External Quality Assurance COVID-19 FAQs

We understand and appreciate the range of enquiries we are receiving from our centres during these unprecedented times and we are continuing to work closely with our education providers, employers and learners to try and provide answers and solutions to all of your concerns and challenges as quickly as possible. We are monitoring guidance from Ofqual daily on these matters and will share further announcements made by the government as they happen.

To supplement our direct correspondence support, we will be publishing answers to some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs)* here for you.

*We will be updating this page regularly, so we encourage you to please check-in and stay up to date with our latest information here. (last updated 17/09/2020)

Can assessments be postponed by centres?

As your Awarding Organisation, we will support and stand by our centres’ decisions to postpone assessments where they feel this is a necessity due to the direct impact of COVID-19.

Where assessments have been postponed, we know centres are doing all that they can to provide support to their learners, reassuring them that these will be reinstated as soon as possible, to allow learners to quickly pick up where they left off.

As a centre, can we adapt our current assessment methods and practices to enable some assessments to continue where possible?

Unfortunately, our central Quality Team cannot comment directly on the suitability of solutions that individual centres devise to suit their own local requirements. We understand some flexibility is required, however, for guidance, we would like to remind centres that qualifications must continue to be delivered, assessed and internally quality assured, in ways that ensure the validity, authenticity and sufficiency of learner evidence. (Please refer to the relevant qualification handbooks which can be downloaded from Odyssey via the resources link) 

Any changes to assessments should be checked internally by the qualification Lead IQA, to ensure the assessments will still achieve the relevant Assessment Criteria.  If the Lead IQA is unsure, they can seek advice from their EQA.

Are there any further updates to EQA visits at this time?

EQA visits are being converted to remote activities where practical, or otherwise being postponed where this is not, and we thank our centres for their support and flexibility at this time.

Can I now request a face-to-face visit?

  • If a centre is unable to provide digital evidence for remote EQA access, then a postal sample, or in-person pick up of materials is acceptable – provided government social distancing and safety measures are strictly adhered to.
  • If a remote EQA activity cannot be carried out in a valid way (for example, the centre is unable to provide access to the necessary learner evidence and records, or is closed) then we will look to delay the activity until access can be given – provided that learners will not be disadvantaged as a result (for instance, causing certification delays which may affect promotion opportunities). 
  • If a face-to-face visit is considered urgent, unavoidable, and is deemed logistically possible after discussions with our QA team, then the centre must give assurance that government Covid-19 guidelines on safe working will be adhered to by signing our EQA Visit Covid-19 Risk Management Declaration form and provide a Centre Risk Assessment of the planned visit. (Covid-19 Risk Management Declaration and Centre Risk Assessment of the visit must be emailed to your EQA 15 working days prior to the visit date)
  • The visiting EQA will then review the Centre’s Risk Assessment document to ensure the measures in place satisfy the government guidelines. If any concerns are raised following receipt of the risk assessment, clarification will be sought from the centre.

What is the updated additional guidance from the Education & Training Foundation (ETF) for student teachers/tutors on the Award and Certificate in Education and Training (AET and CET), and the Assessor qualifications, disrupted due to COVID-19?

ETF is mindful of the demands of the current situation which is still highly disruptive to the delivery of ITE qualifications.

As the situation is still problematic ETF have issued us, as an Awarding Organisation, the additional following recommendations with regard to reasonable adjustment for the AET and CET, and the Assessor qualifications.

This is to allow training to continue as practicably as possible whilst retaining quality. This guidance therefore covers reasonable adjustment and applies to all programmes currently running or starting in August or September and finishing before the end of September 2020. This does not apply to anyone outside these criteria and if current conditions persist ETF will issue more guidance. Any adjustments must be implemented in a quality assured manner and all criteria robust.

Level 3 AET

  • Remotely assessed micro teaches are permissible.

Level 4 CET

  • Remote delivery can be reckonable for teaching practice where robust records are evidenced including of learner engagement: simple creation of remotely delivered materials is insufficient, there must be evidence of learner engagement. It is reckonable on a 1:1 basis.
  • Remote observation of face to face teaching is permissible.
  • Observation where the delivery is remote will have to take the form of assessment of materials created and any interactions, alongside a professional discussion.

Assessor Awards (including Assess Occupational Competence in the Work Environment, or Assess Vocational Skills, Knowledge and Understanding)

  • Assessed observations can be conducted remotely.
  • Observation where the assessment itself is remote will have to take the form of assessment of any interactions, alongside a professional discussion.

As previously, these are temporary measures, and we expect centres to adhere to the regular guidance and rules once the situation returns to normal.

Hopefully the above means we will not disadvantage those promising students who have shown competence to date whilst not compromising the quality of those progressing to the workforce.

The SFJ Awards EQA Team are here to support you during these difficult times.
Please contact us for advice on any issues or to keep us updated.

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