Fitness Resits and deferrals


Students that are undertaking a professional qualification can be called to fitness to practise meetings. This is typically students who are governed by the HCPC (The Health and Care Professions Council) of the GMC (General Medical Council). It also covers professionals like teachers and those students undergoing PGCE’s.

Fitness to practise is the ability to perform to the capabilities that the profession requires or to meet the professional standards. This tends to cover concepts of professionalism, professional competence, and health.

The HCPC defines someone Fit to practise if they have “the skills, knowledge, character and health to practise their profession safely and effectively”. (

Some examples of this maybe that your health and wellbeing around that you are not able to perform to the set standard. It might also mean that there are concerns around professionalism.

Where there are concerns about your suitability for the award of a qualification leading to such a profession, the University will consider your case through the Fitness to Practise procedure.

What happens if there are concerns around my practice?

If you are a student that is regulated by a governed body, then the university of the Professionals over seeing your placement have the duty of reporting any concerns. Reports of concern can be in two categories. These are defined by the University as followed:

  • Unprofessional conduct that may give rise to concerns about the fitness to practise of a student
  • Health and wellbeing matters that might give rise to concerns about the fitness to practise of a student

More information about the definitions of these categories can be seen in the Fitness to Practise Procedure Part II

Once the ‘Reporter’ has raised these concerns the University will assign an ‘Investigating Officer’. The University will then notify you of this and that there are concerns around your Fitness to Practise.

As you may be working with vulnerable people or children or those that need care, and it is seen that you may not be able to continue with your placements. Whilst the ‘Investigating Officer’ is looking in the concerns you will be temporarily suspended from participating in placements. This is likely to have an impact on your studies. You will receive a letter which outlines the concerns raised and it will highlight your next steps.

If you are unsure what is being asked of you or would like more help understanding the notification letter, then we can support you with this.

What will happen next?

Once you have received this notification you will be invited to an interview with the ‘investigating officer’ if it is in relation to unprofessional conduct you can ask for a support to be present in the meetings. If it is in relation to wellbeing and health, then you may have a meeting with Occupational Health (OH).

Once all the interviews have been conducted then the ‘Investigating officer’ or OH with submit their report.

You will then be invited to a preliminary hearing. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to enable the responsible person to review the findings of the oh professional and/or investigating officer and the evidence in a less formal setting than that of a full fitness to practise panel.

own understanding of their position with the OH professional and/or Investigating Officer and the Responsible Person and to bring to their attention any additional evidence that they consider relevant to their Professional Conduct that was not available to the OH professional and/or Investigating Officer for good reason during the investigation.

The Preliminary Hearing provides additional information to enable the Responsible Person to assess whether the Student's health or wellbeing or Professional Conduct is such that a Fitness to Practise Panel should be convened to determine their Fitness to Practise.


Ideally everyone is able to do their exams at set periods in the year (mostly in January and May), but many students will sit their exams in the ‘ref/def’ period in August.

What is the difference?

Deferred assessments are where the assessments have been moved to another time after the student has applied for mitigation due to material circumstances at the time of the exam which would impact their performance.

Referred assessments are assessments that have been taken already and have not been passed so a second opportunity to pass them but the outcome is capped at the pass mark, (provided that is met). There is a cost to any referred assessments.

What are the costs of the referred assessments?

There is no charge for referred or deferred assessments this academic year.

In previous years a deferred assessment will have no cost, however a referred assessment (where you have already attempted it previously) will have a cost.

What happens if I do not pass my referred assessments?

It is unusual to get another opportunity to resit unless this is the outcome of an appeal. The consequences of not passing an assessment can depend upon the number of credits passed overall and whether the assessment is part of a core or condonable module.

If it is a core module it may impact progression, while if it is not a core module and you have passed enough credits at a pass percentage overall it may be able to be condoned. It is best to speak to your college to understand this.