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Counselling – Level 4, 5 and 6 (Summer 2021 Assessments)

Updated 08 April 2021

Our main VCRF information page explains the new regulatory framework and how our qualifications are grouped into the relevant categories. 

Qualification Guidance Document

The centre guidance document for the explains how these qualifications will be assessed and awarded for the 20-21 academic year.

VCRF Category A Adaptation Proforma Level 4 5 6 Counselling

Guidance on practice hours

The log of counselling practice form has been updated and is available for you to download from the Portal. This form is to record the required 100 hours supervised practice within the Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Practice and Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling qualifications.

What's changed

Due to Covid, most learners are unable to get the 100 required hours through in-the-room practice (1), with some having to use other methods, for example video or telephone. 
We've been working with other Awarding Organisations, BACP and NCS looking at additional ways of assessing that these learners are capable of in the room practice. 
The ‘log of counselling practice’ form has been updated to include an additional section for recording the arrangements that have been made and completed to ensure learners are competent to work 'in-the-room'. This section must be completed for any learners where the opportunity to evidence in-the-room competence has been limited. 
Examples of our expectations can be found in the provider meeting slides below. Your interim EV visits are opportunities to present any partially completed logs for review by EV so that they can be recorded and any gaps can be identified.

Submission deadline dates introduced

We have introduced submission deadlines for completed forms to be sent to enquiries@aim-group.org.uk for external verification. This is to ensure our approach is standardised across centres, and to also be able to provide feedback around our expectations. Therefore, centres can no longer claim for the logs on the eRAC. 
The submission dates can be found on External Assessment Schedule page. We will be adding dates for later in the year once we have received further guidance from the professional bodies. 
We also ask that you transfer all partially completed logs onto the new forms and submit these to enquiries@aim-group.org.uk
Centres should also refer to guidance offered by professional bodies (i.e. BACP and NCS) regarding remote practice hours. 
(1) in-the-room: Where the client and the learner are both physically in the room together. Not face to face on video call.

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
11 February 2021: Planning for summer 2021 in anticipation of regulatory guidance
9 March 2021: Assessing controlled tasks and preparing for your interim EV + VCRF
20 April 2021: Summer 2021 Adaptations and Teacher Assessed Grades
26 May 2021: AIM Portal/Erac support and preparing for your final EV
5 July 2021: Recapping 2020 - 2021


You can find a range of frequently asked questions 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 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 into 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.

Instructions for accessing and delivering AIM counselling L4 controlled task (June 2021 series)

Accessing the controlled tasks

Your scheduled controlled tasks will be available to download from Portal at least 3 working days before your scheduled assessment date.

To access the documents:

  1. Log into Quartz Portal
  2. Select 'Resources'
  3. Select 'Documents'

The tasks are in PDF format and will have your learner's names printed on the front page.

Learners are permitted to complete the tasks either handwritten or typed. If learners are completing their assessment by hand, centres should print the assessment tasks prior to the assessment date, single sided (black and white, or colour). 

It is very important that you store any tasks in accordance with the 'Conditions for storing confidential materials' in the AIM Invigilation Guidance for External Assessments document (page 18). 

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 and time you have given to us in the conditions described in the invigilation guidance. Please note the controlled tasks have been allocated a letter (eg 'A'); this can be ignored by your learners.

The special considerations policy will apply for any events that occur outside of your control.

Completing the controlled tasks (typed) 

Learners should type their responses to the assessment questions on a Word document. The Word document must include:

  • Learner’s name
  • Leaner’s date of birth
  • Centre name
  • Date and time of assessment
  • Assessment title (taken from the front page of the controlled task)

The learner’s document must clearly identify which question number each response/answer is for.

At the end of the assessment (typed)

The learner must save and email the Word document back to the Invigilator as soon as they have completed the assessment or at the end of the allowed time, whichever is first. The Invigilator must not end the session until they have received the task via email and has been able to open the completed task.

The learner’s Word document must be emailed into enquiries@aim-group.org.uk immediately after the task has been completed. The email subject must be in the following format: ‘[Centre name] [Assessment title] COMPLETED CONTROLLED TASKS'.

At the end of the assessment (handwritten) 

The assessments can be electronically scanned or posted into AIM. 

Electronically scanned: the learner’s documents must be emailed into enquiries@aim-group.org.uk immediately after the task has been completed. The email subject must be in the following format: ‘[Centre name] [Assessment title] COMPLETED CONTROLLED TASKS'. 

It is advised to note how many attachments there should be in the email content. It is the centre's responsibility that the scanned documents are readable (and no pages/content is missing) and it can be accessed by the examiners. We also advise to securely store the paper assessments until after learner's have received their certificates. 

Posted: the assessments must be posted back to the AIM office, Derby – tracked (recorded or special delivery) within 24 hours of assessment date. 

AIM address:
AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group 
3 Pride Point Drive, Pride Park 
DE24 8BX

At the end of the assessment (handwritten)

The assessments will be marked by AIM examiners, and results will be released in accordance with the dates on our website (12 August 2021).

Assessments for use in 2021/2022

The counselling assessments for use in the 2021/2022 academic year will be available shortly, and centres will be emailed with this information.