As we reach the end of June, we have a few updates to share in relation to End-Point Assessment.

  • New EPA Standard- Approved!
  • Team Leader/ Supervisor Updated Assessment Plan
  • Lockdown restrictions – onsite assessments and continued use of alternative assessments
  • Hair Professional Standard update
  • Children Young People and Families Manager Standard

New EPA Standard- Approved!

We are delighted to confirm that we have last week received ESFA confirmation of our Approval status to deliver End-Point Assessment for the following five standards;

  • Level 2 Early Years Practitioner
  • Level 2 Healthcare Cleaning Operative
  • Level 3 Advanced & Creative Hair Professional
  • Level 4 Lead Practitioner in Adult Care
  • Level 5 Leader in Adult Care

Please visit our website for more information, including our fees, for these standards. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you wish to discuss these standards in more detail.

Team Leader/ Supervisor Updated Assessment Plan

As you may be aware, we have had the privilege over the last several months to be part of a small working group tasked with revising the assessment plan for this Level 3 standard. The collective work has paid off and towards the end of last week the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education published the updated Assessment Plan.

Development is underway to update support and Mock assessment materials and we aim to have these available by W/C 3rd August 2020.

Question– Which assessment plan will my Apprentice be assessed against?

Answer– Our intention is to transition to the new plan in a timely fashion whilst ensuring Training Providers and Apprentices who have prepared for the existing assessment plan are supported.

From 15th August 2020, the Verve EPA system will support two concurrent standards, reflecting each assessment plan version:

  • Team Leader / Supervisor (Legacy)
  • Team Leader / Supervisor (New)

From this date, Apprentices will be assessed against the above, associated standard to which they are registered, as submitted for gateway.

All Apprentices currently registered with us will be registered against the Legacy assessment plan.

All Apprentices registered against the (Legacy) version may be associated with the (New) Standard and Assessment Plan using the change of circumstance and start new programme feature. More information and a tutorial will be made available to explain how to complete this process.

The (Legacy) Standard and Assessment Plan will remain available until January 31st 2021, after which all registrations will be automatically updated to the (New) version and gateway submissions for the (Legacy) version will be rejected, other than exceptional circumstances.

Question– Will this change in plan alter the fee TQUK charges for this standard?

Answer– No. The funding band allocation remains the same and upon review of the new assessment plan we feel comfortable that we do not need to alter our EPA fee. Please visit our website for a full breakdown of costs for this standard

Lockdown restrictions – onsite assessments and continued use of alternative assessments

I am sure you have all been following the news and updates from the government in relation to the ease of lockdown restrictions. Whilst this does in the main create greater opportunities for onsite assessments including observations to potentially take place, we would like to confirm that our primary method of assessment remains as remote.

Where this is not possible or you feel onsite assessments would be a better option for your Apprentice, please discuss directly with us. We will in all cases review the individual request and support where we can.

In order to enable us to do so, we will be asking Training Providers to complete a Centre Declaration. This form will be available on VERVE EPA later this week under General Support Materials. The declaration will ask Training Providers to confirm that the assessment location being requested to host the onsite assessment is safe and that all necessary health and safety checks and precautions have been made.

Equally, we will be requiring our End-Point Assessors that are willing to conduct onsite assessments at this time to complete a health declaration, ahead of each caseload allocation.

As per our previous communication, The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education continues to confirm that they currently have no plans to revert back to the sole use of the current published assessment plans and continue to promote the use of remote assessment practice, where possible, and the continuation of the alternative assessment methods. As such, we too continue to offer these alternative assessment methods to be used wherever this is feasible and the best fit for your Apprentices.

Hair Professional Standard update

As per the above, the government have confirmed that Salons can start to reopen their doors from 4th July 2020. This is great news and we look forward to commencing End-Point Assessments for this sector once more shortly.

We continue to work with the other registered End-Point Assessment Organisations and the Employer Group to ensure that we have collectively understood and embedded the safe working practices outlined within the “Closer Contact Services” government guidance, and continue to engage with wider sectors bodies who may provide further enhancement to this guidance.

It is at this stage that we will provide more detailed guidance as to our plans to seek to resume  End-Point Assessment for this Standard and if there are any changes to our pre-COVID practice.

