Details of remote invigilation by Training Qualifications UK for the Situational Extended Answer Test which forms a part of End-Point Assessment on the Children, Young People and Families Manager (CYPFM) standard
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We would like to communicate some recent updates published by The Institute for Apprentices and Technical Education (IfATE) pertaining to both the Level 3 and Level 5 Learning and Development Apprenticeship End-Point Assessment plans. Two of these are Covid flexibilities and so have been approved as an interim measure to support situations that may prevent some Apprentices from completing their EPA and achieving their Apprenticeship. Details of both can be found below.

The third update is more substantial and reflects a permanent change to the Level 3 Learning and Development Practitioner Standard only. Details of this change are outlined below. However, it is important to note that we are currently seeking further clarification around the detail of this update, and as a result are not implementing this change. As soon as we have more information to provide, we will cascade this to you all at our earliest opportunity.

COVID Flexibilities:

For the completion of the project, the following temporary COVID-19 dispensation has been agreed until further notice. As with all approved Covid flexibilities, this will remain in place until at least the end of August 2021, IfATE has made a commitment to providing at least 12 weeks- notice for any withdrawal of Covid related flexibilities.

Level 5 Learning and Development Consultant Business Partner:

For the completion of the project, the following temporary COVID-19 dispensation has been agreed:

  1. The work-based project in Learning and Development standards are pre-EPA and can be now used as part of the EPA

Level 3 Learning and Development Practitioner:

For the completion of the project, the following temporary COVID-19 dispensation has been agreed

  1. On-programme project can replace or supplement a post Gateway project where this has not been able to be completed.
  2. Where there is no recording or the recording has not been possible this can be replaced by a witness testimony from an appropriate member of staff from the employer.

The above COVID flexibilities are permitted to be used for any Apprentice who proceeds through Gateway or who is currently through Gateway but unable to conduct a project. When submitting project work completed during the on-programme stage, the Apprentice must be confident that this work sufficiently demonstrates their current competency level within the relevant Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours. 

Substantial Change to Level 3 Learning and Development Practitioner:

Ofqual have also confirmed that there is inconsistency between the Standard and assessment plan associated with Knowledge criteria K1.

K1: Foundation level theories that underpin effective adult learning and group behaviour. For example, learning styles, training/learning cycle, group dynamics, continuing professional development, evaluation.

Their confirmation clarifies that the reference to “learning styles” within the assessment plan is an error. It is not referenced with the standard and it should have also been removed from the assessment plan prior to its publication and therefore, ‘learning styles’ should not feature within assessment tools for this End-Point Assessment. This relates to the following Pass criteria:

Referenced at least 3 recognised foundation level theories that underpin effective adult learning and/or group behaviour in project report, and provides evidence that the project uses those (K1)

Please Note:

At present we have not made any changes to our assessment materials and/or assessment approach in relation to this update.

We recognised the potential wider impact of the removal of ‘Learning Styles’ from the list of potential Foundation Level theories that underpin effective adult learning and group behaviour (K1) and as a result we are currently seeking further clarification, via Ofqual, as to the reason for this removal as well as request an explicit definition of what is meant by “Learning Styles” and the viability of inclusion of a range of other theories in order that we can ensure our future updates are as informed as possible to enable any on programme content to be adjusted accordingly.

Through our experience of delivering EPA for this standard, we are reliably informed that the inclusion of Learning Styles is a common feature of many Apprentices’ evidence base, enabling this Pass criteria to be successfully achieved during their EPA. Therefore, a seemingly small word change to remove this reference could potentially disadvantage Apprentices both who have either already progressed through Gateway, and those that are part way through their on-programme learning.

Therefore, in order to ensure that Apprentices are not disadvantaged, and to allow us to receive a sufficiently detailed response to our above query, we would like to confirm our intention to delay the implementation of this change. It is anticipated that we will introduce this change for Apprentices who progress through Gateway from March 2022, however, we will provide further confirmation of this alongside more detailed guidance once a response to our query is received.

We suggest at this point that Apprentices are prepared for this Knowledge component without use of Learning Styles being an example of the Foundation Learning Theories they are aware of. While we will not be imposing the restriction until March 2022, the preparation aligned to this Knowledge criteria will occur significantly prior to Gateway. Therefore, we strongly recommend that considerations and adaptations are put in place as soon as possible in the training and support provided to Apprentices while on-programme. Please be assured, if an Apprentice does not reference Learning Styles within their response to this criteria, they will not be disadvantaged. However, the Apprentice will be required to demonstrate sufficient knowledge with other examples to meet a Pass.

Please contact us directly should you have concerns that even a 12-month delay would be detrimental to any of your current Apprentices.

As we continue to work closely with Ofqual and other EPAOs as well as our own subject experts and product development team, we will provide further updates as to any review or amendments to our supporting assessment materials in due course. We ask for your patience and understanding as we undertake this process.

Firstly, we want to thank you for your patience over this past week. We are aware there has been much confusion around the lack of detail for the newly approved Hair Professional EPA discretion and the publication of some incorrect information. We have been working closely with Ofqual, IfATE and the other relevant EPAOs to agree the detail of this new discretion as well as the parameters for application/eligibility.

We are pleased to finally be able to share the detail of this with you!

It is important to note that EPA remains a mandatory part of the Hair Professional Apprenticeship programme and that in most instances it is expected that the EPA will continue to take place as per the current published assessment plan.

In March 2020 IfATE published a series of dispensations that further support the current plan to be deliverable. Whilst our experience proved that these options were not required for the vast majority of Apprentices, they do remain active as approved dispensations until at least the end of August 2021.

As we prepare for salons and close contact services to reopen on 12th April, we are also preparing to return to EPA delivery and have been accepting bookings for several weeks now. As noted above, we anticipate that for most Apprentices the current plan, along with previously approved dispensations where needed, will be sufficient to enable their EPA to be conducted in the usual manner.

The new discretion is in place purely to act as a safety net for where there is an exceptional circumstance that would prevent an Apprentice being able to undertake their EPA and therefore complete their Apprenticeship and is not an optional alternative.

New Discretion

Professional Discussion underpinned by package of evidence:

This will comprise of three core aspects:

  1. Package of Evidence
  2. Competency Statement
  3. Professional discussion

1. Package of Evidence

The Apprentice/provider must produce a package of information that shows evidence from the summative assessment. This will include a mapping document, utilising evidence provided from the Apprentices on programme learning, which is mapped to the knowledge skills and behaviours detailed on the EPA. As a minimum this should include:

  • A consultation record card/sheet if available
  • Observation records signed by the Apprentice and the on-program assessor
  • Any photographic or digital evidence supporting the Apprentice’s level of attainment if available
  • Where this discretion is used for a resit/retake of a failed assessment, the evidence package must include some evidence of further guided learning since the previous assessment was taken (e.g. signed statement from training provider).

2. Competency Statement

A joint statement of the Apprentice’s competence from the Employer and on-programme assessor. The accountability statement of the apprentice’s competence to include:

  1. technical skills
  2. Safe working practices (health and safety)
  3. ways of working
  4. customer service
  5. behaviour and communication
  6. professionalism and values

(Employer in this context can be an occupationally competent senior member of staff with direct experience of the Apprentice’s work).

3. Professional Discussion

This aspect is used to confirm the Apprentice’s skills, knowledge, and behaviours against the existing pass grade descriptors for the EPA and will last up to a maximum of 1 hour on a one to one basis with one Apprentice to one assessor.

Where Apprentices are eligible (see below) Evidence aspects 1 and 2 should be submitted at least 5 working days in advance of the Professional Discussion to provide sufficient time for the assessor to review the included evidence and prepare for the Professional Discussion.

The Training provider/employer are expected to review the evidence package prior to submission to ensure that it includes sufficient evidence to support the Professional Discussion, in line with mapping documentation (provided by EPAOs).

Professional Discussions can be conducted remotely or face-to-face.

Grading

In line with previous discussions with the employer group and the Institute, it should be noted that:

  • Apprentices can only be allocated a maximum of a pass grade if this new EPA Discretion is applied.

(The distinction grade cannot be assessed through this approach, as the on-programme qualification used as an evidence base is assessed at pass/fail)

  • Re-sits and re-takes are not offered to Apprentices wishing to move from pass to a higher grade. (In line with existing Institute policy)

Parameters for Eligibility

It is anticipated that most Apprentices will still access the practical aspects of their EPA in line with the assessment plan, or via the previously existing Covid-19 flexibilities and dispensations (as per Autumn 2020).

This additional discretion option has been provided for circumstances where that is not possible, or in exceptional circumstances where it would not be appropriate to use the previously existing Covid-19 flexibilities and dispensations.

The high-level principles for eligibility, for Apprentices who will have already met the existing gateway requirements, are set out below:

  • Where close contact/personal services are not available (due to national or regional lockdowns, other restrictions or Government Covid 19 guidance) and the Apprentice does not wish to delay their EPA
  • Where it is not safe for the Apprentice to undertake close contact work for personal medical reasons (e.g. shielding) or similar (e.g. in line with PHE guidance)
  • Difficulties in accessing appropriate venues (e.g. feasibility issues due to commercial difficulties)
  • Where employment situation of the Apprentice has changed, or is changing in a way which necessitates the use of this this discretion

The above reasons are not exhaustive – they set out the high-level principles to assist in determining the eligibility for application of this discretion.

We encourage Training Providers to share this message with their Employers and Apprentices and continue to prepare and progress Apprentices to undertake the EPA in its usual form. Where you believe there is a genuine need, and your Apprentice meets the eligibility requirements for this discretionary approach please contact us directly to request an EPA Discretion Form.

What happens next?

We are continuing to work closely with the other EPAOs as well as our own subject experts and product development team to create the supporting assessment materials to operationalise this additional discretion.

We ask for your patience and understanding as we undertake this process. This will ensure that we can provide, where needed, a Mapping and Tracking document along with guidance pertaining to the required Evidence Package and Assessor/Employer Competency Statement and further details on preparing Apprentices for the Professional Discussion. Additionally, we will be conducting training and standardisation with our own EPA Assessors. We will provide a further update once this process is complete and support materials are available, and it will be at this stage when we will be able to accept bookings for this approach for any eligible and approved Apprentices.

If you have any questions about anything in this update, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing epa@tquk.org

Throughout the COVID period, Training Qualifications UK has continued to work actively with the IfATE, Ofqual, the Hair Professional Employer Group, as well as the other relevant End-Point Assessment Organisations, to review EPA and agree on how assessments can take place safely, where possible. In the most recent weeks, discussions have focused on understanding if any further flexibilities to those already published could be approved.

Yesterday, 17th March 2021, the IfATE published an update on their website to confirm that additional flexibilities have been approved. Their statement can be found here.

We remain active in working with the above-named parties to work through and agree the detail of these flexibilities and how they could be applied. We are committed to keeping you as up to date as possible, and as such, further communication will follow next week.

The key message at this stage is that we remain active in taking EPA bookings from 14th April and these updates are not expected to impact this. We hope to confirm the finer details next week, including which Apprentices these additional flexibilities may be applicable to.

Here at Training Qualifications UK, we like to make sure you’re kept aware of all the most important goings-on in the world of End-Point Assessment. With that in mind, this week we look at the impact of the third national lockdown and our withdrawal from Retail standards.

Continue reading “Lockdown, Hair Professional and Retail updates”

Here at Training Qualifications UK, we like to make sure you’re kept aware of all the most important goings-on in the world of End-Point Assessment. With that in mind, this week we look at how the latest government guidelines impact the Hair Professional standard and offer an update on Operations Departmental Manager.

Continue reading “Tier 4 restrictions, Hair Professional and Operations Departmental Manager Updates”

As you all prepare for a well-deserved rest over the Christmas break, we would like to share with you a final update for the year relating to the Level 5 Children, Young People and Families Manager Standard.

In doing so we would like to thank you again for your continued patience as we have worked relentlessly with the Employer group, Ofqual and the other relevant End-Point Assessment Organisations to collectively try and find a solution to enable End-Point Assessment for this standard to proceed.

Latest Update
On Tuesday 15th December, we collectively met again with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) to discuss findings of a second pilot conducted by ourselves and the other EPAOs based on the previously-agreed flexibilities.

Whilst this pilot did not provide sufficient evidence to make the EPAOs confident that this would serve as a robust and fair assessment opportunity for all Apprentices, its output has led to further agreements with IfATE which we are now confident we can use to develop an appropriate assessment.

Next Steps
Unfortunately, at this stage, we are restricted in providing the detail as to these flexibilities, as we need to conclude final internal testing to formally agree and accept them with IfATE who will then in turn formally publish them on their website.

As we approach this stage, we will of course communicate all details pertaining to this assessment method and offer all the support we can to enable your Apprentices to finally progress through Gateway and undertake their EPA.

Please keep in mind that this method will be an interim solution as the Employer Group is commencing with a full review/rewrite of the Standard and Assessment plan. This is also true of the Level 4 Children, Young People and Families Practitioner standard.

The Chair of the Employer group has formally invited ourselves, along with the other approved EPAOs, to also join the group. This allows us to have meaningful input into the process from the start. It is expected that this process will be concluded by late 2021 but again we will keep you informed of all progress.

Once again, many thanks for your continued patience and support and we trust that 2021 will be a positive year for Apprentices on this standard.

Here at Training Qualifications UK, we like to make sure you’re kept aware of all the most important goings-on in the world of End-Point Assessment. With that in mind, this week we look at updates to our Hair Professional standard, which is now live again, Christmas closures and Verve EPA document restrictions.

Continue reading “Hair Professional, Christmas Closures and Verve EPA Document Updates”

Here at Training Qualifications UK, we like to make sure you’re kept aware of all the most important goings-on in the world of End-Point Assessment. With that in mind, this week we look at recent flexibilities announced by the IfATE and our Verve support documents.

Continue reading “End-Point Assessment flexibilities and support document updates”

TQUK
VTCT

This is a collaborative statement from End-Point Assessment Organisations within the hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy services sector.

City & Guilds, VTCT and Training Qualifications UK have been working collaboratively regarding the practical observation of End-Point Assessments. Following guidance of the recent publication from IfATE and the Trailblazer Steering groups, as of 5th November 2020, we will be in Scenario 1. All End-point Assessment Organisations have agreed by consensus that delay for practical observation is the appropriate mitigation during the second COVID-19 national lockdown situation for the Hair Professional and Beauty Professional standards.

Practical observation is a critical part of the End-Point Assessment which ensures that the Apprentice is safe to progress into employment and to provide services to the public. Our joint priority is to ensure that we all continue to follow government guidelines to support public health.

The collaborative statement is fully supported by both the Hair Professional and Beauty Professional Steering Groups. This current position will be continually under review and Training Qualifications UK will keep you all updated with any further developments.

Please find below a statement from Training Qualifications UK’s End-Point Assessment Director Kelle McQuade about the Children, Young People and Families Manager Standard

I would like to thank the Providers we work with for their feedback about the Children, Young People and Families Manager Standard. It has been very informative and helpful.

It is pleasing to hear that the ESFA are making direct contact with Providers and the information they are gathering will also help to reflect the impact that the delay to the Standard is having. I have been in contact with the ESFA to address the challenge of Apprentices passing the 12 month period, the challenge we have had with the Assessment Plan and the concerns of not being able to resolve the issues relating to the Assessment plan with the IfATE.

We have continued to work very closely with the only other EPAO (NCFE), Ofqual and the Employer group to make proposals to the IfATE. We have endeavoured to work closely so we can attempt to alter the Situational Judgement Test to ensure that a fair assessment opportunity can be provided for every Apprentice. At present and due to the IfATE’s internal policy, a substitute assessment method has not been permitted. Only small changes to the current method have been permitted.

Early pilots of this assessment method, including these small changes, have so far not provided satisfactory evidence for us or NCFE and haven’t been deemed as a practical resolution. The evidence that has been collected shows that it will enable Apprentices to pass the assessment, though there is a very high probability that those that do pass will not be able to obtain a Distinction grade, they will only be able to achieve a Pass. This would sufficiently disadvantage Apprentices.

Further meetings have taken place over the last week and these have included senior IfATE personnel. After again escalating the matter, a collective workshop has been scheduled for next week, where we will attempt to work through some further flexibilities the IfATE are looking to permit.

It is with regret and frustration that we unfortunately do not have a time period to offer for when a solution will be found. We will continue to escalate this matter with Ofqual, ESFA, IfATE and the Federation of Awarding Bodies. We have also requested the IfATE make a note on their website to indicate the delay for the End-Point Assessment, and the fact it cannot currently be delivered, but as they deem the plan as having been approved for delivery, they are reluctant to edit this.

As ever, we will ensure that all providers are informed of any new updates that are made.

If there are any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Here at Training Qualifications UK, we like to make sure you’re kept aware of all the most important goings-on in the world of End-Point Assessment. With that in mind, this week we look at updates to the Level 5 Operations / Departmental Manager standard and provide information about our team structure.

Continue reading “Operations/Departmental Manager and TQUK staff updates”

Here at Training Qualifications UK, we like to make sure you’re kept aware of all the most important goings-on in the world of End-Point Assessment. With that in mind, this week we look at updates about level 2 Functional Skills requirements and our examination documentation.

Continue reading “Functional Skills and Examination Documentation updates”

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