'r cais hwn.

Dear Jesus College, Cambridge,

This is a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This request asks for information related to students ‘disregarding terms for the purpose of standing’, commonly known within the University of Cambridge as intermission, and functioning as a 'suspending studies' process seen in UK Higher Education Institutes. For the purposes of this request, I will refer to intermission or intermitting students; this should be taken to refer to ‘disregarding terms’ but not course withdrawal.

This request also asks for information related to students withdrawing from their course; this is noted explicitly.

This request also asks for information related to College-based Fitness to Study procedures. An example Fitness to Study policy document is accessible here, which may help you with this request, for Magdalene College: https://www.magd.cam.ac.uk/system/files/...

This should not be confused with the University of Cambridge’s Fitness To Study procedure, accessible here: https://www.studentcomplaints.admin.cam....

Reference to a Fitness to Study procedure throughout this request should be taken to mean a College-based process, such as the example above for Magdalene College, whereby a higher education institute or body reviews that a student is supported, in their best interests, in balance with the rights of other students and staff. Procedures and policy may not be explicitly named as a Fitness to Study procedure, so for the purposes of this request consider ‘Fitness to Study’ to refer to College policy or procedure that is intended to or manages to achieve a similar purpose.

For your College, please:

(1) Provide electronic copies, or accessible links to, any documents outlining Fitness to Study procedure, protocol or policy currently in effect. Please note the guidance above in selecting relevant material.

(2) Provide any documents, or accessible links to documents, with prior versions of a Fitness to Study procedure (as in request (1)) that were active in any of the academic years through from 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 or 2019-20, with their year indicated. Do not include any documents that have no changes to the currently active policy, but do indicate if there was no policy in general for any of these years.

(3) Consider whether the Fitness to Study procedure contains stages or parts, as are indicated in the example given in this request. Please indicate the number of stages in the process, and suggest which parts of any policy or procedure documents these stages refer to, which may be obviously (sub)titled, as with the example given. For example, the example document supplied for Magdalene College indicates three stages, subtitled as sections 3, 4 and 5.

For each academic year through from 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, could you please provide:

(4) The number of students referred to a College-based Fitness To Study procedure, (i) as a total number per year; (ii) broken down by whether the referred students are undergraduates or postgraduates, and (iii) broken down by whether the referred students are undergraduates or postgraduates then by year of study; for undergraduates interpret year of study as Tripos year rather than real (academic) years; for Postgraduates, as real (academic) years.

(5) The number of students suspended temporarily as an outcome of Fitness To Study procedures (ie. an outcome similar to intermission), if possible further broken down by whether the student was both given and invited to a hearing, or not.

(6) The number of students deprived of membership and excluded permanently as an outcome of Fitness To Study procedures (ie. similar to course withdrawal), if possible further broken down by whether the student was both given and invited to a hearing, or not.

(7) Any outcomes of Fitness to Study procedures, with frequency of outcome.

(8) The number of applications for a student to intermit, first broken down by applications for medical reasons vs. non-medical reasons, further broken down by undergraduate or postgraduates, and with undergraduates broken down by Tripos year.

(9) The number of applicants to extend intermission, broken down by applications for medical reasons vs. non-medical reasons, further broken down by undergraduate or postgraduates, with undergraduates broken down by Tripos year.

(10) The number of applications to resume studies after suspended membership (ie. an outcome similar to intermission) from a Fitness To Study procedure.

(11) The number of approved applications to resume studies after suspended membership from a Fitness To Study procedure (see (10) above).

***

Combining all of the academic years listed earlier (ie. 2015-16 through to 2019-20), please provide:

(12) The number of students intermitting for consecutive years (ie. extending intermission) throughout the time period, broken down by the total number of years disregarded with frequency.

For example, a response might be:

Two years - 3
Three years - 5

This would indicate three students had intermitted for two years consecutively, and five students had intermitted for three years consecutively.

(13) The number of students withdrawing from their course, broken down by undergraduates or postgraduates, and further broken down by reason for withdrawal.

(14) With regards to the Fitness to Study procedure for your College, indicate the number of times the process was started with referral to the separate stages examined in your response to (3). You may find that the procedure can begin at a later stage, or advance through stages at discretion (eg. due to the decision of a Senior Tutor, or College Master) rather than via a decision-making body or other measure included in the prior stage; treat this as the the process starting at the later stage.

For example, a response might be:

Stage 1: 3

Stage 2: 1

Stage 3: 0

This would indicate that 3 students began the process at Stage 1, whilst 1 student was escalated at discretion or started directly at Stage 2, and no students were started at Stage 3.

(15) With regards to all times the Fitness to Study procedure has been used over the five years listed, please provide (i) the amount of money the College has spent on any mental health or disability training for any staff members who have held roles in any decision-making position involved in adjudicating any Fitness to Study cases including groups such as Case Review Panels or similar, excluding the salaries of any College Nurses or College Counsellors and; (ii) the amount of money the College has spent to fund students going through Fitness to Study procedures in obtaining medical evidence for the process.

(16) How many students who have undergone Fitness to Study procedures (i) have a disability, and (ii) what are the frequency of different disabilities? Use any information the College holds in your response, or otherwise break down students by HESA definitions of disability to answer (ii). See here for HESA definitions: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/studen...

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Please provide an index of any supporting or related documents. Please provide your answer electronically (eg. by email).