In the meantime, please do continue to progress your Apprentices through Gateway to enable us to conduct all Gateway checks and prepare to schedule assessments as soon as we are able to.

Children Young People and Families Manager Standard 

Last week we published a joint statement with the NCFE EPA Plus in regards to this standard. Please read this statement in full here. We very much appreciate the frustrations felt by Training Providers, Employer and Apprentices at this time and wish to reassure all that we are working hard alongside NCFE EPA Plus, Ofqual and the Employer Group to seek a speedy resolution to enable Apprentices to be able to advance and undertake their final End-Point Assessment. We will keep all registered centres updated on our progress!

We here at Training Qualifications UK are always delighted to hear from training providers about the successes of their Apprentices. 

This is even more significant during this challenging time, during which Apprentices have had to adapt to new ways of working due to the current COVID-19 situation. 

One such Apprentice is Adam. He has undertaken the Business Admin Standard with Springboard, works at Great Annual Savings, and has recently become one of their first Apprentices to complete their End-Point Assessment remotely using video conferencing software. 

Springboard’s on-programme assessor was Jasmin Richardson and the company’s Apprenticeship Lead, Andrea Whincop, explained that helping Adam feel at ease was a key priority: “This was a new experience for all involved therefore it was more important than ever that Jasmin was able to support Adam with regular telephone contact to prepare him for this final stage of his apprenticeship.

“Adam has been a dedicated, hard working Apprentice throughout his programme and with Jasmin’s support and the advances TQUK have made with their technology and processes he has been able to achieve his Apprenticeship without any delays.”

Kayleigh Robinson was assigned as Adam’s End-Point Assessor by TQUK, and he found her support invaluable. “My End-Point Assessor was great, from the moment I first spoke to her a few weeks before my EPA, right until the end of the assessment,” he said. 

“She offered her help and guidance leading up to my EPA and stressed that I should contact her if I was stuck with anything or needed any clarity on what was going to happen. Before my EPA started, she went through various situations which could potentially happen and what would happen in the event of one of these. I was made to feel at ease throughout my EPA and this made me feel more confident when on the video call.”  

On completing his End-Point Assessment, Adam added: “Completing my EPA in lockdown was fine, but was a little challenging as my preferred method was face to face and I had to complete it over video call. Other than a few external distractions, having to complete my EPA at home was okay and I was fully prepared thanks to the help of my assessor.”

TQUK’s End-Point Assessment Director Kelle McQuade was thrilled to hear of Adam’s success and the part the alterations have played in empowering him to complete his Apprenticeship. 

“Congratulations to Adam on passing his Apprenticeship,” Kelle said. “The positive words from his assessor Kayleigh really underline how well Adam performed during his assessment, and that’s doubly impressive at this difficult time.

“We’re delighted that the remote methodologies we’ve put in place during the COVID-19 situation have worked so well. Life is full of challenges at the moment, but everyone is bringing their very best and going above and beyond to ensure Apprentices can achieve the goals they’ve been working so hard towards.”

For more on Adam’s Apprenticeship success story, please visit the Springboard website.

We hope you are all having a positive start to the month!

A small few updates from us this week in relation to End-Point Assessment.

  • Alternative assessment methods – feedback and continued use.
  • Hair Professional – FAQ and status on delivering EPA.
  • Early Years Educator – Revised Assessment plan reminder and update on Mock MCQs.
  • ESFA / IfATE Updated Guidance.

Alternative Assessment methods – feedback and continued use

As we start to see some lockdown restrictions lifted, we have begun to receive an increased number of questions around the time period for when on-site observations will start to take place, as well as, planned end dates for current flexibilities and / or approved alternative assessment methods.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education continues to confirm that they currently have no plans to revert back to the sole use of the current published assessment plans and continue to promote the use of remote assessment practice, where possible, and the continuation of the alternative assessment methods.

Following suit, Training Qualifications UK will follow this practice and are at present opting to keep all approved alternative assessment methods and flexibilities live. As some sectors begin to reopen and some Apprentices prepare to return to work, we still heavily encourage remote assessment practice wherever this is possible, to help minimise risk. Where onsite assessments are essential, we will review these on an individual Apprentice basis to ensure that we feel confident that our internal risk assessment can be satisfied, and all parties can participate in the assessment safely.

