Suspending students should be directed to the following sources of support to plan for their return.
Discussion with academic tutor and preparation for any academic conditions for return
Tutors will be aware that students on suspension will need time to focus on their recovery. But it is important that an academic support plan is put in place for the returning student, whether undergraduate or graduate, so that they understand any conditions they need to meet on their return and can prepare for these. College (and in the case of gradates, the department in addition to the college) will wish to be assured that the student is ready to reintegrate into their course at an appropriate academic level, as well as being fit to return to study. Often there is an academic assessment prior to return, which might be invigilated collections, with a specified level of achievement expected, and/or essays may be set. This assessment is intended to be supportive, in that it is a way of identifying whether the student is ready to return. Preparation for any collections may also enable the student to build up to the level of full-time study which will be required when they are re-enrolled. These arrangements will vary according to the length of suspension, the college and the circumstances of each student.
Medical assessments on return
Returning students, who suspended on medical grounds, will also need to submit medical evidence, and/or have an assessment with their College doctor, to ensure they are medically fit to resume study. A college doctor’s assessment should take into account reports provided by other clinicians involved in the care of the student.
Discussion with the college welfare team/personal tutor/Counselling Service/Student Union’s Advisory Service
Discussion with college welfare team and possibly the University’s counselling service may help the student prepare for some of the challenges of their return – getting used to the pressures of full-time study – reintegrating into the social life of University – and considering the new ways of working that might have been agreed during the period of suspension.
Arranging for Reasonable Adjustments and dispensations whilst on suspension
It is important that during a period of suspension, a new assessment of the student’s need for reasonable adjustments is undertaken, so that action is taken to mitigate any problems experienced before suspension. Disability Coordinators within the college (in the case of undergraduates) or in the department (in the case of graduates), should notify the Disability Advisory Service of the need to review the Student Support Plan and also encourage the student to engage promptly with DAS as a priority. With the student’s engagement, Disability Advisers at DAS will help the student put in place a plan to reinstate by discussing their needs, reflecting on barriers to study prior to suspension, collecting the relevant medical evidence and recommending reasonable adjustments and the support required for their return. Returning students will need to re-apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), and 14 weeks should be allowed for this process. The Study Needs Assessment, required for DSA support, will also be useful in establishing whether there is additional support that may be helpful for the student (e.g. a study skills tutor funded by DSA).
For research students, it is important that a discussion is had with the supervisor to re-assess the dynamics of the supervisory relationship, and also working methods, to identify whether there are steps that can be taken to ensure that there is a successful return. This might include more frequent supervision meetings for a period of time, agreeing a different method for feedback, or a different way of setting objectives/project plans. There is more information about supporting disabled students studying for the DPhil on the Research Students page.