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COVID-19 FAQs

Colleagues at AIM are working closely with our regulators. We realise that these are uncertain times and that many of you have conflicting priorities as you continue to balance work with home life but please be assured that we are working hard to provide the assurances you need and that students will not be adversely affected by COVID-19 in relation to their learning and examinations.

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 so please review this page on a regular basis.

On-line Clinics

Latest Update 15 May 2020

We have introduced online clinics for all providers. These are to give updates from our meetings with regulators and provide centres with the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. If there is a clinic or additional support you feel would be helpful and it is not listed below, please contact the team by email:  enquiries@aim-group.org.uk

AHE clinics are paused whilst centres collate their grades and evidence, these will resume to support submission as and when there is demand. Please contact the team by email accesstohe@aim-group.org.uk for any support or guidance.


Vocational Technical Qualifications

Latest Update 22 May 2020

In our last update on (4 May 2020), we told you about the different mitigation options that may be applied to the VTQ qualifications.

These are:

  1. Calculated Grade
  2. Adapted Assessment
  3. Delayed Assessment
  4. No learners expected to be certificated
  5. No changes needed

Today, 22 May 2020 at 14:00, Ofqual released a tool which allows you to identify your qualification and the agreed mitigation and confirmed the outcomes of the consultation. This allows us to move forward in arranging certification of your learners. 

This update and the tool can be found here

When searching for your qualifications, please ensure that you have the correct qualification number (QAN) as there are some qualifications with the same name.

Ofqual has determined that some qualifications are not in scope for the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF), these are mostly qualifications which are not eligible public funding. Where your qualification is out of scope, the mitigations are not governed by the ERF but the usual General Conditions of Recognition and we may need to apply these differently. These qualifications may not appear on the Ofqual tool, please do not be alarmed if you cannot see them. 

If you believe the mitigation announced on the tool is incorrect, please contact AIM via the enquiries@aim-group.org.uk (If you are a learner, you should inform your centre who will inform AIM). The tool is a dynamic and live tool therefore where changes can and may be made to the outcomes on there, but only if we are informed of any errors noticed.

Updates from Ofqual – implementing the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF)

Ofqual have provided the following documents which you should ensure you and your teams are familiar with.

These can all be found here:

Ofqual documentation on awarding qualifications Summer 2020

These documents provide:

  • updated information for heads of centres
  • updated information for teachers, students, parents and carers
  • guidance on Objectivity in grading and ranking 
  • guidance for centres: the awarding of vocational and technical qualifications and other general qualifications in summer 2020
  • summer 2020 results for vocational, technical and other qualifications

What centres need to do

Between now and 1 June, we will be emailing the quality contact in our centres and including a spreadsheet detailing all of the eRAC registration documents which have learners who we believe will have been impacted by the closures and identifying the mitigation for each eRAC. The centre teams must review this and check that all impacted learners/programmes are included. We have looked at learners who were registered on programmes with end dates of 20 March 2020 onwards as those who would be impacted. 

For the first three weeks of June, we will allow you time to establish whether you need to apply the mitigation to your cohorts and if so, identify the evidence you have available to support your assessment judgements. If you are able to access the learner’s evidence to support this, that is great but we will not be mandating that you must access your centres to retrieve this unless government guidelines on movement and restrictions allow for freer movement of individuals. 

During these three weeks, you will be asked to regenerate your eRACs and then upload these to the portal with an accompanying evidence checklist to identify the evidence available. This checklist will be sent out with your spreadsheet over the next week.

We will be asking you to upload the checklist with your eRAC regardless of whether you are claiming the mitigation. This is to ensure that we have a confirmed record of agreed mitigation for every cohort. Where you do not yet have the achievements completed, you can upload a blank copy of the eRAC with your checklist have the plan for your learners approved.

Once you have uploaded your eRAC, the evidence checklist will be reviewed by the special considerations panel at AIM and a decision made as to whether the level of evidence on offer is likely to be sufficient to generate a robust assessment decision and allow certification. 

  • If this decision is that there is sufficient evidence, you will be sent further details on how to arrange your moderation of this evidence
    • Arrange for the sample of evidence to be requested for EV to review
    • Direct the claim to their usual EV process
  • If this decision is that we are concerned that there will not be sufficient evidence, you will be contacted directly to discuss this further and agree on the next steps

Once we are satisfied that is appropriate to issue a result, we will process the eRAC and learner certificates will be generated. We anticipate this to be happening throughout June and July. Claims will be progressed through the processes in the order that they arrive into the system, you can submit them at any time during the first three weeks of June.

How we will support you 

  • We will provide regular updates on the AIM website
  • We will continue to provide clinics to support key staff on programmes. These will be advertised on the AIM website with the FAQs section and where applicable will be emailed to key contacts at centres.
  • Short video demonstrations on how to complete the eRACs
  • One point of contact – please email enquiries@aim-group.org.uk for all queries and this will be directed to the most appropriate person to respond

Q&As

Q: What if my learners have full evidence and don’t need any mitigation?

