Updated: 09 July 2021

Summer 2021 – Guidance in Preparing to Issue Results

Awarding Window

We'll be supporting you and your learners every step of the way with the 2021 summer arrangements and this interim update provides you with some key reminders on dates and guidance available to you.

For EAL’s Performance Table qualifications, listed below, we have aligned the results dates to those for General qualifications.  This means the window for results to be released is the 10 August to 12 August 2021.

  • EAL Level 2 First Certificate in Engineering Technology 600/6867/X
  • EAL Level 1 Foundation Certificate in Engineering Technology 601/4560/2
  • EAL Level 2 Intermediate Diploma in Electrical Installation 601/4561/4
  • EAL Level 2 Intermediate Diploma in Plumbing 601/4562/6
  • EAL Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Electrical Installation 601/4563/8 (excluding N18ED3/1 Understand the Requirements for Electrical Installations BS 7671:2018)
  • EAL Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Engineering Technology  601/4564/X
  • EAL Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Plumbing 601/4567/5

Further guidance is available for you within EAL’s guidance documents on the Covid-19 landing page under the heading Guidance documents following Ofqual VCRF – Centre Guidance Documents.

EAL’s External Quality Assurance team are working with those centres delivering Performance Table qualifications to meet their planned results release for the August 2021 awarding window. We encourage Centres returning from Covid-19 restrictions to discuss plans with their EQA, if you have not done so already, to agree an engagement date to review TAG’s and evidence that will meet the awarding window in August 2021. We expect that Centres will of course be considering in their plans engaging with their Learners to receive any additional learning and/or assessment where appropriate to generate the best TAG reflecting their current knowledge and skill.

Functional Skills – Result Release

Where learners have sat their FSQ online assessment or an application for a Teacher Assessed Grade has been quality assured and claimed, EAL will release results as normal through Online Services.

  • EAL Functional Skills qualification in English at level 1   500/9833/0
  • EAL Functional Skills qualification in English at level 2   500/9834/2
  • EAL Level 1 Award in Functional Skills Information and Communication Technology 501/1135/8
  • EAL Functional Skills qualification in Information and Communication Technology at Level 2 501/1138/3
  • EAL Functional Skills Qualification in mathematics at level 2 501/1139/5
  • EAL Functional Skills qualification in mathematics at level 1 501/1187/5

Issuing Results 

Performance Table qualifications: 10 – 12 August.
All other VTQ / SVQ qualifications: As soon after external quality assurance completed.

Release of results for Teacher Assessed Grades for GCSEs, A Levels, and some vocational qualifications will take place in the week commencing 09 August 2021. This has been brought forward from the usual date later in August for GCSEs and A Levels. EAL's qualifications do not follow the same set results release dates as GCSEs and A Levels in a normal year, therefore we intend to release results as soon as the external quality assurance activity has been completed.

Where qualifications most closely align with GCSEs and A Levels and learners need their results to progress into employment or their next stage in their career, we will aim to align with the date above and therefore we ask centres to make us aware of those learners where this is the case. There may be some qualifications which are eligible for Teacher Assessed Grades where we may be able to release results at an earlier date.

To confirm, EAL will be releasing results as soon as EAL’s external quality assurance activity has been completed.

Accessing Results Data for your Learners

The process for accessing you result data for learners is no different to any other time. You may access and retrieve all your learners’ results through EAL’s Online Services and draw down the data as soon as the quality assurance process has been completed. As soon as claims have been verified the results data will be available within Online Services for centres to draw down their data. The EQA quality assurance engagement and discussion will confirm when the claims have been verified.

Access Online Services here.

In addition, VTQ results data for learners will be uploaded to the Learner Records Service on a weekly basis.

How are Category A and Category B qualifications being assessed in 2021?

EAL confirms that it has provided guidance to centres on the Covid-19 landing page and in a greater level of detail within the VTQ guidance document setting out the quality assurance process in place this year. A summary of the approach for quality assurance is set out below:

EAL’s Quality Assurance of TAGs

Please refer to pages 21-23 of the VTQ guidance document.

Contact your EQA to discuss the rationale for a proposed use of a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG). The 1-2-1 consultation on the proposed TAG will commence with the EQA reviewing the Centre’s rationale against the Ofqual principles and requirements. Agreement and verification of Centre proposals for TAG will be confirmed and emailed to the Centre. The Centre will then apply agreed TAG to assessments, complete the claim proforma and HOC declaration then upload records identified in the EQA sampling plan on instruction from the EQA.

EAL’s Quality Assurance of Adaptions

Please refer to pages 16-18 of the VTQ guidance document.

