The health and safety of our employees and associates is of utmost importance to us. Based on government advice, we have activated our Business Contingency Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that for now and where possible, our employees and associates will be performing their roles remotely and not visiting customers or centres in person.

This way of working is not unusual to us and our whole infrastructure has been designed to allow for maximum flexibility and not reliant on any single fixed location for business operations and continuity.

Our Business Contingency Plan is based on the use of cloud based solutions for information collaboration and sharing, QMIS for day to day transactions with our customers and face to face video meetings with Zoom.

We acknowledge this is a dynamic situation and will follow the Government advice as it develops its strategy to overcome this situation.

In summary, we are going to work slightly differently behind the scenes for a while. With your understanding and support, FutureQuals will endeavour to operate just as we always do.

Chris Young
Managing Director
FutureQuals

 

Office Opening Hours During Covid-19 Restrictions

The Futurequals and FutureAssess teams remain available during our usual hours of opening 0900-1700 Monday to Friday.

The office reopens at 0900 on the 4th January 2021. The majority of staff are working remotely due to our office being in a region under Tier 4 restrictions.

Please consider using email as a first choice of communication if at all possible. As always, we are taking calls but it is a little more difficult with the teams working away from the office.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2021 from all at Futurequals and FutureAssess.

Chris Young
Managing Director

 

UPDATE 14.02.21:

Assessment mitigation centre guidance communication in relation to Covid-19 disruption, 2021 for Health and Social Care and Childcare/Early years

The Joint Awarding Body Quality Group have issued a joint communication detailing assessment mitigation guidance in relation to Health and Social Care and Childcare/Early Years. The guidance is detailed in the link below:

Assessment mitigation centre guidance

The DfE Early Years Educator/Practitioner (EYE/EYP) criteria have been risk rated to maximise and optimise student opportunities within the real work environment. A mapping document has been provided for Early Years Educator/Early Years Practitioner qualifications to guide Assessors through the risk rated approach to inform planning. The mapping is detailed in the link below:

Early Years Educator Assessment RAG rating against DfE EYE Criteria

 

UPDATE 22.02.21:

First Aid Quality Partnership (FAQP) Statement Relating to Rescue Breaths

In response to the increased prevalence of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and the increased transmission of the new variants, the FAQP and HSE supports the position of Resuscitation Council UK that practical demonstration of rescue breaths may be omitted from first aid training courses, as a precautionary measure while Covid transmission rates remain high. Please follow the link below for the full FAQP statement:

FAQP Statement: Practical demonstration and assessment of Rescue Breaths while Covid transmission remains high

As a reminder to all those involved in first aid training, wearing facemasks (at all times – even when seated) is by far the most important factor in preventing transmission. The HSE also provide guidance on room ventilation, which plays a very important part in protecting against aerosolised virus. The guidance can be found at the following link:

HSE Guidance: Ventilation and air conditioning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Update 04.02.21

Apprenticeship Programme Response to COVID-19 Guidance

A new version of the Apprenticeship Programme response to COVID-19 has been published. The new guidance can found on the apprenticeship programme response page.

This version contains two changes:

  • Confirmation that face-to-face training and assessment can be undertaken in colleges and training providers’ premises for a small number of apprentices who require training before undertaking their end-point-assessment in January, February, or March.
  • Guidance that where the apprentice, employer or provider believe that remote delivery of off-the-job training or a lack of access to the workplace is compromising the quality of the apprenticeship training, and there is a risk that the apprentice will not be ready for end-point assessment, then a break in learning should be instigated.

This means that our policy on who can attend face-to-face training and assessment has grown a little and now asks that training providers, employers and EPAOs ensure that training and assessment takes place remotely wherever possible, however:

  • Face-to-face training and assessment can continue in colleges and training providers’ premises for vulnerable young apprentices and the children of key workers who need it.
  • Face-to-face training and assessment can be undertaken in colleges and training providers’ premises for a small number of apprentices who require training before undertaking their end-point-assessment in January, February, or March.
  • Face-to-face training and assessment can also continue in employers’ covid-secure settings where it is essential for workers to attend their workplace, and where it is safe and practical to do so.
  • End-point assessment and Functional Skills assessments can continue in colleges, training providers’ premises, assessment venues and workplaces where it cannot be conducted remotely and where providers and end-point assessment organisations judge it right to do so.

Update 28.01.21:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-update-27-january-2021/esfa-update-further-education-27-january-2021

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response

UPDATE 28.01.21:

First aid at work training in Northern Ireland

The current policy position of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is as follows:

First aid at work training required to comply with health and safety or other legislation can continue to take place under relevant coronavirus restrictions in Northern Ireland.

All possible measures must be taken to prevent the transmission of coronavirus, in relation to training activities and the environment, subject to a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, putting in place appropriate controls, taking into account public health advice

Risk Assessment during the COVID pandemic – HSEGB

Under the current restrictions, some premises are closed to the public or are prohibited from carrying out their normal business. These premises can be considered for use as training venues providing all applicable legislation is adhered.