Should you need to discuss onsite assessment with us, please contact us directly at epa@tquk.og

Whilst we have always offered and championed remote assessment practice, the current situation has seen a rise in its update, further enhanced by the alternative assessment practice currently in operation. Feedback from Apprentices and Training Providers has been overwhelmingly positive and we want to thank you for your feedback. We continue to review and monitor this practice to identify how we can further improve to ensure we are offering the best possible assessment experience, for all Apprentices. Please do continue to share your feedback with us – it really is valued!

Hair Professional- FAQ and status on delivering EPA

End-Point Assessment

As you may be aware, there was an IfATE chaired Special Task Force meeting that took place earlier this week to discuss the Hair Professional Standard, at which we were in attendance. At the moment, as we await further government guidance, there was a collective agreement that no alterations to the assessment could be made during this time. Therefore, until salons start to reopen and we have a better understanding of the safe working practices and government guidelines, the End-Point Assessment for the Hair Professional Standard is still not able to take place.

Once such guidelines are published, we will continue to work with the other End-Point Assessment Organisations, Ofqual, IfATE and the Employer Group to agree a sensible and safe approach to resuming assessments, and at this stage we will be ensuring all Training Providers are contacted immediately. We understand that this is a difficult time for Training Providers and Apprentices. However, we want to ensure everyone that we are taking all possible steps to ensure that a comparable assessment opportunity is made available to Apprentices, as soon as it is safe and practicable to do so.

We would encourage Training Providers to continue to progress Apprentices through Gateway, so that we can undertake all required Gateway checks and commence with “pencil” EPA Assessor allocations, to ensure we can allocate Assessors quickly, once we are able to deliver the End-Point Assessment safely.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to contact us.

FAQ Document

We would also like to confirm that we have published an updated FAQ document on VERVE EPA, linked to the End-Point Assessment for this Standard. This has been created in joint consultation with the other approved End-Point Assessment Organisations, NBHF and the Employer Group.

This document is not specific to COVID-19.

Early Years Educator- Revised Assessment plan reminder and update on Mock MCQs

A reminder that the IfATE have recently published an updated Assessment Plan, for the Early Years Educator Standard. The newly updated plan can be found here: Assessment Plan

For ease we have summarised the updates:

  • First Aid Qualification
  • Criteria K14 how to respond to accidents, injuries and emergency situations.

First Aid Qualification

Plan wording has been updated, associated with the Gateway requirement for a paediatric First Aid Qualification.

The plan now reads;

“Level 3 Award in Paediatric First Aid. (RQF) or Level 3 Award in Emergency Paediatric First Aid (RQF) or complete a first aid course delivered by one of the following types of organisations, as per the EYFS requirements. Voluntary aid society, member of trade body with an approval monitoring system, or acknowledged by the Health and Safety Executive.”

This change, whilst minor in wording, means that unregulated courses (without RQF in the title) can now be used as the evidence source for this requirement, bringing it in line with the workplace requirements of the HSE.

This does not impact Gateway requirements as such, as evidence of completion via a certification or results slip is still required. However, it is hoped that this may create great flexibility in relation to acceptance of courses Apprentices may have completed.

Criteria K14 how to respond to accidents, injuries and emergency situations.

There was a discrepancy in the original Assessment Plan in relation to this criteria and in part of the plan it was aligned to the Professional Discussion, not the Knowledge Test. The revised plan confirms this criteria should be assessed by the Knowledge Test.

We have now fully updated our question bank and test paper structure and have updated three Mock Test papers, which are now LIVE on VERVE EPA. The number of questions overall within this assessment has not changed, however, the structure of the assessment has been updated to include questions against K14.

ESFA updates its guidance – updated 2nd June

The ESFA have further updated their published guidance – dated 2nd June 2020.

The update summary includes:

“Updated with information on which Apprentices should be prioritised in the offer of face-to-face training from 15 June, and details of the flexibility that enables Apprentices to take End-Point Assessment ahead of receiving their calculated Functional Skills qualification results.”

Read guidance here

IfATE Updated Guidance – updated 4th June

Keep up to date with all End-Point Assessment flexibilities, with an updated list on the IfATE’s website here

In addition to this, wider updates can be found here here

How TQUK Can Help You

The new apprenticeship standards are designed to improve upon what’s gone before and help with the apprentice’s initial journey into their chosen career, before you know it, they’ll be on the road to success.

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