The first step in the process is to contact your assigned EQA to discuss proposed adaption. Following agreement on the proposed adaption the Centre will need to complete a document outlining all learners and submit to EAL. Agreement on the adaptions will be reached following discussion with the EQA and the Centre may apply to adapt assessments and is required to quality assure their adapted assessments prior to upload of records to EAL for EQA sampling, the scheduling of an engagement date and subsequent approval and result release for valid claims.

Policies and Procedures - 2021

This update also provides you with a reminder on the guidance available to Centres and learners on how you may complain, appeal or apply for a special consideration.

Complaints Policy and arrangements - Complaints Policy

Appeals Policy and arrangements - Appeals Guidance 2021

Applying for a Special Consideration - Special Considerations

Should you need any further support or guidance our friendly Customer Experience Team are on hand to support you and can be contacted Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm and via telephone 01923 652400 or on email customer.experience@eal.org.uk 


Updated: 26 February 2021

Arrangements for the Award of VTQs and other General Qualifications in 2021

The impact of the pandemic means that, in line with the approach set out for GCSEs, AS and A levels, it is the policy position of the Department for Education (the Department) that external exams for many vocational, technical and other general qualifications should not take place as planned. Some learners may also not be able to complete other forms of assessment because of the disruption arising from the pandemic.

The Department’s consultation sought input on which qualifications should be subject to alternative arrangements, taking as a starting point those which received calculated results in 2020. It also set out proposals for how the arrangements should apply because they may need to be different, in some cases, to those put in place last year, to take account of the different circumstances.

Consultation Proposals and Outcomes

In part A of the consultation, the Department asked for views on which qualifications fall in scope of the Department’s policy.  

The Department’s view was that the qualifications which fall in scope of the proposed policy should be those which received a calculated result in summer 2020 because those qualifications were most similar to GCSE, AS and A levels and were used to support progression to further study or into employment. For qualifications that require a practical assessment to demonstrate occupational competency or are a licence to practise, the Department’s proposed policy position was that assessments should continue to take place wherever possible, subject to public health guidance.

The Department has now set out its expectations on how the 3 broad groups of Vocational Technical Qualifications should be awarded this year and Ofqual’s regulations have reflected the Department’s intentions in this way.  The approach to assessment and awarding of qualifications is explained in more detail below:

Approach to Assessment and Awarding for 2021

  Qualifications Arrangements for Awarding  Rationale 
Category A Occupational qualifications/licence to practise/professional.

Assessments should continue.

Adaptations continue under the provisions in the Extended ERF; further adaptations may be possible/needed.

Where results are awarded on the basis that assessments have taken place.

It is not possible to award qualifications safely, reliably and validly if key knowledge/skills/behaviours and occupational skills have not been demonstrated and assessed.
Category B

VTQs/Other general qualifications similar to GQs.  

Important for progression to further/higher education (performance table qualifications, applied generals, tech awards, other VRQs and FSQs)

Assessments may or may not continue.  

When not all assessments (exams or internal assessments) have taken place, results can still be awarded including through the use of teacher assessed grades (TAG).

There is a need for parity with GQs where exams have been cancelled; disruption to teaching and learning

On Demand / Online Assessments

Centres should continue with teaching and learning with their students to support their engagement in education.  On-demand assessments such as Functional Skills must go ahead ensuring it is safe to do so, in line with public health guidance.  Where learners are unable to access FSQ assessments, an alternative method of awarding these qualifications will be put in place to ensure learners can progress.  

Practical Assessments

Where practical assessments or written examinations are required to demonstrate occupational competency or to gain a licence to practice, these assessments should continue where it is possible to do so, subject to public health guidance. 

To ensure consistency across the awarding sector, EAL is currently working collaboratively with the Federation of Awarding Bodies and Ofqual to set out the process, arrangements and the evidence required to support teacher assessed judgements (TAGs).  We will provide updated guidance to centres before the end of the spring term, accessible via our website and Smarter Touch. 

In Part B of the Consultation – Ofqual’s Regulatory Arrangements

For qualifications that demonstrate occupational competency or act as a licence to practise, Ofqual has proposed the approach and provisions in the Extended ERF continue to remain appropriate and that the new regulatory arrangements should not apply.

The approach set out in the consultation sought to ensure that where assessment has already been completed, this should be taken into account when awarding a result and aims to maximise the opportunities for students and other learners to continue to develop their knowledge and skills and catch up on any lost learning for the remainder of the academic year. An important principle is that internal assessment should continue remotely wherever possible, whilst recognising that not all internal assessment can be completed by all students and other learners because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The outcome of the consultation broadly aligns to the proposed regulatory arrangements that were put in place under the Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework and Principles in 2020.  Ofqual is currently undertaking a consultation on the draft regulatory framework and will continue to work with awarding organisations so that results can be issued.  We will communicate the full scope of the awarding arrangements for 2021 as a priority to you before the end of the spring term.  In the meantime, please visit our Covid-19 page on our website where we will provide updates to support centres.  