Coronavirus – covid -19 – Current Restriction, NI – indirect website

HSENI’s current guidance on first aid certificate extensions will remain unaltered – 31st March 2021.

HSENI – first-aid-during-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

 

UPDATE 15.01.21:

Department for Education: Extension to Requalification of Paediatric First Aid Certificates

The Department for Education have published an extension to requalification of Paediatric First Aid certificates if PFA certificate requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, or by complying with related government advice. In these cases certificates have been extended to 31 March 2021.

Please visit the following link for further information:

Early years foundation stage: coronavirus disapplications

 

UPDATE 15.01.21:

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statement relating to first aid training during lockdown

This is a statement from the HSE with regard to the delivery of workplace first aid training. This is split into each devolved administration. This will be issued as an e-bulletin to subscribers. HSE will also be contacting all local authorities to ensure they are aware of this position.

Please visit the following link for further information:

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Statement: First aid training during coronavirus restrictions in place on 15th January 2021

 

UPDATE 06.01.2021:

First Aid Quality Partnership (FAQP) Guidance – First Aid Training Delivery During the Lockdown

The First Aid Quality Partnership (FAQP) met on 05/01/21 to discuss the impact of the latest, government-imposed lockdown conditions on first aid training delivery.

It was agreed that first aid training should continue during the lockdown in order to service the demand from employers. All existing Covid-secure guidelines should remain in place, providing a safe environment for learners.

The HSE support this decision and will approach the devolved administrations to clarify their position on first aid delivery during their individual lockdowns. Training can, however, continue as they await further clarification.

The HSE will also provide the FAQP with clarification for employers who are required to close during lockdown, such as universities and leisure centres, but who may still need to train first aiders ready for when the restrictions are lifted.

Members of the FAQP will continue to monitor the demand for training and whether or not a further extension request will need to be made.

 

Update 05.11.20:

Message from the Executive Management Board –

  • We would like to assure all our customers, centres and associates that FutureQuals has fully implemented its business contingency plans. Our phone lines and email support accounts are still in full operation. Access to QMIS for registrations and achievement claims also remain in full operation. Some FutureQuals staff are now working remotely from home and are still available to provide you with whatever support is needed.  For specific quality assurance dispensation/adaptation considerations,  please email all applications to qualityassurance@futurequals.com.

UPDATE 21.10.20:

Assessment mitigation centre guidance communication in relation to Covid-19 disruption, 2020-21 for Health and Social Care and Childcare/Early years

This is a joint communication from all the Awarding Organisations/Bodies (AOs/ABs) as identified by their logos and it applies only to the Health & Social Care and Childcare/Early Years qualifications offered in England, Wales and NI.

Please visit the following link for further information:

Assessment mitigation centre guidance communication

If you have any questions, or wish to apply any of these flexible arrangements, please contact FutureQuals at qualityassurance@futurequals.com with your proposed adaptation, prior to implementation. Our Quality Assurance Team will then review your request and eligibility and, if appropriate, provide permission. All flexibilities will be recorded in our Adaptations Tracker.

 

UPDATE 24.09.20:

Skills for Health Qualifications – Covid-19 Flexible Arrangements

Skills for Health recently released guidance outlining the flexibilities which can be applied to ‘support existing principles and approaches to unit/qualification assessment,’ during the Covid-19 pandemic. These adaptations apply only to qualifications (delivered in England) which assess occupational competence, where the main source of evidence is assessor observation.

As a centre offering healthcare qualifications, you may have the need to utilise the following approaches when the process of direct performance observation is deemed to be unsafe:

  • Expert Witness Testimony – The use of an expert witness is permitted if a qualified assessor is unable to complete the learner observation. Centres will be required to provide training to expert witnesses, enabling them to provide and/or present valid, reliable evidence.
  • Remote Technology – The use of remote technology, including video and audio, may be considered for the observation of learner performance, providing that the confidentiality, dignity and privacy of any individual involved is not compromised.

Please visit the following link for further information:

https://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/images/standards/qcf/Skills%20for%20Health%20assessment%20principles%20-%20flexibilitites%20Sept%202020.pdf

If you have any questions, or wish to apply any of these flexible arrangements, please contact FutureQuals at qualityassurance@futurequals.com with your proposed adaptation, prior to implementation. Our Quality Assurance Team will then review your request and eligibility and, if appropriate, provide permission. All flexibilities will be recorded in our Adaptations Tracker.

Please note, all flexibilities outlined by Skills for Health will be reviewed in April 2021.

UPDATE:

Message from the Executive Management Board

  • We would like to assure all our customers, centres and associates that FutureQuals has fully implemented its business contingency plans. Our phone lines and email support accounts are still in full operation. Access to QMIS for registrations and achievement claims also remain in full operation. All FutureQuals staff are now working remotely from home and are still available to provide you with whatever support is needed.  For specific quality assurance dispensation/adaptation considerations,  please email all applications to qualityassurance@futurequals.com.

