Sector News

Mark Dawe, CEO, Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active


It has reached a point where there are now two options for the Department for Education to ensure the survival of the End Point Assessment system during the Covid-19 crisis, say the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP). 


  • Option One: Agree immediately ALL the flexibilities and adjustments listed below while still maintaining the integrity of the overarching EPA, or
  • Option Two: Guarantee a set level of funding for EPAOs at their current run rate no matter what level of performance and delivery takes place

The preference for the whole apprenticeship sector is option one to allow apprentices still to achieve and progress in a timely manner and safeguard thousands of jobs at no additional cost, at the same time limiting the need to draw down on government’s wider business support.

Option one is adopting the same approach approved by the Secretary of State for those students who were expecting to take GCSEs and A levels over the next few months, where teacher assessment and professional judgement will be the primary form of assessment to determine success in a timely manner, rather than causing any delay as the traditional form of invigilated independent exam assessment is not practical.

Alternative assessment methods will be used where possible (e.g. professional discussion instead of an observation), but where this is not feasible, then teacher/trainer/tutor assessment can be utilised.

These measures enable apprentices to continue to be assessed, whilst still affording social distancing, supporting self-isolation where required and in all cases ensuring safe working practices. 

These measures are critical in the protection of learners, and in supporting the viability of training providers and employers over the next few months. 

The approaches outlined below have been developed with a commitment to rigorous and fair assessment at their heart and provide robust coverage of the current assessment criteria.


Where digital options can be undertaken:

 Where possible EPAOs will introduce the following additional control measures for digital observations, to confirm:

  • Consent from all individuals recorded
  • That assessment is not simulated
  • That assessment can be authenticated

Where digital options cannot be undertaken:

There may be some circumstances where digital assessments are not possible, for example where EPAOs would be unable to gain consent for all individuals likely to be included in a recording or the observation is just not practical given the demands it will place on the employer, isolations and a range of other factors relating to Covid-19

In these cases, the current observation will be replaced and instead the following assessment activities will be undertaken:

  • Conduct a competency-based interview with the apprentice, lasting no longer than 60 minutes in duration.
  • Conduct a confirmation interview with the line manager or an appropriate designated person from the employer to confirm that the examples used within the competency based interview are a true reflection of the work completed by the apprentice and their competency. Where the line manager or appropriate designated person is not available a witness testimony maybe used.

To alleviate concerns about the ability to grade through such an approach rather than just determine competency, the apprentice would only be able to achieve a pass grade (rather than merit or distinction) and at a later date would have the option to undertake the observation in an attempt to gain a high grade of pass i.e. merit or distinction.

Multiple Choice (MCQ) and Short Answer Questions (SAQ) where digital invigilation isn’t possible

Where apprentices do not have the technology available to sit invigilated (proctoring) MCQs or SAQs at home, the EPAO will carry out a question and answer interview via video call (FaceTime, Teams, Zoom etc.) under exam conditions.

Where there are situations where none of the above offer viable alternatives, EPAOs (or groups of) would make their own professional judgment as to the best way forward and propose alternative suggestions to IfATE for each standard. 

Functional Skills

The legacy functional skills qualifications deadline for assessments and certification need to be extended by at least a further 6 months

Where there are situation where not viable alternatives (as described above for MCQs) apply the same treatment to functional skills qualifications as is being applied to GCSEs and A levels, i.e. it should be left to the tutor/trainer/teacher as to when the learner has achieved competency.

Currently there is still a requirement for a level 2 apprentice to pass level 1 functional skills, work towards and sit (but not pass) level 2 functional skills. The requirement to sit level 2 functional skills for these apprentices needs to be removed.

Previous flexibilities still awaiting approval

The following flexibilities have already been asked for which are vital for the smooth running of EPAs during this period:

  • Face-to-face assessment: Some assessments are required to be face-to-face in the individual assessment plan, when they could be delivered remotely – there should be a rule change to allow remote where possible.
  • Assessment order: There is often a requirement for a particular order of assessments – this should be relaxed to allow flexibility in the current crisis.
  • Staff present: Some assessments require a manager to be present – again this needs to be dropped to allow assessments to be done at home/in isolation
  • Assessment windows: there are fixed assessment windows post gateway, often 3 months – these rules need to be relaxed to allow a longer period to deliver all assessments.

Additional requirement

Mandatory Qualifications: There are a number of apprenticeship standards which require the completion of mandatory on-programme qualifications prior to apprentices being able to undertake end point assessment. We are aware that in some cases that examinations/testing for these on-programme qualifications are now being delayed under the autumn.

Apprentices should be able to complete all parts of their EPA without the mandatory qualification. The provider and EPAO paid for completion, with the apprentice receiving their full apprenticeship completion certificate once the mandatory qualification has been retrospectively achieved.

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 3 hours 3 minutes ago

RT @ClearlySo: The UK #EdTech sector grows to £3.5bn as demand surges for digital classrooms and AR - @FENews #educ…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page