Eligibility

Ofqual are in the process of consulting on the eligibility window for learners this year.  We will provide a further update as soon as we have received confirmation from Ofqual on the eligibility criteria which will enable us to advise centres on the relevance of the criteria to EAL’s qualifications.  

Supporting You 

Further details on our approaches to awarding this year will be issued via email to centres and on our website to support you and your learners taking assessments or being awarded their qualifications in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As always, you are welcome to contact us with any queries that you may have.  We will continue to review the situation with the pandemic restrictions and provide updates to you.

We would also like to take time to thank you, as always, for your close collaboration, understanding and patience with us during this complex time. If you have any questions, please contact our friendly Customer Experience Team: Customer.Experience@eal.org.uk or 01923 652400.

Publications 

A number of documents related to the decisions regarding awarding in 2021 and consultations on the regulatory frameworks for both general qualifications and vocational and technical consultations can be accessed via the links below.

General

 

General Qualifications

 


Updated: 22 October 2020

Arrangements for the Assessment and Awarding of Vocational, Technical and Other General Qualifications in 2020-2021

The government's expectation is that assessments should take place in the academic year 2020 to 2021 because that is the fairest way of providing results for learners. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in loss of education and training during the spring and summer terms of the academic year 2019 to 2020. It is also likely that some public health restrictions will be put in place during the 2020/2021 academic year, and that further disruption may occur on a localised basis, which may affect teaching and learning and the delivery of assessments.

To enable awarding organisations to assist with mitigating the impact of disruption to teaching, learning and assessment, and any ongoing disruption of restrictions on the delivery of assessments, through the adaptation of assessments within qualifications Ofqual have published their consultation decisions to set out the expected arrangements in the academic year 2020 to 2021. Ofqual's publications on the arrangements can be accessed here: VTQ Assessment Arrangements.

Planning Ahead for 2020-21

Our approach to mitigate Covid-related risks in the 2020/2021 academic year builds on the arrangements we put in place during the Summer Awarding Process and is intended to support customers and learners whilst maintaining the standards set by the regulatory bodies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

We are currently finalising our arrangements for the year, in consultation with colleagues and customers across the sector. We aim to release our updated guidance documentation - "Exceptional Arrangements for Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQ's) Assessment 2020/21" to customers by the 30/10/2020.

While we are considering the ways in which our assessment and awarding processes may be adapted to address the challenges posed by the pandemic restrictions, we would like to draw our customers attention to the decisions made by the regulator, Ofqual. There will be no mitigation type or provision made for calculation. Mitigations will only be accepted for adaptations otherwise assessments will need to be delayed.

We are conscious that customers are already working with learners and may need advice and guidance therefore we remain committed to working together with you to provide information to support you and to mitigate the impact Covid-19 pandemic may have on vocational and technical assessments and awarding working under the Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework.

 

Updated: 5 October 2020

Introduction

We are currently experiencing an unprecedented situation in the UK and we appreciate that for our customers these will be challenging times where information and support is important to you. We have implemented detailed contingency plans to ensure that you, as one of our valued customers, experience no change in the outstanding quality service you receive from us across all our departments and functions.

We have invested significantly in our digital capacity and capability over the last twelve months and this is enabling us to seamlessly transition into a work from home model as recommended by the UK Government ensuring that we continue to deliver all of our services to you.

We have heeded the UK Government advice to reduce travel where at all possible but if you have a visit planned from one of our team delivering EAL quality assurance or End-Point Assessment services then we will discuss with you an alternative mode of engagement which can include voice or video calls. This might include, where appropriate, conducting external quality assurance visits remotely and conducting End-Point Assessment through our digital capability.

Our aim is that no learner will be disadvantaged during these testing and challenging times and we are working with stakeholders and regulators to ensure that we can deliver on that promise. If you have learners that are continuing to learn remotely then our award-winning Engineering Talent platform provides an outstanding resource for you with material validated by our subject matter experts. Our Customer Experience Team are on hand to support you should you need any help in accessing Engineering Talent or wish to have a remote demo.

As mentioned, you should notice no difference in our service to you, we are simply delivering it in a different way. The familiar faces and voices that you work with will not change and all contact information whether email or telephone remains the same, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or queries that need answering or resolving. The Enginuity Group aims to provide you with the support you need, and you will find additional information below to support you in regard to the respective services that you engage with.

Engage Platform 

The Enginuity Group has worked together with world-leading partners and industry network experts to launch a unique platform which delivers digital engineering skills in one place to Britain’s engineers and manufacturers at a time when they are needed more than ever. 

