22 May 2020
Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to support all our partners and your learners/apprentices in these difficult times. We are in frequent contact with our regulators and we are being as flexible as we can to keep things moving.
Here’s what you need to know:
New: DofE reveals provider criteria for accessing supplier relief 24 April 2020
FEWeek reveals how training providers must have a qualification achievement rate for 2018/19 of above 40% to be eligible for the Department for Education’s supplier relief support.
They must have also submitted their latest financial accounts to the Education and Skills Fundiing Agency “on time” and not been judged by Ofsted as making ‘insufficient progress’ as a result of a new provider monitoring visit.
And if a provider wants to receive the supplier relief but has already furloughed staff, they must unfurlough them to be eligible.
They have given providers just six days to submit their applications, with a closing date of 30 April.
Any non-levy apprenticeships funded through the government’s digital system are also barred from the support.
1. Access to HE
QAA have been working with Access Validating Agencies (AVAs) and course providers to ensure the principles being used for the assessment of calculated grades are fair and robust and have released the following guidance for tutors (pdf) and students (pdf).
QAA will continue to consult on a number of changes to regulations that allow this year's results to be delivered in the changed circumstances.
There are clear deadlines included within the guidance which are set by QAA with regards to the submission of the data and evidence required. If for any reason you are unable to gather any of the data needed, please contact us immediately and we can discuss this further.
Submission of calcuated grades
On the 16 April we sent a spreadsheet to all centres which should be used to submit calculated grades. This form needs to be completed and returned to accesstoHe@aim-group.org.uk by Friday 5 June at 12 noon. We will provide further guidance on how to complete this form at our Access to HE daily clinic
Our daily, Access to HE clinics have now ended. Thank you for the lovely feedback we've had. We've summarised some of the FAQs from these sessions for everone to see.
QAA are offering a series of webinars which will provide information on how to calculate grades. There's also an opportunity to question QAA officers in relation to this process.
Webinars will take place at 2pm on the following dates:
- 30 April 2020
- 1, 6, 7 and 8 May 2020
There's also a useful webinar aimed at students on the QAA webpage
Examinations scheduled for the next three months have been cancelled but we are in contact with all our all centres to discuss options.
Exams affected include:
- Games, Animation and VFX Skills
MCQ exams (eg Health and Safety)
Whilst many centres are able to use remote proctoring this isn’t always possible as for some there are additional requirements such as compulsory human interaction, which make remote moderation impossible. So for these we are unable to accept exam bookings as these cannot be spot checked.
Thank you for keeping us up to date with your plans. The more we know about your situation, the better we can plan. Please continue to inform us of:
- booked assessments, times and venues for suspension of booking
- continuation of assessments.
3. Games, Animation and VFX qualifications
Updated 11 May 2020
In our last update, we told you that we had informed Ofqual that we believed the Level 3 GAFVX qualifications should be in the category for progression to higher education and that we felt calculated grade was appropriate. We have since been advised by the regulators that Tech Levels have now been categorised into the Mixed-Use qualifications instead of the progression qualifications as initially understood. It is still anticipated that the outcome will be calculated grades. Further information can be found on our new Games, Animation and VFX page.
We have taken note of some of your most frequently asked questions and attempted to provide answers. Please note this information is subject change as information is released by the DfE and our regulators.
We have started holding drop-in clinics using GoToMeeting to keep you informed and allow you to get answers to your questions. More detail about these will follow. We held our first clinic on 4 May 2020 and plan to hold these on a weekly basis, please email email@example.com for information on the next planned clinic.
4. Counselling qualifications FAQs
Updated 14 May 2020
Our regulators have asked us to group all qualifications into three categories:
- Progression to HE/FE
- Licence to Practice/Competency based qualifications
We have told our regulators that we feel that our counselling qualifications fall into either categories two or three, mixed use or licence to practice/competency based.
For competency-based qualifications, assessments that have not yet been completed will either be adapted or delayed. As soon as we have confirmed details from our regulators, we will make direct contact with centres who have learners registered on these programmes and outline the adaptation or delay that needs to take place – this is decided by Ofqual and not individual centres. Delay to assessment may involve a rescheduled exam and/or the requirement for learners to complete the full programme and have their end date extended. This is the last resort and not an approach we would ideally be taking, but where a learner needs to evidence their competency, it would not be appropriate to apply a calculated grade.
Where a qualification is categorised as a mixed-use qualification, a calculated grade is more likely to be applied. In this case, centres will provide a predicted grade for each unit/assignment (including any exam) and will be expected to provide evidence to support their decision.
We are aware of the current uncertainty for learners and centres and the tight deadlines involved. We will be providing an update, including details of either delayed, adapted, or calculated grades, as soon as we receive confirmed details from the regulators to allow us to move forward. For more information, please read our counselling FAQs page here.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions with information relating to both internally marked assessments, and guidance on our externally marked assessments (examinations and coursework).
We will be starting to hold drop-in clinics using GoToMeeting to keep you informed and allow you to get answers to your questions. More detail about these will follow.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on the next planned clinic.
5. Counselling and youth work qualifications
Real work environment observations
There are some qualifications where observation of practice is a requirement, along with the completion of activities in a real work environment. This may not be possible for some learners now, or in the coming weeks.
