The University has a duty to protect the public by ensuring that students are fit to practise throughout their professional training. The academic programmes which require fulfilling a placement component are governed by professional regulatory bodies and each student is responsible for ensuring that he/she complies with their respective Codes of Conduct in addition to the University Code of Conduct. Students are required to learn, accept and demonstrate the standards of responsibility and accountability increasingly demanded of practitioners and teachers. A student’s fitness to practise may be challenged when their behaviour and/or professional conduct is a cause for concern or if there is a persistent concern about their suitability to continue on a programme. This policy outlines the procedures which must be taken if a student does not comply to University Code of Conduct and his/her respective professional regulatory body Code of Conduct.
This document should be considered in conjunction with the University Fitness to Study Policy and Disciplinary Procedures. Cases relating to a student’s health should follow Fitness to Study procedures.
- The term “Practise” as used within this policy refers to:
- Programmes with mandatory placements involving contact with vulnerable groups
- Programmes with optional modules involving contact with vulnerable groups
- Programmes designed specifically to prepare students for a particular profession and where employment in that profession will be dependent on meeting ‘Fitness to Practise’
- Programmes which lead to the award of a professional qualification/membership of a professional body where meeting ‘Fitness to Practise’ criteria is required as part of achieving that professional qualification/becoming a member of that professional body
- Specific Programmes:
- PsychD Counselling Psychology
- MA Integrative Counselling & Psychotherapy
- MSc Counselling & Psychotherapy (UKCP – 2016-2017 only)
- MSc Attachment Studies
- MA Art Psychotherapy
- MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy
- MA Dramatherapy
- MA Music Therapy
- MA Play Therapy
- BA Therapeutic Psychology
- BA Primary Education
- BA Education
- BA Early Childhood Studies
2. Purpose and Scope
- This policy applies to all students on programmes leading to a professional qualification or programmes associated with professional
- A student’s suitability in terms of conduct and competence to remain on a professional programme without restrictions is what defines fitness to Practise.
- The policy describes the processes that the University uses to deal with issues which might arise during a student’s programme of study that call into question whether he/she is fit to Practise. These issues relate to conduct and competence. Any issue relating to health and wellbeing will be addressed using the Fitness to Study policy. Each case is considered on an individual
- Those applying the policy must ensure that proceedings take into account the need to:
- protect patients or clients
- safeguard children
- understand and uphold appropriate standards of conduct and behaviour
- maintain public confidence in students of the various professions accrediting the University’s programmes
- maintain confidence in the ability of the University to deal appropriately with fitness to Practise issues and its students registered on professionally accredited
- According to this policy, restrictions take the form of outcomes or sanctions and may include the following:
- First or Final Warning
- Cause for Concern
- Conditions and/or Undertakings
- Temporary suspension
Such outcomes and sanctions are put in place for public protection.
- Students’ conduct in respect to this Policy is measured against the Principles of Professional Behaviour Expected of Students. If a student’s conduct and/or behaviour is believed to have fallen below the expected standards, their fitness to Practise will be considered by following the guidelines of this
- Students have an obligation to be familiar with the Principles of Professional Behaviour expected of them from the outset of their programme of study and it is the responsibility of the Programme Convener to ensure that those Principles are clearly communicated (normally within the Programme Handbook and/or the Placement Handbook).
- Students must be aware that University staff may be obliged to report a student’s unprofessional behaviour that affect their fitness to Practise to the relevant regulatory body and these issues may result in their professional regulatory body refusing registration on completion of the programme of study. Students must also be aware that they may be obliged, in accordance with their regulatory body requirements, to declare sanctions received in pre-registration education at the point of receipt or at the point of application for professional
3. Professional Behaviour Expected of Students
- Students are encouraged to aim for high standards in their professional and personal
- Students must comply with the Principles of Professional Behaviour Expected of Students as detailed below (3.6), in order to demonstrate that they are fit to Practise. These principles are broadly grouped into relationships with pupils, children patients and clients; probity; maintaining good practice; working with colleagues, and
- Regulatory and Professional bodies (e.g. ITT, BPS, HCPC, BACP, UKCP, GMC etc.) set standards for professional behaviour in the respective codes of professional conduct and ethics. Post-registration/postgraduate students must abide by the relevant professional code of conduct. Pre-registration students are expected to work towards applying their profession’s code at the point of registration onto a programme of study. Students must
ensure that they familiarise themselves to the Code of Conduct of their respective professional regulatory body and adhere to its requirements.