‘Engage’ is the first learning hub to specifically target the engineering and manufacturing sectors, offering a range of courses from easy first digital engineering steps to more sophisticated technologies and innovation. Development of the platform has been accelerated to support workers at a time when many may have found themselves furloughed. Helping engineers, technicians and wider manufacturing employees to learn and explore digital processes will also help support a much needed post-COVID 19 productivity boost by enabling them to learn the latest digital techniques. Returning employees will be up-skilled and more agile as a workforce, and better able to adapt and respond to the pace of global technological innovation to help their companies recover at speed.

Some of the country’s most cutting-edge companies, centres of innovation and organisations have made content available for the first time for the platform’s launch, including the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Excellence, Achievement and Learning, Make UK and FutureLearn. In the coming weeks, more content will be added from Formula 1 and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Engage is easy to navigate and offers support to learners at all levels. First-time digital engineering learners can use a simple chatbot-style interface, which guides them to their specific areas of interest to create a bespoke learning experience. The platform has worked closely with Made Smarter to develop and curate two introductory courses on digital technology and its role in manufacturing and engineering, with content from Made Smarter industry partners, including Rolls-Royce. Key technologies covered in the courses include data analytics, the Industrial Internet of Things, Cybersecurity resilience, industrial and autonomous robotics and additive manufacturing. Those logging on will also be able to become familiar with virtual augmented reality as well as artificial intelligence and its applications alongside machine learning, and throughout the learning experience, users’ understanding will be supplemented by a quick quiz to test learners’ grasp of the subject.

More advanced learners are also supported by Engage. Beyond introductory materials, learners can continue their digital journey by enrolling in the Engage Academy on the platform to access some more free formal courses in the online classroom space.

Skills Miner Game – introducing a new way to teach and learn Engineering

We are committed to supporting employers, staff, learners and although the doors of businesses, colleges and training providers may be closed, we remain focused on finding solutions to support you and to help unlock the potential of learners.

Launched recently, the game allows thousands of people in lockdown to have fun, keep learning and find out if they’ve got what it takes to transition from the virtual to the real world of engineering. (You might even consider using it as a recruitment tool for your next intake as a form of skills assessment!)

Skills Miner is mapped to the Level 3 Engineering Technician Apprenticeship Standard and players get feedback on their engineering skills and thinking. Which makes it particularly suitable for keeping your current Engineering Technician apprentices engaged. Specifically designed to uncover hidden engineering skills, we have released Skills Miner, a set of custom levels inside Minecraft. The game is going to open the eyes of the next generation to the endless engineering career possibilities that suit their skillset. The game has been designed to unlock the hidden skills of young engineers through solving puzzles and problems in an electric vehicle plant.  Learners can play today and discover the limitless career pathways that engineering could open for them. #EngineerYourFuture #ElectrifyYourGameplay #Minecraft #SkillsMiner skills-miner.com.

EAL arrangements for awarding qualifications this Summer

EAL is following the guidance issued by Ofqual, CCEA, Qualifications Wales, SQA Accreditation and will update our customers as arrangements and guidance changes. The most recent changes and guidance are outlined below. 

Regulators Consultation Outcome

The regulators have published the outcome of the consultation on the Awarding of Vocational Qualifications this summer. Ofqual has confirmed that either calculate, adapt or delay will be applied to each qualification.  This model will apply to those learners who were due to complete their qualification from the 20th March to the 31st July but are unable to do so, due to the impact of COVID-19. Ofqual has also launched an interactive tool, to help navigate the approach for Vocational Qualifications this summer.  The tool allows users to search for a specific regulated qualification to find out how results will be generated for the majority of learners. 

  • Ofqual consultation published here
  • Ofqual guidance published for all qualifications to be awarded and graded in Summer 2020 -Awarding Summer 2020
  • Ofqual guidance for centres – the awarding of vocational and technical qualifications, and other general qualifications in Summer 2020 here
  • Ofqual’s interactive toolhereto outline to learners what is happening with qualifications this Summer
  • SQA Accreditation Advice on Accredited Qualifications and relevant guidance here
  • Qualifications Wales information and support here
  • CCEA Summer Awarding here 

Summer Awarding Guidance for Centres

The exceptional arrangements for awarding qualifications which fall into one of the following categories have now been agreed and a list of these qualifications is available at the link below for centres:

  1. qualifications where the primary focus is progression to HE/FE
  2. qualifications where there is a dual-mixed purpose (progression to FE, HE or employment)
  3. qualifications where their primary use is licence to practice or occupational competency

We can confirm that all qualifications which fall into category 1, as per the above description, will be assessed through estimation/calculation. For qualifications that fall within category 2, these will be assessed through either calculation or adaption.  The method that is chosen will be the responsibility of the centre to ensure that the most appropriate evidence is available as outlined in the guidance issued by EAL for each method. If both of these methods are not appropriate, then assessments will need to be delayed. For qualifications that fall within category 3 we have identified that the assessments within these qualifications may be adapted, if this method is not appropriate then assessments will be delayed/rescheduled.  For all types of qualifications, we are aiming to avoid delaying/rescheduling assessments, although this may not always be possible.  However, learners who do not feel that their result reflects their ability will be afforded an opportunity to complete an assessment at the earliest available opportunity.

