Apprenticeship assessment 'flexibilities' to stay until at least January

Special measures that have led to more than 100 apprenticeship standards gaining permission to carry out end-point assessments remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic will be retained into the new year.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s chief executive Jennifer Coupland announced today that the flexibilities will continue until at least the start of 2021.

Apprenticeship assessments usually involve an element of face-to-face assessment, which was not possible due to movement and social distancing restrictions during lockdown.

The flexibilities introduced vary for each standard but can include using technology to conduct observations or professional discussions remotely and reordering assessment methods so that written tests or professional discussions can be taken now and the observation delivered later.

Coupland said: “It is fantastic that the assessment flexibilities, which we carefully tailored for different sectors with employer groups, have helped thousands of apprentices to complete in spite of Covid-19.

“We want this to continue as people gradually return to work-places and face-to-face learning and assessment becomes more viable. The institute will start looking from September at where to go next with the flexibilities, but I can confirm we are not planning to make any changes before the new year to give everyone a degree of stability.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson has now advised that people should start returning to work where possible, which sparked enquiries as to whether the institute will continue to support remote assessment and other flexibilities around the delivery of EPA, according to an IfATE spokesperson.

Coupland said: “The EPA flexibilities have played a vital role in supporting the completion of many apprenticeships through these challenging and unprecedented times. We want to clarify now that there are no imminent plans to reverse these.”

The IfATE spokesperson added that they will give 12 weeks notice from when any changes are announced to existing flexibilities before EPA organisations will have to deliver them.