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June Access to HE Bulletin

13 June 2022

Creatio Support – Introducing Luke Jennings

Hi there,


My name is Luke Jennings. I have been working with Skills and Education Group for seven months now and some of you may recognise my name from my work with the Awards team. I have recently taken on a new role to support the Access to HE team with Creatio.


I will be available for Creatio support Monday to Friday within the hours of 9:30am to 12pm in order to help answer any queries you may have regarding this system. Should you need further support after this time, the rest of the Access team will be available to help.


My contact details are listed below:

0192 443 4612


I look forward to working closely with you all!


Final Awards Boards

Please be advised that Final Awards Boards templates went out via email to the Quality and Curriculum Teams.


The Final Awards Boards documentation has been saved in the OneDrive folder, titled ‘Final Awards Board’. Please do not hesitate to contact the Access to HE Team if you have any problems opening the OneDrive link.


Please note that FINAL AWARDS POPULATED MINUTES need to be available at least 48hrs before the FAB date.


Deferring Students

If you have any students who you will not be able to claim by the date of the Final Awards Board (FAB), please follow the procedure below.


Students who you expect to complete after the FAB but before 1 September 2022.


We presume that this will be due to extenuating circumstances, therefore please complete the extenuating circumstances form (in OneDrive) and submit this as soon as possible, and certainly at least two weeks before the FAB. If deferral is not due to extenuating circumstances, it is unlikely that this will be approved and therefore the award for these students will need to be claimed during your next FAB in the academic year 2022-23.


It is important to note that students who complete after the FAB are unlikely to be included in the UCAS upload, therefore they will need to contact their HEIs to warn them of this and seek relevant advice.


Students who you expect to complete after 1 September 2022.


A further registration fee will be payable for these students. You should set up a new booking just for this student showing the original start date (e.g. 1 September 2021) and the expected end date (e.g. 30 May 2023).


Please note that if you gave us notice to change these students to a two-year course within the first 42 days of the course you will not be charged the registration fee again.


If you are continuing this student at your own cost because they have exceptional circumstances but cannot get further funding, we may be able to agree to waive the registration fee. Please complete the extenuating circumstances form in this case.


Certification window and UCAS deadline

At the end of the FAB you will be informed of when your certification window will be. This is the time when your students will be awarded via our DC Web system and their results will be recorded on our UCAS entry document.


Actual printing of the diplomas will take place during the summer and your exams teams will be contacted to arrange delivery.


Your signed version of the FAB minutes document must be sent to us within one hour of the end of FAB meeting. Failure to do this will result in a loss of your certification window. Another window will be allocated; however, this will be after all other colleges have been certificated and you may then miss the UCAS deadline.


If you have any questions regarding these processes, do contact the team to discuss.


Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (Adaptations/Extenuations under COVID)

Please remember that any adaptations that you are making to a student(s) delivery or assessment (not including deadline extensions) must be made by FIRST completing an adaptation request.


The ERF is coming to an end. For students starting an Access to HE Diploma from 1 August 2022, the ERF will no longer apply. For any continuing students who were registered before 1 August 2022 and will continue their studies into the 2022-23 academic year, arrangements relating to the principles under the ERF will apply where there have been adaptations to an assessment, units delivered, or extenuating circumstances connected to the pandemic prior to 1 August 2022. These principles will also apply to students who have taken a study break, returning to their course from 1 August 2022.


Become an External Moderator

We are altering the external moderation process for next academic year and as such there will be a change to the roles of the external moderators. Some roles will be available that only require a few hours of work twice a year which you can do around other commitments. If you are interested in hearing more about this, please contact us via email.


Farewell from Julie Knowles

For our colleagues who have been around FE for a long time, you will know that I have worked for the AVA for almost 17 years and in FE for over two decades. I remember joining what was then West and North Yorkshire OCN (2005), based at the then Leeds Met, as OCNs were merging across the country. We merged with South Yorkshire and Humber OCN which was based at Sheffield Hallam University to become OCNYHR; we then moved to Certa House in 2008.


As part of a secondment to the AVA, I was still running Access to HE within a college for part of my week and was able to bring that experience to the development of what was then the new Access to HE Diploma (2006), quickly followed by the introduction of the Grading scheme (2009), and an updated Diploma specification (2013).


Without the help and expertise of our amazing colleagues in our colleges and universities, and specialisms of our fantastic External Moderators, we wouldn’t have been able to develop our bespoke Diplomas from around 115 down to 20 ‘live’ AVA Diplomas. We certainly would not have been able to allocate Grading Descriptors to what was around 6,000 units or reduce those units down to 1,800 over the years without your commitment to quality products, our student progression, and loyalty to us as an AVA.


Since joining the Skills and Education Group family (2017), we have made lots of new connections and expanded the support for our Access to HE work. You may have seen this in action if you were able to attend the excellent conference in Hinckley last month, where one of our Access to HE students spoke beautifully about her experience on the course and her wonderful plans for the future.


With the introduction of the QAA Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF) in more recent years, our ways of working have speedily evolved in directions that we couldn’t have expected. These evolutions and the associated challenges across FE, HE, and all other sectors are now taking us forward in different ways. Your support and dedication across the years have been tireless and I have always considered us to be part of one team, working towards the same goals.


As we come to the end of the 2021-22 academic year, it is time for me to pass the baton on to Heather and the team for the next stages of Access to HE development. QAA is revisiting AVA licensing criteria, the Access to HE Diploma Specification and the Grading Scheme as well as growing discussions around international provision. The Access to HE team will contribute to these developments with your input, always with an eye on quality assurance, streamlining, and parity for our Access to HE students.


During my time working on Access to HE, both within a college and the AVA, I have met such wonderful people and I hope to hear how things are going with you all in the future. Thank you for your help, support and friendship along the way.


With all my best to you for a great summer break.