EAL have communicated with centres about the arrangements of the awarding of vocational qualifications this summer.  This includes publishing guidance and documentation to support the calculation and adaption of grades process for any claims to be made in relation to the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF).  Please use the links below to access the current guidance and documentation, all of which will be updated as and when required.  All guidance can also be accessed via the document library in Smarter Touch. 

The forms to be completed that are mentioned within the relevant guidance documents have been issued to centres and can also be accessed via the document library in Smarter Touch.  Should you need any support in completing your centre’s application for centre assessment grading, please use the following contacts:

The forms to be completed that are mentioned within the relevant guidance documents have been issued to centres and can also be accessed via the document library in Smarter Touch.  Should you need any support in completing your centre’s application for centre assessment grading, please use the following contacts:

Please note this reminder of key dates for VTQ exceptional arrangements: EAL's arrangements for issuing results for vocational qualifications are not normally completed within assessment windows, therefore, we expect the final date for centres to have evidence available for their EQA to be the 30th June. This will allow time to arrange a suitable date for quality assurance of that evidence in advance of the final publication of results on the 20th August 2020.

 Dates

 Description

 29th May  Cut-off date for submitting certification information to EAL
 1st June  Anticipated publication of consultation outcomes
 1st June  Start date for submission to EAL of application for calculation of a result or adapted assessment methods from the Centres
30th June Cut-off date for submission to EAL of application for calculation of a result or adapted assessment methods from the Centres including relevant evidence
20th August Final day for issuing results for calculations or adaptions

Reminder for Functional Skills exceptional arrangements - EAL will be issuing results on a specific date. Centre assessment grades should be submitted by 30th June 2020, and EAL will issue the results by 7th August 2020.
Results can only be issued where the Head of Centre declaration has been completed correctly, after the quality assurance process has been completed by the centre and must not, under any circumstances, share the centre assessment grades of learners with learners, or their parents/carers or any other individuals outside the centre, before results have been issued by EAL.

Workplace Core Skills guidance

SQA Accreditation have been reviewing the Guide to Assessing Workplace Core Skills to determine whether there is a need to provide adaptation to the assessment methods. Having reviewed the guidance, they are of the view that there is no need to modify the assessment and, therefore, these qualifications can continue to be assessed.

From page 13 onwards, the guide sets out how to plan for assessment and then describes in detail different approaches to assessment. A range of different assessment methods are set out including direct observation, witness testimony, etc. We are drawing this information to your attention and further information is published here for centres.

Frequently Asked Questions 

General 

1. Is EAL still operating normal business services?

Yes, significant investment has been made 12 months ago in our technology and infrastructure and we have been able to transition all of our workforce into home working during this period and therefore we are still able to operate and deliver our services using technology.  We’re following government advice closely and will be acting in accordance with it.

2. What measures is EAL taking to deal with the outbreak?

We have been building and adapting our contingency plans for a number of weeks and are continuing to provide advice and guidance to all customers during this period of uncertainty.  We may make some temporary changes to some of the ways we work together however we will keep you informed of these changes. We are also in daily contact with all stakeholders and regulators to gain agreement to have temporary dispensations around assessment delivery.

3. How can EAL help centres to support their learners with their ongoing learning? 

If you have learners learning remotely then our award-winning Engineering Talent platform -https://www.engineeringtalent.org.uk/ provides an outstanding resource for you with learning materials validated by our subject matter experts.  Our Customer Experience Team are on hand to support you should you need any help in accessing Engineering Talent or wish to have a remote demo. They can be contacted on customer.experience@eal.org.uk or +44 (0)1923 652400.

4. Should I notify EAL if my centre is closing?

Yes, you should notify EAL if your centre is temporarily closing, please contact our Customer Experience team in writing at customer.experience@eal.org.uk with the following:

  • Confirm your decision to close your centre including the date of closure.

  • Confirm details of booked assessments, time and venues for suspension of booking.

  • When appropriate, inform EAL of your continuation of assessments.

You should also inform us if the Centre contact details are different from the ones stored within Smarter Touch or alternatively you can update these on your centre profile in https://www.ealsmartertouch.com/

5. How will invoicing be managed?

Invoices will still be generated in the same manner and emailed to your nominated contact in Smarter Touch. e-Invoices are also available to download via your Centre Coordinators Online Services account. 

EAL Centres – Regulated Qualifications Questions

1. Will my EQA still support our direct claims status lapsing or certification?

Our External Quality Assurance (EQA) team will still be supporting centres as planned, however, face to face visits have been postponed until further notice based on government advice. Each centre will be risk-assessed to determine the requirement for EQA remote sampling. The EQA Team are using the technology available to them to conduct visits remotely.  Where a centre does not have direct claim status and learners are ready to claim their certificates your EQA will discuss with you to determine if the claims can be validated remotely or whether a visit to site will be needed once government restrictions have been removed.  We will, at all times, consider the impact on learners when making our decision.   

2. Are online examinations still running?  Will there be any disruption?

The majority of EAL examinations are on-demand and not timetabled. As a result, our customers will still be able to schedule and run examinations for learners as normal. You may wish to reschedule your examinations to fit in with your own delivery arrangements and we will consider and remain as flexible as possible. In addition, EAL’s examination system does permit sittings to be undertaken in various settings in line with our ‘Instructions for Conducting Examinations within EAL Qualifications’.  

3. Can online examination be taken at alternative location?

Yes – this is still possible. Where a centre conducts online external assessments they are responsible for ensuring that the awarding organisation requirements are met for downloading software and examination materials. You must also ensure that all technical requirements have been met. Some technical requirements will need to be met in advance of the examination.

4. Will EAL be extending the certification end date for Functional Skills qualifications?

The certification end date for legacy qualifications was set for 31 August 2020.  Ofqual has now extended the certification end date for legacy functional skills qualifications to 31 December 2020.  EAL has notified the regulator that we will extend certification to 31 December 2020 to support learners who are currently registered on these qualifications (but not yet certificated) ensuring they have an opportunity to complete them.  The government policy is for learners due to take FSQ assessments before the end of the summer, receive a calculated result rather than an adapted or postponed assessment therefore we will be writing to all our centres delivering FSQs shortly.  There may be some circumstances where it may not be possible to calculate results therefore, we will work with customers to provide appropriate advice and guidance.

5. Will EAL be offering paper-based exams?

No, we have decided that paper-based exams will not be issued until further notice following government advice on social distancing and staying at home that means learners are unable to attend in person at the training centre. Centres have the facility to undertake functional skills exams online via our examination platform. Centres should contact our Exams Team at exams@eal.org.uk for further advice and guidance on transferring to use online exams. 

6. I don’t have access to register learners, certificate or schedule exams, what do I do?

Contact our Customer Experience team in the first instance for direct support at customer.experience@eal.org.ukor +44 (0)1923 652400. They will help with registering learners and direct your enquiry where appropriate to schedule exams. 

7. My learner has been impacted and is at a disadvantage due to the outbreak. Can any consideration for this be made? 

Centres should consider the option for submitting a request for a special consideration for the learner, please refer to our ‘Special Consideration’ policy. Please add as much detail as possible and ensure supporting evidence is provided.

8. Can I still apply for reasonable adjustments?

Yes, Centres should apply for a reasonable adjustment as normal via our Smarter Touch system and in line with our Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration policy. 

9. Can Centres use witness testimonies to support a learner’s practical competence?

Suitable methods of assessment should be used when assessing learners. Expert witness testimonies can be used to support competence-based outcomes.

10. Can I still register and certificate my learners on EAL’s online services?

Yes, EAL’s online services are not affected in any way so you can continue to register and certificate your learners as normal.

11. Are EAL still able to despatch learner certificates?

We have recently been reviewing the current situation with regard to the temporary suspension of printing and despatching our hard copy certificates and assessment material (publications). After careful consideration, and on the understanding that a lot of our Centres are now back in their premises, we are delighted to confirm that we will be looking to resume all certificate and publications printing from Wednesday 7th October 2020.

We will be prioritising the printing of certificates in date order and will aim to clear the backlog as soon as possible, but please note it may be a few weeks until you receive your certificates. Please note you can continue to download PDF copies of your learner’s certificates from your Online Services account.

Please ensure that if you are ordering printed assessment material there will be personnel available at your Centre to take receipt of these deliveries. Please be advised that we will raise an invoice for any additional courier or warehouse charges that EAL may incur as a result of any printed assessment material that we are unable to deliver that has to be returned into our warehouse.

You may experience printing and delivery delays beyond our control if there are any national or local rules or restrictions that may affect these services. We will continue to review the situation and operate in line with Government guidelines and will keep you updated on any changes via our website.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all customers for your continued patience during this time. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly Customer Experience Team: Customer.Experience@eal.org.uk or 01923 652400. 

12. Can we get learner certificates sent to centre staff home addresses instead?

No, unfortunately not due to data protection restrictions. In addition, EAL, does not hold personal contact details of centre staff and learners, nor have their permission to contact learners directly.

13. What happens if I am an overseas EAL Centre?

Our team will continue to work with and support all International Centres and Partners. Although business travel has been suspended, we will use video conferencing and technology to maintain dialogue.

14. Can I still get a replacement certificate/candidate record search? 

Yes.  You can contact our Customer Experience Team (customer.experience@eal.org.uk) who will be able to help.  Our team can process most record searches but only validate certificates at this time.  You can contact your training provider/college who will be able to provide you with an e-certificate.

15. Will ‘Online Proctoring Software’ be made available for onscreen examinations?

EAL are currently exploring this as an option to support centres. Until further information is provided, please note that onscreen/paper-based examinations will need to be invigilated in person in accordance with EAL’s EAF1 - Instructions for Conducting Examinations within EAL Qualifications

16. Can onscreen examinations be invigilated and administered by the learner’s employers?

Yes, however, certain control measures will need to be put in place to ensure the validity of the examination. Centres will be expected to provide an appropriate level of training to the employer and to document that the training has occurred. Guidance and training materials will be available in Smarter Touch shortly - External Assessment Contingency Guidance and Examination Invigilation Guidance.

17. Which qualifications/assessments are affected by COVID-19 disruption mitigations?

Vocational Technical Qualifications (VTQ) and Functional Skills Qualifications which have learners who expect/require assessment results between 20th March and 31st July 2020 who would be disadvantaged if they did not receive their assessment results fall under the scope of the mitigating actions. VTQ’s include the following qualifications Types - Vocational knowledge-based qualifications, NVQ/competency-based qualifications, Occupational qualifications.

18. Can multiple mitigations be used for different learners within the same qualifications?

Yes, different mitigations can be used for different learners within the same qualifications. The most appropriate mitigation must be selected and used in line with the guidance released by EAL to ensure suitable evidence is available for a result to be issued.

Summer Awarding Process – Centre Assessment Grading Questions

1.  Can multiple mitigations be used for different learners within the same qualifications?

Yes, different mitigations can be used for different learners within the same qualifications. The most appropriate mitigation must be selected and used in line with the guidance released by EAL to ensure suitable evidence is available for a result to be allocated. The evidence that is submitted for each learner may be different therefore this must be considered by the centre.

2.  Can learners sit a practice exam to be submitted as evidence for the centre assessment grading for Functional Skills?

Yes.  EAL will accept practice exam evidence as part of a centre’s submission for those learners who are included in the period of 20th March to 31st July.

3. Do we need to submit evidence for learners deemed to have failed?

You do not need to submit evidence for learners who have failed but we must remind centres that learners who have failed as a part of the summer awarding process must be accounted for within your submission.  Therefore, you will need to specify ‘no evidence available’ when you submit your application. 

4.  Can a centre submit Functional Skills assessment grades without supportive evidence?

No. Centre Assessment Grades must not be submitted for any learner where there is no valid evidence available on which to base the judgement.

It is expected that for a range of reasons related to the current situation, some centres may not be able to participate in the Calculated Assessment Grade process. These may include for example:

  • Centres with furloughed staff
  • Centres who are operating at the limits of their capacity such as, for example, those whose services are connected with critical working during the COVID-19 crisis.

In such cases, every effort will be made to minimise disadvantage but delaying assessment may be unavoidable.

5. Can you please confirm the date that the Functional Skills Calculated Assessment Grades need to be submitted to EAL?

Centre assessment grades should be submitted by 30th June 2020, and results will be issued by 7th August 2020.

6. Can diagnostic assessments be submitted as valid evidence to support Calculated Assessment Grades?

Yes.  Diagnostic assessments can be used to support other valid pieces of evidence but cannot be the only source of evidence.  

End-Point Assessment (EPA) Questions

1. Are EAL still delivering EPA services?

Yes, we remain operational, all of our workforce is home working during this period and therefore we are still able to operate and deliver our services using technology. Although EAL has currently postponed all face to face EPA visits based on government advice, we have agreements in place with our External Quality Assurance (EQA) Providers / IfATE which has allowed many flexibilities to be put in place so EPAs can still go ahead.

2. Can I still register my apprentice for EPA?

Yes, registrations can continue to be made on all standards.

3. Can I still progress my apprentice to the Gateway stage?

Yes, EAL will continue to process gateway activity in line with current standard processes. We will continue to accept digital signatures on gateway declaration forms.

