Support & well-being
Teacher trainee "fitness to teach"
Due to the vocational nature of the PGCE ITT course and recognising that the fundamental tenet of the profession of a teacher is the care and protection of children “in loco parentis”, it is a requirement under The Education Act 2002 for all ITT applicants’ health to be assessed. The standards used to assess against are specified in the Department for Education’s “Fitness to Teach” guidance. It is the role of an Occupational Health Service to make this health assessment, not the student’s General Practitioner (GP), although OH will work closely with Primary and Secondary care services (as appropriate) in reaching the decision on fitness to teach.
The aim of the fitness requirements is to ensure that a future teacher has both the physical and mental fitness to perform their duties without putting children and young people at risk. However, there is a duty on the University to ensure that health and safety or child protection requirements are not used spuriously to justify discrimination against a disabled student (Equality Act 2010). Every decision by OH is made considering the individual, not any one condition – each case will be looked at individually, on its merits and in the light of the particular circumstances.
OH get involved at two stages in the ITT journey; the new application to the course and those students who develop health problems whilst on the course.
Medical and personal information disclosed during the assessment processes will be held “in confidence” by the OH service. Medical details will only be given to managers and others outside the OH service in so far as it is necessary for them to discharge their management responsibilities, in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
This process guidance is designed to complement the University Regulations and any relevant policies produced by the Teacher Education at Loughborough (TE@L)
1. The TE@L will send an ITT health questionnaire to every applicant with a conditional offer of a place on the course. Also attached will be another questionnaire from the Counselling and Disability Service (CDS) for the applicant to complete as well
2. The cover note sent with the questionnaires will state that the cost of applying for health clearance is £15; an envelope addressed to OH will also be included. Applicants will return questionnaires to OH, together with cheque for £15 payable to Loughborough University.
3. OH will assess the fitness of applicants; approval may be given on the basis of the questionnaire alone, or may require a doctor’s report, a phone call or an assessment by the University’s Occupational Health Physician (OHP). OH will make any necessary contact with applicants to seek further information, arrange appointments, or obtain consent to contact the applicant’s own doctor(s).
4. Where an individual has been cleared, but requires adjustments, this will be confirmed directly with them in writing. OH will gain the applicant’s consent to advise TE@L of this decision. If consent is refused, the consequences of this will be explained to the applicant by OH and TE@L will be informed of this refusal.If any declaration of a disability is made on the CDS form, then this will be copied to CDS for them to action; CDS and OH may need to work together in the case of a mental or physical impairment, but not so in the case of a learning difficulty such as Dyslexia (any practical support required will be fully assessed and advised solely by the CDS team)
5. Where appropriate, OH will obtain the individual’s consent to discuss necessary adjustments with CDS. CDS may need to make their own assessment as well to ensure further support can be provided; they will make separate arrangements for this.
6. Where an individual is not considered to be fit for teacher training, this will be confirmed directly with them in writing. OH will gain their consent to advise TE@L of this decision. If consent is refused, the consequences of this will be explained to the applicant by OH and TE@L will be informed of this refusal.
7. OH will send a spreadsheet to TE@L confirming which applicants have been successfully cleared before the start of the new academic year.
8. The final decision on an individual’s admission to an ITT course is made by the TE@L Director.
1. Any concerns regarding the health of an ITT student will be discussed with them at the earliest opportunity by their course Tutor and/ or the TE@L Director. The need to refer to OH will be explained to them and agreement reached for this to happen. A referral form will be completed and sent to OH. The Tutor may also need to bring in the skills and expertise of CDS as appropriate.
2. The OHP will assess the student using the "Fitness to Teach" standards as a guide. Consent will usually be sought to write to the student’s GP and request medical reports (where appropriate) before reaching any decision. If consent is refused, the consequences of this will be explained to the student by OH and TE@L will be informed of this refusal.
3. Liaison with CDS on any adjustments that may be needed will occur as appropriate.
4. Where a student is not considered to be fit to continue teacher training, this will be confirmed directly with them in writing. OH will gain their consent to advise TE@L of this decision. If consent is refused, the consequences of this will be explained to the student by OH and TE@L will be informed of this refusal.
5. If any particular medical conditions are stipulated by the OHP, these will be explained to the student and they will also receive these in writing. OH will gain their consent to advise TE@L of this decision. If consent is refused, the consequences of this will be explained to the student by OH and TE@L will be informed of this refusal.
6. Ongoing support will be offered and follow up meetings with OH will be agreed with the student as appropriate.
7. The final decision on a student’s continuation on the course is made by the TE@L Director.