Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 11th September Update

8th September 2017

In May 2017, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for ACE. Since then we have made the following changes:
 

New Pages

We have added a total of 3 new Awarding Organisations:  Open Awards and due to the latest changes to SASE to include British Sign Language as a Transferable Skill we have also added IBSL and Signature

Changes to Existing Pages

CACHE: due to re-branding we have added updated acceptable and unacceptable evidence.

CCEA:  due to the latest changes to SASE to include Northern Irish Essential Skills we have added a new certificate.

City & Guilds: we have added an unacceptable Unit Credit Certificate which we have also added to Pre-2006 Transferable Skills Evidence.

NCFE:  due to re-branding we have added updated acceptable evidence.

NOCN: we have added an acceptable NOCN/Quartz report.

OCR: we have added a new acceptable piece of evidence showing the latest GCSE grading.
WJEC: due to the latest changes to SASE to include Essential Skills Wales we have added a new certificate.
 

If you have any further questions relating to this issue then please contact the ACE Support Team via ace.helpdesk@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.
 

31.8.17 SASE Framework Withdrawals Update

31st August 2017

Following the announcement made in early January 2017, regarding the withdrawal of a third batch of SASE frameworks, 18 frameworks will be withdrawn to new starts from 1st Oct 2017. The last date for new starts on these frameworks will be 30 September 2017.
 

The list of Batch 3 frameworks for withdrawal can be found here.
 

This withdrawal announcement does not impact any current learners on any of these frameworks, as they will continue to complete their Apprenticeship as usual. Once the withdrawal date for a framework has passed, any existing learners will continue to complete their Apprenticeship, on their agreed funding arrangements, and their Apprenticeship Completion Certificate can be claimed as normal.
 

The last date for new starts on withdrawn Frameworks will be updated on Apprenticeship Certificate England (ACE) and on the learning aims search on the Hub. On the agreed withdrawal date, the Frameworks will be archived on Apprenticeship Frameworks Online.
 

In due course, the ESFA will announce the proposals for withdrawing the remaining “live” SASE frameworks.
 

Updated SASE Regulations “Live” as of 22nd August 2017

22nd August 2017

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:

 

    1. 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 (remains as an E Grade for older GCSEs


        b.  For a Level 3, Advanced Apprenticeship, the minimum acceptable Grade is a 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.

 

ICT Requirements
 

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.

 

AFO
 

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.

 

Questions?
 

If you have any questions relating to the new SASE requirements then please contact the Federation Support Team.
 

Federation Oracle

16th August 2017

The latest issue of the Federation Oracle, the one stop shop for updates from within Apprenticeships and the Federation is available now. In this edition you will find information on:
 

  • Updates to SASE
  • Automated Data Transfer Facility

Automated Data Transfer Facility

28th July 2017

As you will all be aware the new Automated Data Transfer Facility in ACE was launched on Monday 31st July.
 

Using your learner’s ULN and name, you are able to automatically download their personal details and previous qualifications and achievements that are held on their Personal Learning Record.  This facility saves you precious processing time by reducing the requirement for manual uploads, whilst confirming your learner’s previous achievements.
 

You will see a slight change to the first screen you use in ACE.  It will only show the ULN and learner’s name fields.  This is all you are required to complete to instigate the automated data transfer service.  There is nothing additional that you need to do, simply log in on in the usual manner and away you go.
 

The Federation team have developed a comprehensive user guide and FAQ’s for you to refer to and these can be found under the knowledge base tab.

 

As usual, the Federation team and your Certification Body are available to answer any queries, however, we are confident that you will find that the new facility is very easy and intuitive to use and you will quickly see the benefits to your day to day processes.
 

It must be stressed that this is an additional tool to use for the certification process and by no means removes the ability to manually upload achievements or information when required. In fact, in some cases, you will still need to manually upload some evidence documents as it is not always possible to fully verify all of the required qualifications required for a framework, using a learner’s Personal Learning Record.
 

