Fitness to Study Procedures

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To whom it may concern,

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

This request 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:

This should not be confused with the University of Cambridge’s Procedure to Support and Assess Capability to Study, accessible here:

References to a Fitness to Study procedure throughout this request should be taken to mean a College-based process. It refers to a process in which a higher education institute or body reviews whether a student is able to engage with college life and/or concerns about a student’s behaviour or health, and the impact it may have on the student or other members of the college community. 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.

Could you please provide the following pieces of information:

(1) 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) Any documents, or accessible links to documents, with prior versions of a Fitness to Study procedure that were active in any of the academic years through from 2020-21, 2021-22, or 2022-23, 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.

For each of the academic years, 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23 up to the date of this request, could you please provide:

(3) A yes or no response to the question: has the College initiated a least one Fitness To Study procedure?

(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.

(6) The number of students suspended temporarily as an outcome of Fitness To Study procedures (ie. an outcome similar to intermission).

(7) The number of students deprived of membership and excluded permanently as an outcome of Fitness To Study procedures (ie. an outcome similar to course withdrawal).

Combining all of the academic years listed earlier (ie. 2020-21 through to the date of this request), please provide:

(6) The number of times the Fitness to study procedure was started (i) as a total number (ii) broken down by the number of times the procedure was started at each stage. You may find that the procedure can begin at a later stage, or advance through stages at discretion rather than via a decision-making body or other measure included in the prior stage; treat this as 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.

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,

Elia and Daisy, Queens' College, Cambridge

Dear Elia and Daisy

Further to your request dated 4 April 2023, under the Freedom of Information Act, the answers to your questions are below:

The College's policies are available here:
The Fitness to Study policy has not changed in the period 2020-21, 2021-22, or 2022-23.
The Fitness to Study policy has not been used in the past three years. Therefore, no students have been excluded either temporarily or permanently as a result of the procedure.

If you feel that we have not dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act properly, the College's procedures indicate that you may complain to the President who may be contacted at Queens' College, Cambridge, CB3 9ET, email: [email address].

You also have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether your request has been dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. The Information Commissioner will usually expect complainants to have exhausted an organisation's internal complaints procedures before accepting a complaint.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Spence, MA (Oxon), MA
Senior Bursar

Queens' College
Tel: 01223 335605
Email: [email address]

Charity Registration No. 1137495

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