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Student Mental Health - CS031803


A medical student complained to us after the provider dismissed her academic appeal. The provider concluded that she needed to repeat Year 4 because she had not satisfied the progression requirements.

Soon after this decision the student was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. A psychiatric report stated that her condition was likely to have impaired her academic performance and engagement with the programme.

The student appealed the provider’s decision and submitted a copy of the psychiatric report. She said she had not been able to disclose her disability because it was undiagnosed and her recent diagnosis had not been taken into account in relation to the assessments. The provider decided that it was not possible to retrospectively apply the psychiatric report to assessments that the student had already completed.

We concluded that it was reasonable for the provider to require students to satisfy the necessary conditions for progression before proceeding to the next stage of the programme. Repeating the year was the only way to demonstrate that the student could meet the requirements for progression to Year 5. However, we were concerned that the provider had not given detailed consideration to the evidence provided. The provider had taken a blanket approach by rejecting the evidence as retrospective without properly considering all of the relevant circumstances of the student’s particular case. The provider could have asked itself whether the student’s diagnosis amounted to a new and previously unsuspected condition that might have affected her performance.

We found the complaint Partly Justified and recommended the provider consider the student’s medical evidence and whether or not the circumstances might have impacted her performance. If it decided the circumstances might have affected her performance the provider should consider the terms of the student’s repeat year, including whether it should be treated as a first attempt and whether or not it should be subject to tuition fees.