The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) recently released updated guidance on the roles and responsibilities for apprenticeship Gateway and resits for End-Point Assessment.
Music to our ears we say. Training Qualifications UK and other EPAOs have been continually pushing for standardisation and clarity on the roles and responsibilities for multiple stages of the assessment process to ensure consistency across the sector, after all it’s the Apprentices that need that clarity and fairness in assessment, no matter which EPAO and Training Provider they are assigned to.
End-Point Assessment Organisation role and responsibilities
‘As soon as an EPAO is selected, they should engage with the employer (or training provider, where the employer has given permission).’
A message that TQUK has adopted from day one, the sooner the two parties can engage with each other, the better. This will allow for a greater overall understanding of the End-Point Assessment landscape and the role and responsibilities of everyone involved ensuring the best possible chances of success for Apprentices.
Early engagement encourages early knowledge of the End-Point Assessment process and a greater understanding of best practice and how to get the best out of any Apprentice.
Discussed under the Training Provider role and responsibilities:
‘It is also important that the Apprentice understands what EPA is from an early stage in their apprenticeship, that they understand the different assessment methods and feel confident that they are ready to take their assessment.’
In our experience, those Apprentice’s who are able to and want to engage with the End-Point Assessment process early and understand the components thoroughly are the ones who have the best outcome from their apprenticeship.
Training Provider role and responsibilities
Training providers are jointly responsible with the Employer for keeping the Apprentice on track with their Off-the-job training. This will help to ensure that the Apprentice is able to take their End-Point Assessment on the planned date.
To keep Apprentices on track, and to assist Employers to make a good gateway decision, Training Providers should:
- prompt the Employer to select an EPAO early on, (Training Providers may do this on the Employer’s behalf where the Employer has given permission)
- agree a proposed Gateway date with the Employer at the beginning of the apprenticeship (or at least three months in advance of Gateway) – taking into account any prior learning or additional needs of the Apprentice.
- plan in dates for completing the required mandatory qualifications in advance of Gateway
- hold regular reviews with the Apprentice to assess their progress against the assessment plan – this way the Apprentice can be passed through Gateway at the right time
- familiarise the Apprentice with the End-Point Assessment components and grade requirements
- hold regular reviews with the Employer to update them about the Apprentice’s progress and development needs
- ensure that there is time for the Apprentice to use any preparatory and practice materials provided by the EPAO
- inform the EPAO as early as possible if the Apprentice will need reasonable adjustments to be made during the End-Point Assessment
- provide appropriate on-programme training and assessment (including maths and English) to ensure each Apprentice meets the required skills and knowledge level of their apprenticeship
- keep all parties (Apprentice, Employee and EPAO) up to date on any changes to Gateway review and End-Point Assessment dates
And to summarise the responsibilities of the Training Provider at Gateway, they along with the Employer, must ensure that the Apprentice does not pass into the Gateway phase until they consider them to be occupationally competent.
This is in their best interests as much as the Apprentices’, in order to avoid any unnecessary resit or retake costs further down the line.
Resits and retakes
Previous to this guidance, in only some of the newer assessment plans was the definition of either a ‘resit’ or ‘retake’ provided, leading to confusion as to the place of further learning. This new information provides greater clarity as it defines a ‘resit’ as not requiring further learning whereas a retake does.
When an Apprentice’s result notification recommends a re-take, the Employer and Training Provider should consider a supportive action plan that responds to the weaknesses identified from the original EPA result notification, stating the nature and extent of the re-training and, where possible, include the estimated time to prepare the Apprentices for the re-take.
The timescales and fee for a retake must be agreed between the Employer and EPAO, this should be agreed as early as possible within the contracting stage.
‘A resit involves the Apprentice sitting one or more failed assessment components again, without the need to undertake further training.’
Following failure of EPA, the EPAO (Training Qualifications UK) will provide a result statement showing the assessment components the Apprentice has failed and that no further training is needed. Some EPA plans set out specific criteria for resits which need to be followed.
A resit cannot be taken with the intention of increasing the original grade if an Apprentice has passed their EPA. Resits are only to be taken in the event of a failure.
‘The Employer has responsibility for the majority of their Apprentice’s training. Employers are expected to financially support Apprentices until completion, including paying the cost of resits, when necessary. Resits are ineligible costs and are not funded by the ESFA.’
The EPAO and Training Provider are not responsible for resit costs but may agree to contribute and can include this in their agreement at the beginning of the apprenticeship.
For example, a Training Provider may contribute to the cost of a resit if the Apprentice fails a theoretical element of the training. An EPAO may offer one or more resits in the initial contract price.
Apprentices cannot be asked to pay for costs of training and assessment and are not responsible for resit costs.
The number of resits that can be taken by an Apprentice will be at the discretion of their Employer, unless the assessment plan limits this to one.
The ESFA recommends a limit of two resits, however more than two resits can be taken if needed, unless otherwise specified in the assessment plan.
You can find the full guidance here and we would advise Training Providers, Employers and Apprentices to fully understand the roles and responsibilities they have in ensuring a smooth End-Point Assessment process.
If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the End-Point Assessment Team on 03333 583344.