8 December 2021
Welcome from our Head of Access to HE
Welcome to our December bulletin. We hope you have enjoyed a return to the physical classroom this term and hope that this continues as we enter the Christmas and winter period. We have had one or two visits to Centres in recent weeks, which has been a real treat, and we plan to get out to visit all of our Centres in the coming weeks through External Moderation activity.
We know that you will all be working to pre-Christmas deadlines so that you can have a well-earned break over the festive period. Thank you for your hard work on behalf of our Access to HE students and a happy Christmas to you when it comes.
Head of Access to HE
Christmas/New Year Opening Hours
Our offices will be closed for the festive period between Friday 17 December and Tuesday 4 January.
Please see below the relevant opening and closing times.
Friday 17 December - Office closes at 16:30
Tuesday 4 January - Office opens at 09:00
Thursday 6 January - Office closed for staff training
Friday 7 January - Office opens at 09:00
Welcome to our new member of staff, Barbara Oglaza
Barbara Oglaza has recently joined the team as an Access to HE Officer. Barbara has a lot of experience working for colleges and training providers and will be focusing primarily on quality. We are sure you will join us in giving Barbara a warm welcome.
Skills and Education Group Access Logo
A new Skills and Education Group Access Recognised Centre logo was sent out to Access Centres in August, along with a document providing guidance for its use. Remember that you need to use these materials to update your websites and publications, and should remove any old references to Certa Access. You can download these resources here.
Contacting the Access Team
To contact us via email, please use the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, if you email us at this address, one of the team will be able to respond to your enquiry at the earliest possibility.
There has also been a change to the Skills and Education Group telephone system. The main contact number is 0115 854 1620 and is used for BIIAB and Skills and Education Group Awards, along with Skills and Education Group Access. Customers ringing this number will be given the following options:
Press 1 for BIIAB
Press 2 for Skills and Education Group Awards
Press 3 for Skills and Education Group Access
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 can find the current QAA guidance for Providers and Students. We also have a provider flexibilities document that has been shared with all Centres and can be found here. These materials can also be accessed via the COVID-19 Hub on our website.
Skills and Education Group Access will develop AVA guidance and invite you to events providing training and updates so that you can be fully prepared to meet the regulatory schedule during the year. QAA has also run tutor and student forums and there is a chance to review the notes from these events if you did not get chance to attend. Please get in touch if you would like copies of the notes and slides from these forums.
The AVA team has been contacting tutor and quality teams to gain feedback about your curriculum team’s experience of implementation of the ERF this year. During the calls, we are providing support and guidance on Adaptations where required so that you can maintain an up-to-date and approved Adaptations log. Do also remember you can attend our monthly AVA Clinics if you have any questions regarding Adaptations, the ERF, or Access to HE in general.
A new Platform – CMS (Creatio)
Thank you to all of you who attended the recent training events for CMS (Creatio). We hope that you found it beneficial. Those of you who requested Superuser access should now have received an email confirming your login information and have begun to register your students. If you have not yet received this or require additional guidance, please do get in touch.
The AVA team have been making contact with exams staff to gather feedback on your early Creatio experience. We are still keen to hear your feedback on this, and you can provide it by completing this short survey.
Registration of Students 2021/22
Please remember that it is a QAA requirement that all students are registered within 42 days of 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 assure 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.
Please note an important change to our registration process in light of data feedback from QAA: If a student commences one-year study but is unable to complete within the year and intends to return the following year to complete, you must discuss this with us within the first year. Once the one-year enrolment period expires for that student, they will need to be re-registered on their return to the course. This will enable us to report more accurate student data in our QAA submissions.
UCAS Tariff Consultation Findings
You may be aware that in July 2021, UCAS launched a consultation related to the proposals about the information they make available about qualifications and their use in the progression for students going into Higher Education (HE). The consultation included the current tariff and qualification profiles. The outcome of the consultation has resulted in a decision for Access to HE Diplomas to remain within the tariff. Full details of the outcomes of the consultation can be found here.
Preparing for UCAS applications
With the UCAS undergraduate application deadline approaching (26 January 2022), you will be helping your students prepare their applications. You may find our 100 Do's and Don'ts and guidance on writing personal statements useful. These can also be found in the UCAS folder of OneDrive.
UCAS Results day – confirmed as Thursday 18 August 2022. Find out more information here.
Skills and Education Group Foundation
Did you know that Centres who are also members of the Skills and Education Group can apply for grants for your students? For more information on this, click here. If you are not already a member and would be interested in this, please click here for more details.
New Diplomas for 2021/22
We are delighted to have four new Access to HE Diplomas available this academic year, all of which have been designed to meet regional needs and enable students to progress to university courses. They include Clothing and Textiles Manufacturing, Early Years, Medicine and - coming soon - Land-Based – Animal Management.
If you would be interested in running any additional Diplomas, please complete the Request to Run form and return to email@example.com
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. To find out more about our Pre-Access qualifications, contact the Skills and Education Group Awards team.
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. For the list of unit modifications that took place in the Summer, please click here.
All revised Diploma specifications and their units have been added to OneDrive. Any new or modified units will have an ID of QU00**** as they have been created in the new system.
Due to these changes, the OneDrive links have changed. Should you require a new link, please email us to request these, indicating which Diplomas are required.
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. Now that we have most student registrations in, we will be confirming your moderator allocation with your quality contact and, where appropriate, your allocated Centre Moderator. A Centre Moderator is allocated where a Centre has multiple sites and/or Diplomas.
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 – Spring 2022
The Skills and Education Group offer a wide range of professional development events, which we would encourage you to consider. If your organisation is also a member of the Skills and Education Group, you may be eligible for free spaces included within your membership. Fees for each of the events will be included within the detail of the event.
If you would like to discuss becoming a member, please contact the Skills and Education Group's Membership Team.
Future Access to HE Training Events for your Calendar
12 January: Assessment and Delivery Planning and Tracking
w/c 17 January: Adapted unit data meetings
w/c 14 February: Adapted unit data meetings
w/c 7 March: Compulsory standardisation event
w/c 14 March: Adapted unit data meetings
6 April: Preparing for your final moderation visit and Awards Boards including data analysis
11 May: Preparing for your final moderation visit and Awards Boards including data analysis
w/c 30 May: Adapted unit data standardisation
8 June: So you want to be an External Moderator?
AVA Clinics Dates
Bespoke CPD Events
In addition to the Group’s extensive professional development offer, 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 a mix of online training with a return to face-to-face visits. We will also be introducing some ‘how to’ videos this year. We would be pleased to hear from you if you have suggestions for specific ‘how to’ videos.
If you would like to learn more, please do contact the team.
We will shortly be sending annual Quality Summary Reports to all Access to HE Providers. These reports gather 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.
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.