A: This is great news. We will still ask you to complete the evidence form and upload it to the portal with your erac claim, following this you will then be directed to an allocated External Verifier to arrange moderation/verification of your learner evidence. This will apply to direct claims also.

Q: What if I have direct claims status?

A: You will still be required to upload the evidence form and have this agreed. We expect your AIV/DCVs to be involved in the decision-making process of agreeing on the mitigations and would have completed a QA5 as part of this. Based on the outcome of special consideration panel you will either be able to continue to undertake the DCV role for the cohorts or it will be requested for moderation.

Q: I disagree with the applied mitigation, what should I do?

A: Please contact us via the enquiries@aim-group.org.uk email address and identify the qualification title and number and explain why you think the mitigation should be different. We will review this.

Q: My learners are not registered…

A: Please register your learners as soon as possible to ensure they are able to have the mitigations applied.

Q: My learners were on programme outside of the agreed dates but due to the closures we haven’t been able to arrange any EV activity…

A: Please contact us via the enquiries@aim-group.org.uk email address, identify the eRAC number and also confirm what evidence you do have access to currently and we will guide you through your next steps.

Q: My learners were on programme outside of the agreed dates but our completion was impacted (eg my learners ran over on their scheduled completion dates)

A: Please contact us via the enquiries@aim-group.org.uk email address, identify the eRAC number and also confirm what evidence you do have access to currently and we will guide you through your next steps.

Q: When will we find out about the new exam dates for delayed assessment or resits for calculated assessments?

A: We are in touch with the centres we believe to be impacted by this to identify the best time to undertake these assessments. Please ensure you have responded to the questionnaires.

Q: My IV has been furloughed so the eRAC is stuck in the system…

A: Please contact us via the enquiries@aim-group.org.uk email address and identify the eRAC number and also confirm that the IV has been completed. 

Q: I can’t get to the learner’s evidence as it is in the school building and we aren’t allowed in…

A: Please complete your evidence checklist to highlight this, consider the evidence you do have access to and we will review the list and see if there is sufficient evidence to make a judgement.

Q: We would like to appeal the decision made.

A: Please follow the usual AIM appeals process.

Q: How do I fill in the eRAC?

A: The eRACs will need to be regenerated, this will allow for an update to be applied to it. We are anticipating this be available from 1 June. We will be providing guidance on the website to support with this as you will be inputting your achievement slightly differently to usual.

Q: How much evidence do I need for a calculated grade?

A: You should be anticipating at least 50% of the learners’ evidence being complete, from there you will be able to apply holistic assessment to further aspects of the achievement. You may have complete units/components and incomplete components, or you may have all components as partially completed.

Every centre approaches their programme differently, therefore we have chosen to not have a one size fits all approach and this is where the evidence checklist will allow you to build a case of evidence to support your calculated achievement/grade.

Q: I am just going to claim for my learners completed components and not the incomplete ones!

A: If your learners are eligible for a calculated grade, please do not disadvantage them by doing this. If a learner would normally have completed further components during the time when closures applied, then you should be applying for the mitigation. 

Q: My learners are mid-way through the programme so I don’t have 50% evidence and/or I don’t know what their predicted grade would be yet…

A: Where learners are mid-flight and there is not sufficient evidence to make decisions on, we would suggest that the calculated claim is delayed until there is sufficient evidence. However, we need to record that the claim will be eligible now so we will request that you still identify the evidence available and which units are/learning outcomes within a unit are impacted and submit the eRAC and evidence checklist to apply for the mitigation. We can then approve it in principle until there is sufficient evidence available to complete the moderation process and the claim.

Registrations 

If your learners are on programme currently and are impacted by closures, you must ensure that they are registered on the programme they would have been expected to undertake during the COVID-19 centre closures. If learners are not registered, we will not be able to communicate to you the mitigations we plan to apply to the programmes nor actually apply them if the learners are not registered on the correct programme. The easiest way for you to check this is via the AIM portal. 

It is vitally important that learners are not disadvantaged, therefore if a learner would have normally completed additional units and achieved the full qualification during these months of closure then mitigations will be in place to ensure completion is able to take place. Where it is a calculated grade, any incomplete units would be able to be applied for based on the evidence/achievement of the ones already calculated. Centres should not be reducing the qualifications down to smaller sizes (ie Diploma to Certificate) to just cover what was already completed as this would not be fair on learners who would have achieved normally. You also need to be sure that any rules of combination are still being met, the rules of combination are firm so to switch to a smaller or bigger qualification would mean these need to be checked by yourselves.

This will apply to all learners on programme and therefore will also apply for Y10s going into Y11 and Y12’s going into Y13. The units they would have completed in Y10 during closure will be eligible for mitigations, with Y11 units being completed as normal (with Y10 early units completed being used as evidence to support Y11 unit completion as normal). 

Certification Plans

Please see below an update on AIM’s approach to certificating learners on VTQ’s and identifying useful evidence which will support assessment decisions for calculated grades.