Fitness to Study procedures and intermission

Gabe Kennedy made this Freedom of Information request to Peterhouse, Cambridge

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Dear Peterhouse, 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...

***

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

Liz Wake, Peterhouse, Cambridge

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Kennedy

 

Following my message to you via WDTK on Friday 11/12 requesting more time,
I am returning what information we have gleaned so far.

 

It was our intention to give your request full attention much earlier on
(and we might have invoked Section 12 for parts of it had we done so) but
I’m afraid this proved impossible, due to my own absence for several days
over November and further delay due the heavy Covid-related workload in
Tutorial (where the data resides) and staff shortage there.  We are
therefore coming to this very late in the day.

 

We believe that FTS data is only held from 2017/18 onwards when the
current Tutorial Manager took over from her predecessor, who was not
proficient In MIS.

   

In reply to your questions (abbreviated):

 

1.       [1]Fitness to Study Procedure

 

[2]https://www.pet.cam.ac.uk/fitness-study-...

 

2.       This policy has been in place over the 5 year period in question.

 

3.       3 stages

 

4.        Numbers of students referred to FTS procedure:

 

      

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Year |Number |U/g |P/g |Year of Study |
|--------------+-----------------+---------+---------+-------------------|
|2017-18 |<5 non-zero |  |  |  |
|--------------+-----------------+---------+---------+-------------------|
|2018-19 |<5 non-zero |  |  |  |
|--------------+-----------------+---------+---------+-------------------|
|2019-20 |<5 non-zero |  |  |  |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

5.       Number of students suspended

Data not yet found/collated

 

6.       Number of students deprived of membership as outcome of
FTS/hearing

Data not yet found/collated

 

7.       Any outcomes of FTS procedures/ frequency of outcome

Data not yet found/collated

 

8.       Applications for Intermission:

 

Year No. of students intermitted U/G Grad
2015-16 11 <5 6
2016-17 20 8 12
2017-18 14 9 5
2018-19 20 8 12
2019-20 Being collated   
Total   30 35
  Of which on Medical grounds 27 18

 

9.       The number of applicants to extend intermission (medical vs.
non-medical)

Data not yet collated

 

10.   The number of applications to resume studies after suspended
membership.

Data not yet collated

 

11.   The number of approved applications to resume studies after
suspended membership.

Data not yet collated

 

12.    Combined numbers of students intermitting for consecutive years.

Data not yet collated

 

13.   The number of students withdrawing from their course

Data not yet collated

 

14.   Number of times FTS was started (with stages)

Data not yet collated

 

15.   Money spent on training related to FTS: 

(i)Much of the training has been internally offered by the University at
no cost.  External Mental Health First Aid training  for 2 welfare staff
cost £600 in total in 2017 and 2019.

 

(ii) unknown

 

16.   Students undergoing FTS with disabilities

Data not yet collated

 

We will endeavour to return the missing data to you by the end of this
week.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Liz Wake

College Secretary

Research Fellowships Administrator

 

Tel: 01223 338202

Peterhouse

Trumpington Street

Cambridge

CB2 1RD

 

Follow us on:

 

[3]Twitter[4]cid:image003.jpg@01D2BCF1.7B728A50[5]facebook

 

Registered Charity No. 1137457

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.pet.cam.ac.uk/sites/default/...
2. https://www.pet.cam.ac.uk/fitness-study-...
3. https://twitter.com/Peterhouse_Cam
4. https://www.instagram.com/peterhouse_cam/
5. https://www.facebook.com/peterhouse.cam

Liz Wake, Peterhouse, Cambridge

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Kennedy

 

Further to my reply of 14/11/20 here is the remainder of the data to the
questions outstanding:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.

Year U/g P/g Year of Study
2017-18 ˜5 (non-zero) 0  
2018-19 ˜5 (non-zero) 0  
2019-20 ˜5 (non-zero) 0  

 

We invoke Section 40(2) for the remainder of the data in this question and
for question 7.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.   Zero

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6.  Zero

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7.  see  4 above

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8.                                                     

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|  |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Year      |No. of students applying for intermission|U/G (med) |P/G (med|
|----------+-----------------------------------------+----------+--------|
|2015-16 |11 |5 |6 |
|----------+-----------------------------------------+----------+--------|
|2016-17 |20 |8 |12 |
|----------+-----------------------------------------+----------+--------|
|2017-18 |14 |9      |5    |
|----------+-----------------------------------------+----------+--------|
|2018-19 |20 |8      |12  |
|----------+-----------------------------------------+----------+--------|
|2019-20 |12 |7      |5    |
|----------------------------------------------------+----------+--------|
|Key: () no. on medical grounds |37 (31) |40 (20) |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9.   ˜5 (non zero)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10.  Zero

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11. Zero

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

12.     3 years – 3 u/g

          2 years –  2 p/g

 

NB:  some students intermit part way through the academic year and
therefore return part way through an academic year.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

13.  Withdrawals

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Year |U/G |P/G |
|--------------------+--------------------------+------------------------|
|2017/18 |0 |˜5 (non-zero) |
|--------------------+--------------------------+------------------------|
|2018/19 |˜5 (non-zero) |˜5 (non-zero) |
|--------------------+--------------------------+------------------------|
|2019/20 |˜5 (non-zero) |˜5 (non-zero) |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

We do not hold the reasons for withdrawal

 

14. 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Year |U/G |P/G |
|--------------------+--------------------------+------------------------|
|2017/18 |0 |0 |
|--------------------+--------------------------+------------------------|
|2018/19 |˜5 (non-zero) |˜5 (non-zero) |
|--------------------+--------------------------+------------------------|
|2019/20 |˜5 (non-zero) |˜5 (non-zero) |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

All of the undergraduates were started at Stage 1.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

15i. I must qualify my previous reply of 14/11/20.  The mental health
training cited was not necessarily related to FTS.  We do not hold data on
expenditure on training specific to FTS.

15ii. Not held

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16.  ˜5 (non zero) We invoke Section 40(2)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Liz Wake

College Secretary

 

Tel: 01223 338202

Peterhouse

Trumpington Street

Cambridge

CB2 1RD

 

Follow us on:

 

[1]Twitter[2]cid:image003.jpg@01D2BCF1.7B728A50[3]facebook

 

Registered Charity No. 1137457

 

References

Visible links
1. https://twitter.com/Peterhouse_Cam
2. https://www.instagram.com/peterhouse_cam/
3. https://www.facebook.com/peterhouse.cam