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.

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