The 6th version of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) was published on 19th July 2017. This introduced a number of key changes to the range of acceptable qualifications for both English and Maths. However, the changes could not take effect until Parliamentary approval had been received. This approval has now been received and the changes, previously published in July, will be effective from Tuesday 22nd August 2017.
This notification gives more detail on the specific amendments that have been made to this version of the SASE regulations.
Summary of Changes:
- The list of acceptable English and Maths qualifications has been expanded. This now includes some Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish qualifications. Please note that GCSE English Literature is also now back in scope.
Please refer to Sections 5, 6, 28 & 29 of SASE for specific details of English & Maths qualifications that are now acceptable.
2. The minimum requirements for the new numerically graded GCSEs have been included:-
a. For a Level 2, Intermediate Apprenticeship, the minimum acceptable Grade is a 2 (remains as an E Grade for older GCSEs
b. For a Level 3, Advanced Apprenticeship, the minimum acceptable Grade is a 4 remains as a C Grade for older GCSEs)
3. For Apprentices with special educational needs, learning difficulties or disabilities (NB: specific criteria have to be met and evidenced), exemptions are in place for the regular English and Maths minimum requirements. This exemption allows the Apprentice to use an Entry Level 3 qualification in English or Maths as an acceptable alternative.
Please refer to SASE Sections 15 – 23 for further details of how Providers are required to both assess and evidence whether or not they have learners who meet the “exemption” criteria.
4.The use of a British Sign Language (BSL) qualification (at the required level) is now approved
in place of the regular English qualification minimum requirement. This is only for Apprentices who use BSL as their primary
Please refer to SASE Section 5 (f) and 28 (f) for further details on the acceptance of BSL qualifications.
Please note that there have been NO changes to the list of acceptable ICT qualifications for SASE Apprenticeships.
Impact of the SASE Changes
The changes coming into effect on 22nd August 2017 will apply not only to all those starting an Apprenticeship on, or after, this date but also to those currently on an Apprenticeship programme who have not yet completed.
Removal of the 5 Year Rule for All Apprentices
It has also been confirmed that the “5 year rule” requirement for Apprentices, starting before 6 April 2015, has now been removed. This means that there are now no date achieved criteria for English, Maths and ICT qualifications for any Apprentice, irrespective of their Apprenticeship start date.
Updated Transferable Skills Guidance
The Federation have updated their Transferable Skills Guidance document to reflect the changes taking effect from 22nd August 2017.
Changes to ACE
There are now 2 new, optional radio buttons on the Framework Tab of ACE. They only relate to Apprentices who meet the specified SASE criteria relating to the use of either a BSL or an Entry Level 3 qualification. Where appropriate, ACE claimants will be required to tick one of these radio buttons and agree to an online declaration that the named Apprentice does meet the SASE criteria and wishes to submit an appropriate BSL or Entry Level 3 qualification as evidence of their achievement of the required English and/or Maths requirements of their Apprenticeship framework. Training Providers are required to retain suitable evidence that the Apprentice did meet the exemptions criteria, as stated in the July 2017 version of SASE. This may be required for future auditing purposes by the E&SFA.
Please note that, the new Automated Data Transfer Facility in ACE will be updated to include a search of a learner’s PLR for a suitable qualification, where either BSL or Entry Level 3 exemptions have been declared in ACE.
In the short term, all current SASE frameworks will have a red banner notification added to the front cover to alert readers to the recent SASE changes to the English and Maths requirements. In addition, a preface page has been inserted giving further details of these changes.
Please note that the English and Maths tables, within the Transferable Skills section of each framework document, have not yet been updated to reflect the recent changes. This will be done over the next few months. If you are in any doubt as to the requirements of a framework, please contact the relevant Issuing Authority/Certification Body for further guidance.
If you have any questions relating to the new SASE requirements then please contact the Federation Support Team.