Reminder to Centres and Request from the Executive Management Board (EMB)

  • Centres and Associates are reminded of the importance to assist FutureQuals in our Business Contingency Planning by completing the essential Demand versus Supply analysis using Doodle Poll. Your assistance with providing an update on your status is full appreciated.

First Aid Qualifications

  • First Aid Awarding Organisation Forum – Statement from HSE and DfE relating to certificate expiry is located here:
  • Direct link to the HSE website is located here:
  • (NEW!) – HSE have released advice on first aid requirements in non-healthcare settings during the outbreak, as well as first aid cover and qualifications, which is located here:
  • (NEW!) – Joint statement by the First Aid Awarding Organisation Forum and First Aid Quality Partnership. This statement has been adapted to provide instructions directly to Centres for the purpose of delivering regulated first aid qualifications during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is located here:

The Department for Education

  • Released their apprenticeship response to Covid-19, which is located here:
  • The Secretary of State for Education, writes to the Chief Regulator, Ofqual, on the Direction for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQ), which is located here:
  • The DfE have agree to a pragmatic approach to the award of Early Years Educator (EYE) and Early Years Practitioner (EYP) qualifications, as follows: Early Years Educator and Early Years Practitioner Qualifications which include externally assessed assessments will have those assessments estimated/calculated. Placement hours will be managed pragmatically with the overarching consideration being that the EYE criteria or EYP criteria, as appropriate, have been met during the learners time on the programme. In order to ensure the EYE or EYP criteria have been met, internal assessments may be adapted; appropriate alternative assessment methods will be evidenced i.e. direct observation where possible or professional discussion, witness testimony, etc.

Institute of Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IFATE)

  • Have released their response to the Covid-19 outbreak, which is located here:
  • An FAQ page is also in operation, which can be accessed here:
  • (NEW!) The IFATE is supporting a new temporary flexibility that will enable apprentices to take end point assessment (EPA) ahead of receiving their calculated functional skills qualifications (FSQ) later on in the summer. Full guidance can be accessed here:
  • (NEW!) It has been confirmed by IFATE that the current flexibilities/discretions will remain in place until at least the start of 2021. here:

Education and Skills Funding Agency

  • Have released their response to the covid-19 outbreak, which is located here:

Ofqual (EPA EQAP) –

  • Have released their Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Ofqual regulated Apprenticeship End Point Assessments (EPAs) guidance, which is located here:

NSAR (EPA EQAP)

  • Have released their guidance for Adult Care EPA, which is located here:

Open Awards (EPA EQAP)

  • Have released their guidance for EPA, externally quality assured by IFATE, on behalf of Open Awards, which is located here:

Ofqual (Regulated Qualifications)

  • The complexity of the landscape for VTQ’s means a single approach is not appropriate. A statement from Ofqual, can be located here:
  • (NEW!) Ofqual have officially launched the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF) on 22nd May 2020 following the conclusion of its consultation. along with supporting guidance. This can be located here:

Functional Skills – Calculated Results 

  • (NEW!) Further to previous correspondence all centres approved to deliver functional skills should now be in receipt of our guidance documents on Centre Assessment Grades and the process on submitting your judgements for consideration towards a calculated grade. If you have not received your link to a series of Jotforms, please contact functionalskills@futurequals.com.
  • (NEW!) 19/08/2020 Following a recent statement from Ofqual regarding  Centre Assessment Grades for VTQs and particularly relating to Functional Skills for Futurequals, we would like to reassure all learners that the grades that have been given during the process are valid and reliable.  We have worked closely with our Centres to gather evidence of prior learning and attainment to obtain the grades given.  At no time has any algorithms been used in the grading process.

Regulated Qualifications – Adaptation

  • (NEW!) Approved Centres are reminded that all adaptation requests must be logged with and approved by the quality assurance team prior to use. Please email qualityassurance@futurequals.com and provide as much detail as possible in order for your application to be considered. It is important to remember that all adaptations are time-limited and will cease when the extraordinary regulatory framework (ERF) has been switched off by the regulator. The ERF primarily applies to England, however it principles will also apply to Wales and Northern Ireland. For all Scottish Qualifications licensed under the SQA Accreditation, adaptations will be managed in accordance with their principles and are also time-limited.

Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) Accreditation

  • FutureQuals continues to engage with SQA Accreditation on matters relating to SQA accredited qualifications offered by FutureQuals to determine whether adaptation is possible. A gentle reminder that no adaptations are permitted unless logged and approved by our Quality Assurance team, in line with Regulatory guidance.

Qualifications in Education and Training

  • The Education  & Training Foundation has released clarification notes covering the specific requirements of the Diploma, which is located here:
  • Additional guidance also regarding the Certificate and Award, as well as Assessor qualifications located here: