At Training Qualifications UK, we want to ensure that you’re made aware and kept up to date with all the most important changes in the world of End-Point Assessment. With that in mind, we want to take the opportunity to remind you of important information regarding the planned removal of COVID-19 dispensations, for the following Apprenticeship Standards:

  • Teaching Assistant
  • Learning Mentor
  • HR Support
  • HR Consultant Partner
  • L&D Practitioner
  • L&D Consultant / Business Partner
  • Customer Service Practitioner
  • Customer Service Specialist
  • Healthcare Support Worker
  • Senior Healthcare Support Worker
  • Healthcare Assistant Practitioner

As per our previous updates, we would like to offer a reminder that the current Covid dispensations, which were extended to support the COVID-19 pandemic, for the above-named Apprenticeship Standards are, planned to end on the 30th June 2022.

We anticipate further details and communication from the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IfATE), which of course we will cascade when received. In the meantime, we want to support your planning and Apprentice achievement based on the current planned deadline date.

Standard Current Dispensation

Practice

Assessment from

 1st July 2022

Education
Teaching Assistant The observation may be replaced by an alternative assessment consisting of a reflective account written by the apprentice and an expert witness statement. The apprentice will then undertake a question-and-answer session of up to 30 minutes with the external assessor. Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

Learning Mentor The learning mentor observation followed by questions and answers will be adapted for apprentices undertaking this apprenticeship standard within an NHS-based setting to support those where observations within the medical setting are not permitted.

The discretion will include:

· Learning mentor observations conducted by the Clinical Education Team

· Witness testimony from apprentice’s line manager

· Question and answer session conducted by Independent EPA Assessor

Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

HR
HR Support Pre-gateway work examples can be used for the consultative project. Apprentices can only use work examples from the last 6 months of the apprenticeship. Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

HR Consultant Partner Pre-gateway work examples can be used for the consultative project. Apprentices can only use work examples from the last 6 months of the apprenticeship. Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

Learning & Development
L&D Practitioner On programme project can replace or supplement a post Gateway project where this has not been able to be completed.

Where there is no recording, or the recording has not been possible this can be replaced by witness testimony from an appropriate member of staff from the employer.

 

Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

L&D Consultant / Business Partner The work-based project in Learning and Development standards are pre-EPA and can be now used as part of the EPA assessment. Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

Business Generic
Customer Service Practitioner The observation may be replaced with witness testimony from someone familiar with the Apprentice’s work. The Apprentice would then be assessed through Q&A with an external assessor Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

Customer Service Specialist The observation may be replaced with witness testimony from someone familiar with the Apprentice’s work.  The Apprentice would then be assessed through Q&A with an external assessor. Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

Healthcare
Healthcare Support Worker The observation assessment may be replaced with a reflective statement written by the apprentice and validated by an expert witness. This will be followed by a question-and-answer session of up to 30 minutes with an independent assessor Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

Senior Healthcare Support Worker The observation assessment may be replaced with a reflective statement written by the apprentice and validated by an expert witness. This will be followed by a question-and-answer session of up to 30 minutes with an independent assessor. Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

Healthcare Assistant Practitioner The observation assessment may be replaced with a reflective statement written by the apprentice and validated by an expert witness. This will be followed by a question-and-answer session of up to 30 minutes with an independent assessor. Dispensation due to end on 30th June 2022.

 

Original Assessment Plan EPA requirements to take effect.

 

If you wish to access any original Assessment Plan details, please locate the relevant Apprenticeship Standard via IfATE Website

Based on the above update, EPA assessments must be scheduled and completed by the 30th June 2022, in order to use the temporary COVID-19 dispensations.

What does this mean for my Apprentice?

What this means is that Apprentices who progress through gateway after 30th June 2022 will be assessed against the original requirements of the Assessment Plan.

Apprentices that progress through gateway prior to 30th June 2022, but have their End-Point Assessment planned from 1st July 2022, will be assessed against the original requirements of the Assessment Plan.

What date will my Apprentice need to be accepted through Gateway to be assessed under the dispensation?

If you would like any Apprentices to be assessed against the current COVID-19 dispensations, Apprentices must be submitted and approved through Gateway by the 3rd May 2022. This is to allow sufficient time to book assessments, and for our TQUK End-Point Assessors to complete the Apprentice before the 30th June 2022 deadline.

What if my Apprentice is presented at Gateway but rejected?

As referenced above, the Apprentice must be approved through Gateway by 3rd May 2022. If your Apprentice is presented at Gateway and rejected, therefore not approved through Gateway until after 3rd May 2022, the dispensation method cannot be used.

What happens if my Apprentice commences their EPA before the 30th June 2022, but doesn’t complete until after 1st July 2022?

If your Apprentice commences their EPA before the 30th June, but an additional component is scheduled to be completed after the 1st July (but within July 2022), the dispensation method can be used.

Should the assessment be cancelled or postponed prior to the 30th June, and the entire assessment is booked in after the 1st July, then the dispensation method cannot be used and the original requirements of the assessment plan will be implemented.

What if my Apprentice requires a resit/retake using the dispensation methods?

Apprentices who have attempted their End-Point Assessment under the current temporary COVID-19 dispensation method, are permitted to resit/retake using the discretion, after the 1st July 2022.

TQUK will continue to monitor this on a monthly basis, to enable Apprentices to complete their resits/retakes, using the dispensation method, unless any further instruction is issued from the IfATE.

What if my Apprentice has been on a Pause in Learning and is returning to complete their EPA?

If your Apprentice has not yet attempted their End-Point Assessment and returns from a ‘pause’, with a scheduled End-Point Assessment date on or before the 30th June 2022, the dispensation method may be used.

If your Apprentice has not yet attempted their End-Point Assessment and returns from a ‘pause’, with a scheduled End-Point Assessment date on or after the 1st July 2022, the dispensation method cannot be used, and the original requirements of the Assessment Plan, must be used.

If your Apprentice has previously failed their End-Point Assessment and returns from a ‘pause’, with a scheduled End-Point Assessment date on or before the 30th June 2022, the dispensation method may be used. Likewise, if the End-Point Assessment date is after the 1st July 2022, with this being a resit/retake, subject to the instructions within the Assessment Plan and not being outside of an EPA Window requiring a whole assessment retake, the dispensation may be used, with approval from TQUK.

Additional Support 

We will be offering additional training and support sessions on the original assessment methods, as outlined within the assessment plan, to support where flexibilities are due to end.

Where the COVID-19 flexibility has been extended, the assessment components can continue to be assessed against the discretion, until the 30th June 2022.

Should you have any questions please feel free to email us at epasupport@tquk.org

Flexibility Framework Update

In addition to the COVID-19 dispensations, the IfATE released an additional 10 flexibilities which EPAO’s could use within assessment to ensure support to Apprentices in completing their End-Point Assessment during the Pandemic. A link to these flexibilities is located here

Of the 10 flexibilities, the following 3 will be switched off on the 31st March 2022:

  1. Changes being made to who sits on the EPA interview/discussion panel (when someone in addition to the independent assessor is specified)
    during the Covid-19 period, it wasn’t always possible to have an employer sit on a panel as many were furloughed or busy elsewhere. As the economy returns to normal, the original assessment plan can now be delivered, helping to protect quality for apprentices, maintain validity and improve learning for future apprentices.
  2. Allowing other suitable evidence of achievements being used in replacement of functional skills qualifications at gateway (other mandated qualifications are covered under temporary discretions)
    this is no longer needed because the mandated qualifications should become available and achievable as restrictions are relaxed and training providers reopen.
  3. Extension to the length of the end-point assessment period (where specified)
    because it disadvantages apprentices to have a long wait for their end-point assessment (EPA)  after passing through gateway.

The remaining 7 flexibilities, will be retained as options beyond the 1st April 2022, but only for Assessment Plans published before the 1st April 2022. Any Assessment Plans developed afterwards should have these flexibilities considered during their development, and available within the published version of the Plan.

  1. Observations taking place in simulated environments
  2. Remote delivery of assessment (including invigilation)
  3. Pauses being allowed between assessment methods during End-Point Assessment period
  4. Assessments taking place outside of usual venues
  5. Delivery of assessment methods in any order (when a specified order is in the assessment plan)
  6. Exams/tests being online instead of on paper (where originally specified as paper-based only)
  7. Gateway sign off being done remotely (were originally specified as having to be face to face)

Should any further updates on the flexibilities become available from the IfATE, TQUK will ensure to update you as soon as the information becomes available.

Further Updates

TQUK will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the removal of dispensations as further information is released by the IfATE.

Gateway Success

In order for Apprentices to complete any assessments using the COVID-19 dispensations, it is vital that any delays are prevented when submitting them through Gateway. For tips on getting your Gateway submissions right the first time, and to avoid delays with Gateway rejections, see our support guidance documents and videos on EPA Pro!

Alternatively, please contact us to book a support session at  epasupport@tquk.org.

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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