***

If you are to invoke Section 43 to withhold information in relation to any of these questions please note you must provide details of the exact FOIA exemption, details of who would be prejudiced by this information, and a public interest test justifying a conclusion with arguments for and against the release of the information.

If you are to invoke Section 12 to withhold information in relation to any of these questions please provide details of how locating, retrieving and extracting this information would exceed the appropriate limit of £450 as set out in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. Please also be aware of your duty under section 16 (1) of the Act to advise and assist me in narrowing my request to bring it within the appropriate limit.

Thank you very much for your assistance with this request. If you would like any clarification on the information I have asked for, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I look forward to receiving your response within the next 20 working days.

Yours faithfully,

Gabriel Kennedy

Freedom of Information, Jesus College, Cambridge

Dear Gabriel

Thank you for your request. This is to acknowledge receipt and let you know that we will respond as soon as possible and within 20 working days as specified by the Act.

Further details about making a request to the College, including your rights if you are not satisfied with our response may be found at https://www.jesus.cam.ac.uk/college/abou...

Information and advice about the Freedom of Information Act and making requests is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office http://ico.org.uk/for_the_public/officia...

Best wishes

Susan Webb
Information Compliance Officer
IT Department
Jesus College Cambridge
01223 339831
e-mail: [email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Freedom of Information, Jesus College, Cambridge

4 Atodiad

Dear Gabriel,

Thank you for your request.

Questions 1-3 The College's current Fitness to Study policies are attached. I also attach the previous versions dated 2012 (undergraduates) and 2013 (postgraduates)

Questions 4-14 and 16 The College does not hold the information that you have requested in any form where it would be straightforward to collate. A search of our information management system under the term "Fitness to Study" returned 345 files. To open and examine all these files, would take well over the appropriate limit of 18 hours. There is also no guarantee that these files would contain the level of detail that you require or that they would be a comprehensive source of information.

Question 15 We are also not able to identify amounts spent for staff and Fellows undergoing training. The College Nurse, College Counsellor and Welfare Tutors all undergo training as part of their role, as do the College Porters, but it is not possible to identify costs separately.

The College does not routinely cover the costs of medical examinations but may do so in cases of hardship.

Further details about making a request to the College, including your rights if you are not satisfied with our response may be found at https://www.jesus.cam.ac.uk/college/abou...

Information and advice about the Freedom of Information Act and making requests is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office http://ico.org.uk/for_the_public/officia...

Best wishes

Susan Webb
Information Compliance Officer
IT Department
Jesus College Cambridge
01223 339831
e-mail: [email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Jesus College, Cambridge,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Jesus College, Cambridge's handling of my FOI request 'Fitness to Study procedures and intermission'.

Firstly, thank you for your initial response and providing information. I would now like to raise some grounds for review, and further request clear advice on how to restrict my request so as not to exceed the 18 hour limit as specified in the Act, in light of a review.

In my first response your FOI officer wrote:

"The College does not hold the information that you have requested in any form where it would be straightforward to collate. A search of our information management system under the term "Fitness to Study" returned 345 files. To open and examine all these files, would take well over the appropriate limit of 18 hours. There is also no guarantee that these files would contain the level of detail that you require or that they would be a comprehensive source of information."

Please consider a number of points during review, listed below.

1. Your own Fitness to Study policy indicates that you record Fitness To Study referral.

"6.6. The informal discussions, advice and any undertakings made by the College or University and/or the student should be documented for the benefit of the College, the University and the student, but should be kept confidential. Copies of documents are to be kept by the Welfare Tutor and the student. A letter setting
out what has been agreed should be given to the student."

Does your response indicate that whilst this data is kept, it is not collated or monitored? If there is collation, you may be able to find this data. Regardless, if you search for letters sent to students, and/or documents kept by Welfare Tutors and the student(s) (eg. by common features, naming, text passages or key terms), this makes it simpler to answer question 4, and support answering question 16 once this is collected.

2. Your own Fitness to Study policy indicates that you send letters to students communicating Fitness to Study outcomes, relevant to questions 5-7.

"8.11. The student shall be notified in writing of the decision, with reasons, within 14 working days of the meeting of the College Review Panel. It is advisable that the decision is communicated in such a way that support is available to the student at the time, preferably from the appropriate Welfare Tutor or Senior Tutor. "

Therefore, collecting outcomes, (questions 5-7) should be straightforward to answer by searching for these letters (eg. by common features, naming, text passages or key terms), with the caveat that you may state that they could not be broken down by invitation to hearing (note the original request states 'if possible further broken down').

3. Your own Fitness to Study policy indicates that you devise documentation when a student is to resume membership after a Fitness to Study process.

"9.8. There should be a written record of what is agreed for the return to study plan and a copy given to the student. "

Therefore, questions 10 and/or 11 may be answerable by searching for any "return to study plan[s]" (eg. by common features, naming, text passages or key terms).

4. Question 13, examining course withdrawal, should be answerable by looking for records showing submission of student returns to Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), since this is monitored. Looking through systems where this is recorded or submitted to a central authority might make this simpler. HESA codes are also provided for course withdrawal, which could themselves be searched for. The HESA codes for course withdrawal are found here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/c19051...

5. My request seeks information related to academic years 2015-16 and beyond. Please advise on whether this was taken into account, and whether the "345 files" noted were all created after the academic year 2015-16. Please further advise on whether questions would be answerable if the number of years were reduced to narrow the request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

Gabe Kennedy