Introduction and purpose
This policy applies to the Healthcare Science Apprenticeship End Point Assessments (EPA) provided by the National School of Healthcare (NSHCS) – henceforth referred to as the School.
The principle purpose of this policy is to ensure that no apprentice registered with the School to undertake their EPA is advantaged or disadvantaged by any EPA processes instigated by the School.
The School is a directorate of NHS Health Education England (HEE) and this policy is underpinned by the core values of HEE.
The policy will be facilitated by training and guidance for all School staff, EPA assessors, EPA contributors and relevant others on how the principle purpose described above must be fulfilled.
Principles for management
- The School is committed to fair access to its services. The School’s senior management together with the School’s Apprenticeship Lead will ensure that processes and procedures are in place that enable the policy to be enacted and managed.
- All staff and EPA contributors will be required to complete and keep up to date training in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
- The School’s EPA assessment unit will be responsible for ensuring that all within the scope of this policy are aware of the requirements of the policy.
Scope of the policy
The policy applies to all:
- apprentices that register with the School for their EPA including, but not exclusively, those with protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act
- EPA contributors engaged by the School for its EPA provision
- EPA administrators and other School staff that may be involved in the development and delivery of the EPA and any related advisory services provided by the School
- EPA administrators will monitor and maintain records of completion and update of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training for all EPA contributors.
- Apprentices will be encouraged, on application to register for the EPA, to request any required access arrangements or reasonable adjustments, providing evidence as appropriate. Apprentices must submit their request via the ‘Process for reasonable adjustments form‘.
- Apprentices will be encouraged to request access adjustments if they become apparent post-application to the EPA.
- Apprentices will also be able to apply for mitigating circumstances to be taken into account after the EPA event if a temporary injury, illness or other affected their performance on the day of the EPA. Apprentices must submit their request via the ‘Notification of mitigating circumstances form‘.
- EPA administrators will be trained to review requested adjustments fairly and make reasonable provisions to ensure apprentices have fair access to the components of their EPA so long as they do not undermine the stated purpose of the EPA, including liaising with the apprentice’s employer for requirements for any components of the EPA delivered in the apprentice’s workplace.
- Where it is not reasonably possible to apply the requested access adjustments, or if the requested access adjustments compromise the purpose of the EPA, the School will communicate this to the apprentice and their employer clearly stating the reasons.
- EPA component developers will be trained to incorporate fair access to all components of the assessment.
- EPA administrators and assessors will ensure that the approved adjustments are applied during the assessment events.
- As part of the EPA standardisation process, the data related to achievements of the EPA will be reviewed for bias.
The ultimate responsibility for the Fair Access to the EPA policy, dissemination of the policy and management of potential and actual conflicts of interest rests with the School’s senior management. In some cases, it may be necessary for the School’s senior management to seek advice on a resolution of a case from the EPA’s external quality assurer, the Academy for Healthcare Science, in order to manage conflicts arising regarding fair access.
Advice and guidance
Any required guidance regarding fair access to the EPA will be directed in the first instance to the Apprenticeship Lead. If an apprentice or their employer has an issue regarding fair access to EPA components or an EPA event, they can refer to the EPA complaints and appeals policy.
All policies related to the School’s EPA provision will be publicly available on the School’s website for review by apprentices, employers and all other interested parties.