Fitness to Teach Assessment
It is a statutory requirement under The Education Act (2002) for the health of all applicants to teaching courses to be assessed by training providers. The standards used to assess against are specified in The Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2003 The Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2003 and the current Initial teacher training (ITT): criteria and supporting advice.
The aim of the Fitness to Teach 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 also a duty on the University of Reading to ensure that health and safety or child protection requirements do not unlawfully discriminate against a disabled student (Equality Act 2010). People with disabilities or chronic illnesses may have the capacity to train to teach, just as those without disabilities or medical conditions may be unsuitable to train to teach.
Information from your health assessment can also help the university make well-informed decisions about any reasonable adjustments that may be necessary to help you to train to teach and to ensure that all agreed adjustments and support are in place at the beginning of your programme and for your placements.
Who will carry out my fitness to teach assessment?
- Fitness to Teach checks are the responsibility of the University for all undergraduate and postgraduate early years, primary and secondary teacher trainees (including trainees recruited by our Lead Partner Schools). Cordell Health Ltd undertakes the screening process for physical and mental fitness to teach on behalf of the university.
- The cost of this screening is £35.00.
How do I apply for my fitness to teach assessment?
Please note that Fitness to Teach assessments must not be carried out more than 6 months before the course start date. If it is longer than 6 months until the start date of your course when you receive your offer, we will send you further instructions in March.
- After you have accepted your offer we will send you instructions and a link for making the payment of £35.00 for your health assessment.
- On receipt of your payment, we will pass your contact details (email, contact address and telephone number) to Cordell Health who will send you an email with a link and personal log-in details to their secure online system. We advise you to add @cordellhealth.co.uk as a safe sender to ensure you receive the email.
- Please use the link to access the online health questionnaire and complete the questionnaire as soon as possible. You will be asked to provide details of your past medical history and current medical details. Please complete the questionnaire as fully and accurately as possible.
How is my fitness to teach assessed?
- Members of the Cordell Health team will assess the information you have provided in your questionnaire and they may need to contact you to arrange a follow-up telephone call. You may also be invited to attend an in person assessment with a Specialist Occupational Health practitioner but this will only be necessary in a small number of cases.
- The result of your check will be a classification of ‘Fit’, ‘Fit with conditions’ or ‘Not Fit’.
- You will not be able to fully enrol for your training unless we have confirmation of the outcome of your fitness to teach assessment. Please ensure you respond to any emails or requests for information from Cordell Health as quickly as possible after you receive them.
Who will have access to my questionnaire and medical information?
- The university will not have access to the medical information you provide as part of the questionnaire.
- Admissions staff will track the progress of your check (by securely accessing the Cordell Health system) and will only have sight of the result of your check (Fit, Fit with Conditions or Not Fit).
- If the outcome is ‘Fit with Conditions’, Cordell Health will ask for your permission to securely share details of your condition to crucial staff at the university such as your Programme Tutor, the University Disability Advice Service and Placement Services.
- For full details of how the University handles your personal data, including data sharing and your rights under data protection legislation, please see our privacy notice.
- Cordell Health will also give you further information on how they store and process your data as part of the assessment process.
What happens when my assessment is complete?
Once your health check is complete, we will contact you to advise you of the outcome. You will be placed in one of three categories:
- Fit to teach: those who are in good health and free from any condition which might be likely to interfere with efficiency in teaching.
- Fit to teach with conditions: those who are generally in good health but who have conditions which are likely to interfere to some extent with their efficiency in teaching. The conditions are not serious enough to make the applicant totally unfit and this category includes those whose disability could require teacher training providers to make reasonable adjustments to enable them to provide effective and efficient teaching.
- Not fit to teach: those whose condition is such as to make them unfit for the teaching profession. Applicants will not normally be included in this category unless they have a psychiatric or physical disorder likely to interfere seriously with regular and efficient teaching or if they have a condition that may carry a risk to the safety or welfare of the pupils.
If you are assessed as ‘fit to teach with conditions’, Cordell will ask your permission to reveal your condition to crucial staff in the University. These staff will be there to discuss any necessary adjustments and to offer you support and help in successfully completing your training.
In the event that you are assessed as ‘not fit to teach’, we will not be able to confirm your teacher training place. The University has responsibility for ensuring that only trainees who are fit to teach remain on a programme, to ensure the health and safety of pupils.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your Fitness to Teach assessment you should, in the first instance, direct your concerns to Cordell Health as they will hold the medical information that informed the decision.
Failure to disclose information
Please be aware that failure to disclose a condition which affects the ‘fitness to teach’ assessment or giving false information, including appropriate information about medical problems which arise during training, may lead to a trainee being required to leave the course.
Once enrolled for your training, it is your responsibility to inform your programme or personal tutor immediately of any change to your health which is likely to impact upon your Fitness to Teach status. You should contact your Personal Tutor/Programme Leader and a new medical assessment may be required.