Statement updated on 26th January 2021
Update regarding EPAO service to providers, apprentices and employers
Following the government announcement on the new national lockdown, which is in part in response to the increased pressure on the NHS, the School would like to share some information in regards to our EPAO service to providers, apprentices and employers.
The School EPAO service remain committed to keeping you informed through this challenging time. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) is further extending apprenticeship flexibilities until at least the end of August 2021. The Institute is prolonging special measures allowing for the completion of apprenticeships through the pandemic. It will mean that no flexibilities will be withdrawn before the end of August 2021. The School will maintain all current flexibilities in line with the August deadline.
The re-sequencing of the EPA process to enable gateway to be passed and EPA to be taken before the FSQ calculated result will be updated by IFATE.
EQA approval and completion delays maybe a concern for colleagues and they should work with Pearson’s or other bodies around this, the NSHCS will work flexible in line with any guidance from these bodies.
As key partners we are requesting that you inform us of any delays and changes to apprenticeship programmes and assessment requests in order for us to plan more effectively with you.
Due to NHS pressures and current lockdown requirements we ask that you meet, in all cases, the advance 8 week request for assessments as already outlined in our contracts. Please feel free to email or call the EPA team to discuss individual issues.
We would like to thank you all for your continued dedication and commitment.
The NSHCS EPA team have been working on an alternative solution for delivering EPAs during the pandemic and we are pleased to announce that our proposed solution has been approved for delivery by the IFATE. This solution comprises of some modifications of how the EPA elements for the level 2 and 4 Healthcare Science standards are delivered and will allow apprentices to proceed with their End Point Assessment without further delay.
At the moment we are proposing the implementation of this solution from May -July 2020, this will of course, be reviewed in line with government guidelines around Covid 19 and updates will be provided by the EPA team accordingly.
Existing Training Providers will receive a more detail email on the 29th April.
If existing or new Training Providers would like more information on this alternative EPA delivery method please contact the EPA team.
The NSHCS EPA service has taken into account restrictions that NHS employers have placed on their employees in line with government guidelines on Covid-19. These restrictions affect both apprentices and assessors as they are all in active service. We are, therefore, postponing all EPAs planned over the next 12 weeks for:
- Level 4 Healthcare science associate (ST0220)
- Level 2 Healthcare science assistant (ST0218)
We are grateful for your patience as we plan how the pending EPAs will be delivered, following guidance from the Apprenticeships governing bodies (IfATE and ESFA) and in consultation with our External Quality Assurer (Academy for Healthcare Science). We have scheduled an email update to our apprenticeship providers for 1 May. In the interim, please keep referring to this webpage for other EPA related information.
The National School of Healthcare Science will seek to take a reasonable, balanced and pragmatic approach with respect to the impact upon apprenticeship End-point Assessments on account of the Covid-19 outbreak. The NSHCS EPA service will contact and work with individual providers and employers taking a risk-based approach to facilitate planned EPAs and we will follow ongoing guidance released by the Department for Education and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
Please read the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) statement about the Government ‘break in learning’ rule for apprentices affected by Coronavirus.
As we are alerted to advice and guidance, information will be updated here but we advise that you also consult the DfE and IfATE websites.
FAQs for stakeholders using the NSHCS EPA service
Will assessors be reimbursed for any travel or accommodation already booked if a scheduled EPA does not go ahead?
Yes. Please follow the School’s normal expense process and you will be reimbursed.
If EPAs cannot go ahead will Training Providers/ Employer Providers still be charged for the planned assessment?
No, however we rely on notification from Training Providers and Employers of any cancellations as soon as possible. Please check ESFA site for guidance on apprenticeships, as there has been dispensation on funding.
What will happen if the apprentice’s contract is due to end prior to the EPA being scheduled/ re-scheduled?
Please see the ESFA Website on dispensation on funding. The School’s website will also feature updates on this.
This will be reviewed by the EPA team on case by case basis using a risk- based approach. We will liaise and work together with Training Providers and Employers accordingly.
As per current government guidelines, evidence rules for gateway still apply, advice should be sought from your awarding body and the DfE website.
This is potentially likely, due to changing staffing levels within the School, however the EPA team will endeavour to operate as normal and manage this. Relevant parties will be notified of any delays directly.