27 September 2021
Welcome to the 2021/22 Academic Year
Goodbye Certa Access – Hello Skills and Education Group Access
You will know that, since Certa Access joined the Skills and Education Group in 2017, we have been working towards a transition into the Group branding, with a plan to change the company name to Skills and Education Group Access from September 2021. This brand change has now taken place and you should update your websites and publications accordingly.
New logos and branding guidance were sent out to Heads of Centres on 26 August. If you do not have access to these materials, you can download them here.
Contacting the Team
We have also changed our email addresses to reflect the brand change. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, if you contact us via this email address, one of the team will be able to respond to your enquiry quickly.
The Extraordinary Regulatory Framework 2021/22
The QAA is planning for another year of the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF). There is an expectation that the continuation of Adaptations and requests for Extenuation will support students through any periods of continued restrictions due to the Covid -19 pandemic. You find the latest QAA guidance for Providers and students on our COVID-19 page here.
Skills and Education Group Access will develop AVA guidance and invite you to training sessions and events so that you can be fully prepared to meet the regulatory schedule during the year. QAA is also planning tutor and student forums and we will let you know when these are scheduled.
A New Platform - Creatio
We have invested in a new platform and will be moving from Quartz to Creatio from September 2021. We know that some of you are already familiar with Creatio, so this change will create minimal disruption for you.
We will be delivering an online training event to show exams departments how to register students via our new system. This will also include training on adding staff to the system and allocating their roles.
There are two opportunities to complete the training:
- 4 October 2021, 10:00
- 6 October 2021, 10:00
The event will be recorded so that staff who are unable to attend either event can view it, however at least one member of staff from each provider must attend at least one live event. If this is not possible, please contact us as soon as possible. We hope that the new system will be more efficient and useful to you and look forward to introducing you to this system. If you have any students who started their course before 1 September 2021, please contact us regarding these registrations (if you have not already done so).
Registration of Students 2021/22
Please remember that it is a QAA requirement that all students are registered within 42 days of the commencement of their course and subsequently registered to their chosen units within 84 days of the start date of their course. We monitor start and registration dates closely to ensure that we can reassure QAA that all of our provision meets this requirement. If you are likely to experience an issue with meeting these deadlines, do contact the Access to HE team so that we can support you. This may help avoid Late Fees.
New Diplomas for 2021/22
We are delighted to have four new Access to HE Diplomas available this academic year. These Diplomas have been designed to meet regional needs and enable students to progress to university courses.
If you would be interested in running any additional Diplomas, please contact the team.
We also have a range of ‘Pre-Access’ qualifications, available through Skills and Education Group Awards. These qualifications are a perfect introduction for learners that may not be ready for a Level 3 Access to HE Diploma. More details of our pre-Access offer can be found here.
Modification of Units
We have had several requests over the summer term for modifications to units, which were presented to a validation panel on 20 August 2021. Diploma and unit specifications have been updated in OneDrive - please ensure that you are using the correct version. Your External Moderator will check these details with you at the first visit of the academic year.
External Moderator Allocation 2021/22
You will know that we allocate External Moderators on an annual basis and that a Moderator can remain allocated to a Centre for up to four years normally. In order for us to make final arrangements for allocation of your external moderators for 2021/22, we would appreciate it if you could complete the curriculum plan that the team will be sending out to you as a Zoho link. This will help us set up your Diploma courses on our new Creatio system for you so that when it comes time for you to register your students, the platform is all ready for you. Once we have your responses in, we will be able to confirm your Moderator and, where appropriate, an allocated Centre Moderator.
Thank you to those of you who have responded to our call for writing exemplar assessments for units in some of our Diplomas. These will become available for general use or adaptation to your own purposes. We would welcome further expressions of interest to expand our bank of exemplar assessments for sharing with colleagues across our colleges. Do let us know if you would be interested.
Professional Development Events – Autumn 2021
The Skills and Education Group offer a wide range of professional development events, which we would encourage you to consider. If your organisation is a member of the Skills and Education Group, you may be eligible for a number of free places at events.
If you would like to discuss becoming a member of the Group, do contact the Relationship Managers, who will be happy to help.
Access to HE Free CPD and TeachMeet Events
We will also be holding various free-of-charge CPD events in response to your requests, External Moderator visit reports, and QAA regulation. The first events in this series will take place as follows:
Introduction to the Access to HE Diploma Grading Scheme -
Wednesday 13 October, 15:30 - 16:50 (for those new to grading Access to HE)
Preparing for External Moderation - Wednesday 10 November, 15:30 - 16:50
Christmas TeachMeet: Sharing Good Practice in Using Technology - Wednesday 8 December, 15:30 - 16:50.
AVA Drop-In Clinics
We will be resuming our Drop-In Clinics this term. The dates for the first few Clinics are as follows:
- Wednesday 29 September, 16:10 - 16:55
- Wednesday October 20, 16:10 - 16:55
- Wednesday November 24, 16:10 - 16:55
Further dates for the Drop-In Clinics will be added to future bulletins.
Bespoke CPD Events
Bespoke CPD events for Access to HE Diploma tutors, managers and exams staff can be arranged, based on your individual needs, outcomes of External Moderator recommendations, or as an outcome of changes within your organisation. We hope to be able to offer both online training and face-to-face visits this year. We will also be providing ‘how to’ videos this year. We would be pleased to hear from you if you have suggestions for specific ‘how to’ videos on any topics related to Access to HE.
If you would like to learn more, please do get in touch.
We will shortly be sending annual Quality Summary Reports to all Access to HE Providers. These reports gather together all areas of good practice, recommendations and required actions from all Diplomas across the last academic year. This year, we will also be including a summary of wrap-around Portal and certification issues by Diploma so that we can then support teams and colleges through training and guidance for a successful 2021/22 registration and certification period.
Over the coming weeks, we will also be making our usual contact with senior management within Centres to arrange a courtesy quality and curriculum planning meeting.
Become an External Moderator!
We are looking for curriculum specialists to join our team of External Moderators. If you are interested in becoming an External Moderator, please contact us. You can also find out more on the Skills and Education Group website.