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Counselling

Updated 5 January 2021

*NEW* Counselling Examinations

The latest guidance from the Department for Education is that all examinations, including controlled assessments for vocational qualifications will go ahead as planned in January.  
 
Further information can be found in the FAQs section on our website
 
All centres will receive further communication from us.
 

Provider meetings

Regular counselling provider meetings are being held to help keep centres up to date and create a community of best practice. Future events, and details on how to book your place, can be found on our events page.

Slides from recent meetings can be found below:

15 October 2020: Planned adaptions for the 2021 counselling exam series and FAQs
14 December 2020: Support with delivering controlled tasks
 January 2021: to come

FAQs from these meetings can be found here

Internally marked counselling assessments

There have been no EERF adaptations to these assessments.

The counselling assessments for use in the 2020/2021 academic year are now available to download from the portal. These documents must be used in the assessment of the following counselling qualifications:

  • AIM Qualifications Level 2 Award in Introduction to Counselling Skills 603/3984/6
  • AIM Qualifications Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills 603/3985/8
  • AIM Qualifications Level 3 Certificate in Counselling 603/3986/X
  • AIM Qualifications Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Practice 603/3987/1
  • AIM Qualifications Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling 603/3988/3
  • AIM Qualifications Level 6 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling (Informed by Research) 603/3989/5

Please note that due to the additional pressures that the current situation has put on centres, we are permitting centres to use the 19/20 assignment briefs for the following year.

There have been no major changes to the assignment briefs from the previous year, with the exception of new Level 4 case studies in the scenario analysis.

Where specified on the brief, these may be contextualised by the centre, for example, centres may choose to incorporate industry set scenarios. Centres must take a best practice approach (where appropriate) to the assessment, such that learners are assessed in a real or realistic working environment. We have also provided mark sheets and grading criteria for each assessment.

The assignment briefs and mark sheets are available to download from your portal account. Once signed in to your portal account, please select ‘Resources’ and then ‘Documents’. The assessment materials will then be listed to download as required.

You are responsible for ensuring that the latest version is being used. If we update any of the documents, we will notify the counselling contacts we have on our system for your centre. If you have a member of staff who should be listed as a counselling contact (you can have more than one), please let us know and we will update our system and give them access to the assessment materials.

If you have any comments or queries regarding any of the assessments we have provided, please let us know and we can pass the information back to the relevant team and examiners.

Externally marked assessments/examinations (EERF)

This section details information for the following assessments in 20/21:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills written examination (expiring qualification)
  • Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Theory written examination (expiring qualification)
  • Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Practice written examination (expiring qualification)
  • Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling written examination (expiring qualification)
  • Level 2 Introduction to Counselling Theory written examination
  • Level 3 Counselling Theory written examination
  • Level 4 Counselling Theory A Chosen Approach written examination

Further information on how these assessments have been adapted in response to the EERF can be found on the FAQs page. All written examinations for 20/21 have been replaced by controlled tasks.

Externally marked assessment dates

The next available assessment dates for the externally marked assessments will be in January 2021. This will incorporate the delayed assessments and any resit opportunity for those with calculated grades from the summer 2020 exam season.

As of 18 December 2020, following the recent government announcement regarding the return of students in January, the advice is that FE students who are preparing for exams, as well as vulnerable learners and children of critical workers, should all attend campus in person as planned. Ministers also confirmed that vocational exams scheduled for the week of 4 January 2021 shall go ahead as planned. Face-to-face education will begin for all learners starting on 11 January. Full guidance for the FE sector can be read here.

In light of this information, counselling assessments will go ahead as planned. Full details of assessment dates and deadlines can be found on our External Assessment Schedule page.

Level 2 and Level 3 internally marked controlled tasks

All scheduled Level 2 and Level 3 controlled tasks will be available to centres to download from the Quartz portal from Monday 4th January 2021, but please be aware that the AIM office is closed until Tuesday 5 January.

Accessing controlled tasks

  1. Log in to Quartz Portal 
  2. Select 'Resources' 
  3. Select 'Documents'
  4. Download the controlled tasks, associated mark scheme and mark sheets

Documents are in PDF format.

Please print the documents for learners to complete. Each scheduled learner will have an individualised task, with their name printed onto the front sheet.

Tasks and mark schemes must be stored in accordance with the 'Conditions for storing confidential materials' in the AIM Invigilation Guidance for External Assessments document (page 18).

Delivering the controlled tasks

In order to deliver controlled assessments, centres must read and follow the AIM Invigilation Guidance for External Assessments. Scheduled learners should sit the controlled task at the date, time and location that the centre has given to us. Please also note the controlled tasks have been allocated a letter (eg 'A'); this is for internal use only and can be ignored by both learners and centres.

The special considerations policy will apply for any events that occur outside of the centre's control.

Marking controlled tasks

Centres can download the associated mark scheme from the Quartz Portal (see instructions above), along with a mark sheet for them to record and provide feedback to their learners. The tasks must be marked by the Assessor and will be subject to internal verification. This is done in accordance with the mark schemes, and are graded (either Pass, Merit, Distinction for the new Level 3, or Pass/Fail for all others) using the grading criteria on the mark schemes. The tasks must then be presented to the centre's EV at external verification, along with their completed ERAC.

Releasing results to learners

Centres must not release the results of the tasks to their learners until they have been verified by the EV.

Level 4 and Level 5 externally marked controlled tasks

Delivering the controlled tasks

You must read and follow the AIM Invigilation Guidance for External Assessments. Your scheduled learners should sit the controlled task at the date, time and location you have given to us. Please also note the controlled tasks have been allocated a letter (eg 'A'); this is for internal use only and can be ignored by your learners/centre.

The special considerations policy will apply for any events that occur outside of the centre's control.

Marking the controlled tasks

The Level 4 and Level 5 controlled tasks must be posted back to the address on the assessment pack within 24 hours of the task being completed. These assessments will be marked by AIM examiners, and results will be released in accordance with the dates on our website.

Remote assessments

If you have informed us of any learners sitting the tasks remotely, you will receive further information from us. Please email enquiries@aim-group.org.uk if you have any queries.

Supervised practice hours – remote working

We understand many placement providers are unable to offer face-to-face (in-the-room) practice and some learners have been using online or phone sessions to count towards the 100 hours requirement.

For learners where the opportunity to evidence face to face competence has been limited, we have been working with professional bodies to look at ways to ensure these learners are competent with face-to-face practice.

Further information on how we will support centres with this will be released in early 2021. 

External coursework dates

This section details the information on the following assessments in 20/21:

  • Study of Supervised Practice
  • Research Proposal
  • Dissertation 

Centres must now schedule learners for these assessments. The full details of assessment dates and deadlines can be found on our External Assessment Schedule page.