We hope that you like the new system and utilise it fully.
 

Regards

The Federation
 

Federation Oracle

10th May 2017

The latest issue of the Federation Oracle, the one stop shop for updates from within Apprenticeships is out now. In this edition you will find information on:

 

  • Rejections – overview of the last 12 months
  • Customer satisfaction 2017 review
  • Policy round up

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 10th May 2017 Update

10th May 2017

In January 2017, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for ACE. Since then we have made the following changes:
 

New Page

An additional Awarding Organisation has been added to the Guidance:

BPEC
 

Changes to Existing Pages
AAT: have withdrawn some evidence examples which have been moved into Withdrawn Evidence, but will still be acceptable until the 10th August 2017.
 

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE): we have added an acceptable International Certificate of Education.
 

OCR: we have added a new unacceptable piece of evidence.
 

Pearson Edexcel: we have added a new acceptable IGCSE certificate
 

International GCSE (IGCSE): we have added a new acceptable IGCSE certificate.
 

SQA: we have updated the evidence to include screenshots and reports from their online systems as well as new Certificate examples.
 

If you have any further questions relating to this issue then please contact the ACE Support Team via ace.helpdesk@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.
 

Changes to SASE to include acceptance of British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications

6th April 2017

An update to The Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) was published on gov.uk on 30th March – ahead of the Statutory Instrument which was laid before Parliament on Friday 31st March.
 

It is anticipated to come into force on 24th April. This is the link to the new SASE document:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/specification-of-apprenticeship-standards-for-england

 

The change being made is to include the introduction of British Sign Language (BSL) as an alternative to English for people who use BSL as their primary language, at both Level 1 and Level 2.
 

The document makes it clear that the change will only apply once the statutory instrument (the “Order”)  has come into force:
 

British Sign Language has been added to the English minimum achievement options. This will apply to those starting an apprenticeship after the Apprenticeships (Modification to the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England) Order 2017 has come into force and, pursuant to an appropriate direction made under section 13 ASCL to the issuing authorities, those currently on an apprenticeship but who have not yet completed their apprenticeship prior to the Order coming into force.
 

The forthcoming changes to include BSL were initially announced in the press in January.
 

We will confirm when the required “Order” has been passed and that the BSL changes are implemented.
 

Apprenticeship Reforms: Proposal to Withdraw 4th Batch of SASE frameworks

23rd February 2017

 
SFA are asking for feedback on the 4th batch of SASE frameworks to be withdrawn. The proposed last date for new starts on these frameworks is 31 March 2018.
 

The proposal is open for feedback from Wednesday 22 February to Wednesday 5 April 2017.
 

A full list of frameworks included in this current proposal is available on gov.uk.
 

SFA will review the feedback and then announce the final list of Batch 4 withdrawals in May 2017. This will give 9 months’ notice in advance of the actual date of withdrawal.
 

If, following feedback, SFA defer the withdrawal then the framework will be included in the next batch of proposed withdrawals which is planned for over the summer.
 

The frameworks included in this proposal have replacement Apprenticeship Standards that cover the same occupations – these replacement Standards are expected to be ready for delivery by 1 April 2018.
 

SFA will consider deferring the withdrawal date if you can provide clear and strong evidence that:-
 

  • relevant Standards due to be in place by 1 April 2018, or soon after, will NOT cover some occupations covered by the framework’s pathways for which there is still significant demand or;

 

  • there are strong reasons why the replacement Standard(s) cannot be ready for learners from 1 April 2018, or soon after.

 

To give your feedback on the current proposal click, please visit the feedback form.
 

For further information, refer to the Removal of apprenticeship frameworks page on GOV.UK or contact the Service desk.
 

Federation Oracle

20th February 2017

The latest issue of the Federation Oracle, the one stop shop for updates from within Apprenticeships is out now. In this edition you will find information on:
 

·       Rejections – where we are now
·       Standard Certification
·       Forthcoming changes to SASE