4. What is EAL’s position on remote assessment?

Working with the External Quality Assurance Providers, EAL have gained approval to deliver VIVA interviews and Professional Discussions remotely and these will be recorded events in agreement with the Employer, Training Providers and Apprentices.  Where EAL have agreed a change to the assessment method with the EQA provider, this will only be temporary and will not set a precedent for delivering EPA assessments.  We will discuss alternative assessment methods with you prior to delivery to ensure they will be delivered securely and provide valid outcomes. 

5. Where a workplace observation is required as part of the EPA can this now be conducted remotely?

Where a face to face observation cannot be delivered, as set out in the assessment plan, we continue to work with our EQA Providers to gain approval for observations to be completed remotely or alternatively we may need to reschedule the observation.

6. I am an employer and the training provider has closed due to the outbreak, will the apprentice’s assessment still take place?

EAL have worked closely with the EQA Providers to gain approval to adapt our delivery methodology where appropriate. Whilst we have postponed all face to face EPA visits based on government advice, we are using technology to enable remote assessment to take place where we have approval to do so. You should talk to your Training Provider where possible or you can contact us at epaservices@eal.org.uk.

7. Can EAL still complete EPA for a furloughed worker where this apprentice is still being supported on their apprenticeship and a valid assessment can take place?

The Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IfATE) has introduced guidance on the delivery of assessment, including guidance on furloughed employees continuing apprenticeship training, specifically this confirms flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to take their end-point assessment. Guidance. Further guidance can be provided by contacting us at epaservices@eal.org.uk

8. Can a pause in learning be taken during the EPA?

A pause in learning can be taken at any point post gateway, including between end point assessment methods for 12 weeks.  Where there is a specified time limit for EPA post gateway, a further pause of 12 weeks is allowable. 

9. My apprentice needs a copy of their qualification certificate confirming they have completed the mandatory qualifications to go through Gateway but I am not able to obtain the certificate from the awarding body?

We understand that awarding bodies cannot currently issue certificates therefore as a temporary measure we are supporting providers and employers by accepting a confirmation email from the awarding body as evidence of achievement. Please also refer to the response to question 12.  To ensure authentication, emails submitted to our EPA team must contain the following information:

  • learner details
  • certification run date
  • unique number

10.  Components of the Apprenticeship Standards that apprentices are required to complete contain an Exam or a practical observation as part of the assessed outcomes.  Can EAL deliver these under the current circumstances?

We are currently looking into the feasibility of delivering both, in conjunction with our quality assurance and exams teams considering the flexibilities to be able to conduct remote exams, invigilation and practical observations. We are continuing to liaise with the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education as well as our External Quality Assurance Bodies.  

11.  Which Standards offered by EAL have been given approval for flexibilities to assessments?

We currently have approval from the relevant Apprenticeship External Quality Assurance body to deliver temporary discretions or other flexibilities against 13 standards and continue to work to enable these end-point assessments to take place as planned.   

Further information on the agreed flexibilities can be provided by contactingepaservices@eal.org.uk

Standard

Level 2 Engineering Operative – ST0537

Level 2 Rail Engineering Operative - ST0317

Level 2 Rail Infrastructure Operator - ST0419

Level 3 Metrology Technician – ST0282

Level 3 Engineering Technician - ST0457

Level 3 Rail Engineering Technician - ST0318

Level 3 Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician -ST0154

Level 3 Motor Vehicle Service & Maintenance Technician – ST0033

Level 4 Associate Project Manager – ST0310

Level 6 Electronic/Electrical Tech Support Engineer – ST0024

Level 6 Control/Technical Support Engineer – ST0023

Level 6 Manufacturing Engineer – ST0025

Level 6 Product Design & Development – ST0027

12.  Do I need to demonstrate that the apprentice has achieved their Functional Skills for gateway?

With immediate effect “as of May 22nd” and during the Covid-19 crisis EAL are permitting the re-sequencing of the EPA process to enable gateway to be passed and EPA to be taken before the FSQ calculated result is received. This will apply to:

This change to the EPA process will only be applied to qualifying apprentices during the Covid-19 crisis. This measure will ensure that apprentices can continue with their apprenticeship and sit their EPA where possible. Please note Apprentices will not be able to achieve their apprenticeship until after the FSQ pass is received by EAL, therefore, the apprenticeship certificate will not be issued until that time.  Please also find the guidance issued by the Institute for Apprenticeships here.

Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education

The Institute is committed to supporting the apprenticeship sector to deal with the significant challenge Covid-19 presents. IfATE’s full guidance applying to all apprenticeships is available below. If you are looking for help on a specific apprenticeship, then the Institute have just published a list of additional flexibilities.

https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/covid-19-information-regarding-apprenticeships/

 
 
 
 
 

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