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Changes to external quality assurance for end-point assessment organisations

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) published the response to its consultation on external quality assurance (EQA) on 4 August 2020.

The consultation response confirmed the move to a simplified system for EQA of apprenticeship end-point assessment. EQA will be delivered by Ofqual, or the Office for Students for integrated degree apprenticeships, under a common EQA framework set by the Institute.

ESFA, Ofqual and the Institute have written to all existing end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs) to outline what this means for them and next steps.

Please visit the Institute for Apprenticeships website which has useful information about the transition.

In phase 1, which started in August 2020, standards began to transfer where the Institute are the current EQA provider.

The remaining standards will transition to Ofqual as follows:

by the end of December 2021 all standards where the Institute is the EQA provider (phase 1)
by the end of December 2022 all standards where the EQA is currently provided by other external bodies will move to Ofqual (phase 2)

Phase 1

As part of the commitment to take a flexible and pragmatic approach to planning, IfATE has extended the timeline for phase 1 due to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19.

EPAOs applying for standards in phase 1 have until 1 July to make formal applications for recognition from Ofqual. They will then have until 16 December to complete the recognition process.

EPAOs that do not apply by 1 July or achieve Ofqual recognition by 16 December will be removed from the register of EPAOs. They will be welcome to reapply for Ofqual recognition and the ESFA register at a later date.

Standards will continue to transfer to Ofqual when all EPAOs are recognised.

All organisations applying to the register of end-point assessment organisations for standards transitioning by December 2021 will also need to seek recognition by Ofqual, and have this in place before their application to the register can be approved.

This applies to organisations not currently on the register, and those that have not yet applied.

We advise all EPAO (existing and potential) to engage with Ofqual as soon as possible so that they can understand Ofqual’s process and requirements. Further information about the recognition process can be found on Ofqual’s website.

Phase 2

EPAOs will have until the 16 May 2022 to make formal applications to Ofqual for recognition. They will have until the 31 December 2022 to complete the recognition process. EPAOs that do not apply by the 16 May 2022 or achieve Ofqual recognition by 31 December 2022 will be removed from the register of EPAOs. They will be welcome to reapply for Ofqual recognition and the ESFA register at a later date.

From 1 August 2021 any organisation applying to the register for the first time will need to be recognised by Ofqual before they can be approved by ESFA. This applies to those organisations seeking to offer assessment for standards that will transition to Ofqual in phase 2.

This does not apply to universities seeking to assess integrated degree standards as these will be externally quality assured by the Office for Students.

You can view a List of standards due to transfer to Ofqual as the EQA provider in March 2022 (ODS, 3.89 KB).

Please refer to the Institute for Apprenticeships website for more information on the EQA transition.

Details of the current EQA provider for each standard can be found on the Institute website.

There is also further information about what the transition means for EPAOs including information on charges for EQA on the Institute website.

All EPAOs active on standards for which the Institute provides EQA should now be in active conversations with Ofqual about their intentions and recognition application, ahead of EQA moving to Ofqual. The Ofqual team are keen to support all relevant EPAOs about how to achieve recognition if it is desired.

Please contact the Ofqual team as soon as possible, to allow good time to go through the recognition process.

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