To mitigate this, AIM is permitting the following adaptations to our usual assessment processes:
- We offer advice to all delivery centres about rescheduling their programmes so that any assessment that requires face to face practice be end-loaded, in the hope that there is freer access to working environments in the coming months.
- We encourage all delivery centres to adapt their resources to offer digitally where possible, using creative assessment tools to ensure that people are still able to complete their programmes of learning. For example, observations using video conferencing may be possible.
6. Statement from Ofqual
Updated 14 May 2020
- Vocational, technical and other qualifications.
- Advice for teachers, trainers and tutors; learners, parents and carers; employers and professional bodies on vocational and technical qualifications,
- General qualifications other than GCSEs, AS and A levels, Extended Project Qualifications and Advanced Extension Award in maths.
Download the PDF: (Ref: Ofqual/20/6607/2 PDF, 329KB, 15 pages)
Further guidance has been created in regards to VTQs and other general qualifications:
Download the PDF: (Ref: Ofqual/20/6617 PDF, 367KB, 13 pages)
We are continuing to work with the government and other key stakeholders (including other Awarding Organisations, Ofqual, UCAS) to make sure learners on our Technical Qualifications, who were due to take assessments this spring and summer, still achieve the qualifications they need in order to progress to the next stage of their education and careers.
7. External Verification of VTQs (including EV Roadshows)
Updated 22 May 2020
Ofqual released a tool which allows users to identify their qualification and the agreed mitigation and confirmed the outcomes of the consultation. This allows us to move forward in arranging certification of your learners.
When searching for your qualifications, please ensure that you have the correct qualification number (QAN) as there are some qualifications with the same name.
In light of recent updates from Ofqual, we have created a plan for implementing the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF). For more information on what centres and centre teams must to do between now and 1 June please read our most recent updates here
Ofqual has also updated and issued guidance for centres regarding the awarding of VTQ’s in summer 2020. Please check for regular updates below.
Further guidance has been issued to all centres on 5 May, and has been updated on 14 May and 22 May in line with updates from Ofqual. This can be found here
Unfortunately, all physical EV Roadshows have been cancelled due to the widespread closures and restrictions on movement.
Remote EV roadshows continue to be available however you must only book these if learners' completion was unaffected by centre closures and you are able to provide full evidence for your learners electronically.
If your learners are subject to a calculated assessment there will be a separate booking option emailed to you directly.
Samples for External Verification can no longer be submitted by post. All samples must be sent digitally by email. If this causes any problems, please let us know.
Our awarding processes will continue during this period, but all paper certification production has stopped. If you need formal proof of achievement for a learner, please email us at email@example.com and we can email confirmation to you.
You still have access to your learner’s achievement evidence in the form of electronic certification. All e-certificates can be downloaded via an administrators account on our quartz portal. E-certificates have a unique QR code that can be scanned and verified.
To download e-certificates:
- Click ‘Actions’, then ‘Your Runs’
- Find the relevant run and select the Run ID
- Select the relevant learners for e-certification in the learner registration menu, using the tick boxes to the left
- Expand the e-certificate menu
- Enter and make note of encryption password
- A 'zip' file will be created containing all the certificates you've requested (encrypted with the password you've chosen). Note: Your browser will prompt you to save the file.
- You can then print the certificate or send it electronically to the learner.
We will be keeping records of all awards which have been processed and resume certification production as soon as we are able.
9. AIM Assessment
We have implemented a number of changes to help employers and training providers minimise disruption to apprentices about to go through Gateway. We have adjusted our assessments so that these can now be undertaken remotely. This will come into immediate effect for the following standards:
- Junior Content Producer
- Public Relations and Communications Assistant
- Broadcast Production Assistant
Full details of the changes can be found on our webpage (EPA Remote Assessment)
Department for Education
The Department for Education have established a Coronavirus Helpline: 0800 046 8687
Adjustments to funding arrangements will be the subject of direction from the ESFA www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response Queries should be sent directly to the Institute: firstname.lastname@example.org To help them identify and prioritise your query please use the following title in the subject box: EPA_Covid 19 [your Organisation name]
The Institute for Apprenticeships
The Institute for Apprenticeships have updated their COVID-19 web page featuring guidance around apprenticeship assessment and external quality assurance, frequently asked questions and signposting to the right people to deal with enquiries.
10. Free eLearning courses for schools, colleges and training providers
We are aware that many education and training providers are supporting their learners with on-line lessons so we are offering all secondary schools, colleges and training providers free eLearning courses. See our webpage for details.
Please keep in touch
Following government advice, all AIM staff are now working remotely. We remain operational and will continue to support all our centres and partners.
To speak to a member of our helpdesk, please call one of our dedicated centre support team on one of the following numbers.
Lines are open: 9am – 5pm M-T and 4.30pm Fr
Or email email@example.com
Tayla Dagley: 07384 469898
Games, Animation and VFX Qualifications
Access to Higher Education
Shauna Lane: 07393 013230
Will Cummins: 07970 892430
Elearning and general qualifications queries
Selina Carreno: 07966 622750
General qualifications queries
Gabi Brown: 07572 664873
Mwaba Mushili: 07467 842404
Lucy Adams: 07944 590327