- Conduct, which is considered inappropriate for the student at any stage of their professional programme, will be deemed
- Students must be aware that their behaviour outside the clinical and teaching environment, including in their personal lives, may have an impact on their fitness to Practise. Their behaviour at all times must justify the trust that patients, clients and the public place in their profession. It is expected that students will alert a member of staff at the University if they do not feel fit to
- Students must comply with the following principles in order to demonstrate that they are fit to Practise. Failure to do so may result in referral to Fitness to Practise proceedings as outlined elsewhere within this
- Conduct which does not meet the standard expected of a student at a relevant stage of the student’s programme (typically but not exclusively associated with a Clinical Placement) will be deemed misconduct. An outline of these expectations is provided below:
- Relationships with patients or clients (Clinical Placement only)
- respect patients and clients and treat them with
- make sure that they are clearly identified as
- dress in an appropriate and professional way and be aware that patients and clients will respond to their appearance, presentation and
- maintain appropriate boundaries between themselves and patients and clients and anyone close to the patient or client. They must not use their professional position to cause distress or to exploit patients or
- be open and honest in dealing with patients and clients, their carers, relatives, partners, or anyone else close to
- be aware of ethical issues in their professional behaviour with patients and
- make sure they follow the advice of their appropriate professional body(s) on codes of ethics, informed consent and
- Probity (ie being honest and trustworthy, and acting with integrity) Students should:
- bring attention to any concerns they themselves or others may have about, or errors in, their clinical or teaching
- be honest, authentic and original in their academic work, including when conducting research, and take effective action if they have concerns about the honesty of others.
- be honest and trustworthy when writing reports, logbooks and records and attendance registers etc., and when completing and signing
- be honest in all CVs and all applications and not misrepresent their qualifications, clinical experience, position or
- not plagiarise others’ work or use their own work that has been submitted previously
- be honest and trustworthy in any financial dealings that may be a required component of their
- cooperate with any enquiry by their University Department or any other organisation into their health, behaviour or performance, or that of anybody
- comply with the laws of the UK, and where relevant, any laws that apply specifically in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. (In the cases of overseas placements to comply with the laws of the host Country).
- inform the Head of Department that they have been cautioned, charged or found guilty of a criminal offence. This should be documented in
- Maintaining good practice
- not exceed their Practice
- ask for help or seek assistance when
- make sure that they are appropriately supervised for any clinical task they perform, and inform their tutor and/or other relevant persons (e.g. placement providers) if they have any concerns in this
- respect the decisions and rights of patients or clients, placement
- not unfairly discriminate against patients or clients by allowing their personal views to affect their professional relationship or the care they provide (this includes their views about a patient’s or client’s age, culture, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, lifestyle, marital or parental status, race, religion or beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, and social or economic status ).
- be aware that treatment should be based on the patient’s/client’s priorities and the effectiveness of care/treatment options, and that decisions should be arrived at through assessment and discussion with the patient or client and placement provider.
- behave with
- report any concerns they have about patient or client safety to an appropriate person.
- be aware that they must acquire knowledge, competencies, skills and professional attitudes in order to eventually register with their appropriate professional
- attend compulsory teaching or other sessions associated with the placement or make other arrangements with the university as
- Students on Initial Teacher Training programmes are expected to abide by Part 2 of the Teacher Standards (DfE, 2012).
A teacher is expected to demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional conduct. The following statements define the behaviour and attitudes which set the required standard for conduct throughout a teacher’s career.
Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by:
- treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position
- having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions
- showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others
- not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
- ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the
Teachers must have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach, and maintain high standards in their own attendance and punctuality.
Teachers must have an understanding of, and always act within, the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities.
4. Triggers for Use
- A student’s fitness to Practise may be brought into question for many reasons, as outlined
above, and in a wide range of circumstances. These include (but are not restricted to) the following:
- Risk Management Review Group referral
- Serious concerns about the student emerge from a third party (i.e. Placement Supervisor or Manager, Clients or Patients directly, or through a relative or advocate etc.) which indicate that there is a need to question their fitness to Practise
- The student has told a member of the University that they have a problem and/or provided information which indicates that there is a need to question their fitness to Practise
- The student exhibits behaviour which is inappropriate and does not comply with Code of Conduct
Examples of circumstances that might render a student unfit to Practise are given below. This list is not exhaustive, and the examples may not all be applicable to every programme.
- Intimidation of fellow students, patients, professional clients or staff
- Acting in a violent manner
- Conviction of a criminal offense
- Failure to rectify behaviour that has been subject to any disciplinary actions under the University’s regulations
- Inappropriate behaviour towards others
- Falsification of patient, client or other professional records
- Failing to act in a way to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those who are vulnerable;
- Breaching confidentiality
- Breaching safeguarding protocols
- In all cases, the student’s Personal Tutor, Programme Convenor or Director of Studies should be notified so that the Department is aware of the situation and can provide any necessary initial support and advice. Should the identified issue persist then the Actions identified in the Appendix below will be