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Placement - CS032404

A teaching student’s placement school raised concerns about their professional suitability and the student was immediately withdrawn from the placement. The provider then began Fitness to Practise (FtP) proceedings against the student and their studies were terminated the following term.

The student complained to the provider, and then to us, that the provider hadn’t been clear about their student status during the FtP proceedings and that this ambiguity had impacted their funding and fee liability. The student also complained about the way the provider had handled aspects of the FtP case.

The student had stopped attending and engaging with the academic components of their programme during the FtP process because they understood that they had been temporarily withdrawn from their studies, pending the FtP outcome. The student’s bursary payments had been suspended following the termination of their placement and this, together with some unclear wording in the provider’s bursary agreement, had reinforced their understanding that they’d been temporarily withdrawn. However, it was only the student’s attempt at the placement that had been deferred and the student was still expected to attend and participate in the academic components of their programme while the FtP process was ongoing.

We partly upheld the student’s complaint (we decided it was Partly Justified). We decided it was reasonable for the provider not to uphold the student’s complaint about the way it dealt with their FtP case. But we upheld the student’s complaint about the clarity of their student status during the proceedings. We recommended that the provider offer to refund the student’s tuition fees for the term in question and pay them £500 for distress and inconvenience. We also recommended that the provider implement training and guidance on the correct use of terminology to describe a student’s status, and that it should review the wording of the bursary agreement for clarity.