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To help you understand the full structure and processes of delivering an Access to HE Diploma, we have created a detailed timeline to explain the activities and deadlines that feature throughout the year.

The year in this instance is the academic year but all information, timeframes and deadlines mentioned below are still relevant and valid whenever you begin teaching a diploma – ie January to December.

Before the course


  • Make sure all staffing resources are in place
  • Staff are up to date with training
  • Review learner and centre handbooks, ensuring they outline expectations, processes and policies, submission, academic conduct
  • Induction for learners
  • Review and update any interal reports and Internal Verification (IV) materials from the previous year

Learner interviews and IAG

  • Guidance on learner loans
  • Review destinations; what are they looking to do afterwards
  • Appropriateness of the diploma; are learners on the correct diploma?
  • Consider RPL/credit transfer requirements if learner has been on an alternative diploma


  • Moderation reports
  • Actions from last academic years

Units and assessment methods

  • Review units from last year and where appropriate, use the assessment guidance to modify assessment strategy for the year

Add value to your leaners

  • Consider an ungraded unit that supports mental health, wellbeing and other social issues. Promoting Wellbeing and Building Resilience unit prepares learners to cope with the pressures of competing life balances; study, family, work. Link to article
  • Another ungraded unit available in all Access to HE Diplomas is Preparation for Higher Education, to support research of potential degree courses, as well as exploring universities and writing personal statements.


Modifications – 1 of 2 deadlines during the year

  • Submit modification request forms for consideration by 15th September for any revisions, both minor and major
  • Remember – HEI support needs to be gained prior to submitting the modification process

September/October (first 4 weeks)

  • Begin teaching and complete progress checks to assess learners prior to registration
  • Set up and start tracking learner assessment
  • Provide learners with a course handbook (that you would have prepared in the “before the course” section above)
  • Complete self-assessment report and submit to Gateway Qualifications
  • Review training of any new staff and consider refresher training – we provide free onsite training, at a time and date convenient to you.

6-week deadline

Register learners

  • All Access to HE learners must be registered within 42 days of starting the course. This is a QAA requirement. Registrations will be checked at the initial moderation visit



  • Deadline for early applications via UCAS to Oxford and Cambridge Universities, as well as most medical science degrees.

November – December (8 – 12 weeks)


  • Moderator will contact the Access to HE Coordinator to arrange initial moderation visit
  • Our moderators are allocated a maximum of three diplomas at a centre, meaning larger centres offering a range of diplomas will have more than one moderator
  • Moderators will be closely aligned with diplomas in their subject specialism and complete all moderation duties within the centre

  • Tutors should be sampling and internally verifying completed units
  • Access to HE Coordinator should be preparing for the initial visit. Use our checklist to help gather all relevant documentation.

Initial Moderation Visit

The initial visit will take place within 12 weeks of the start of the course, and once all registrations have been made (see 6-week deadline above) and units have been selected (see 12-week deadline below)

  • You will need to provide the Moderator/Access to HE Manager with a copy of the summary sheet from the Report of Achievement or Completion (RAC) for each diploma being delivered
  • A full class for comparison against RAC will be needed at the visit
  • The Access to HE Coordinator will be required to sign and date a document to state the learner registrations are accurate
  • Other activities that might happen at the initial visit: reviewing the promotion of the course, checking recruitment, interview and induction process, meeting learners to discuss their experiences of the course so far, sampling and moderating assignment briefs for ungraded units, agreeing subject moderation sample.

12-week deadline

Select units

  • After registering learners by 6 weeks, you have a further 6 weeks to ensure all units are registered. This is also a QAA requirement.



  • Deadline for learner applications


Subject Moderation

  • For Access to HE Diplomas with September / October start dates, subject moderation will take place in early Spring
  • Samples will have been agreed for each course at the initial visit
  • Units up to a maximum of 9 credits will be sampled, per diploma
  • Where multiple tutors are delivering a unit, the moderator will sample learner work from each tutor


Modifications – 2 of 2 deadlines during the year

  • Modification request forms for consideration by 30th April for any minor or major changes
  • Remember – HEI support needs to be gained prior to submitting the modification process

Preparing for the end of the Diploma

  1. Diplomas are completed, all work is marked and internally verified by the centre
  2. Internal Exam Board held at centre
  3. Centre uploads completed RACs 24 hours prior to the Final Moderation Visit
  4. Final Moderation Visit takes place – use checklist to ensure you are prepared
  5. Final Awards Board (FAB) takes place 1-2 weeks after the Final Moderation Visit
  6. Any extensions should be presented using the NR form and agreed by the Awards Board, completed forms need to be emailed to Quality
  7. Once all grades are confirmed as correct, moderator verifies results and certificates are printed and sent to the centre

June / July

Planning for the Internal Exam Board

  • Review overall tracking for learners
  • Check for those with extenuating circumstances and who will need extensions. Collate the documentary evidence for them.
  • Update the RAC with the learners’ grades and check for accuracy
  • Learners to prepare a portfolio summary sheet, detailing their achievements in each completed unit

Holding the Internal Exam Board

  • Meeting of Access to HE Diploma tutors to agree final achievements for each learner
  • Use the agenda template provided to help the meeting run smoothly
  • Check everything is ready for the Final Moderation Visit and the FAB
  • Check RACs are accurately completed for each learner
  • Upload all RACs for all Access to HE Diplomas following the Internal Exam Board
  • Minutes of the Internal Exams Board are to be emailed to Moderators at least 24 hours in advance of the Final Moderation Visit
  • Remember that all credits achieved during the Access to HE Diploma, by all learners, must be claimed on the RACs uploaded at this stage

The Final Moderation Visit

Final Moderation is not something you should dread!

  • Download and complete the ‘Getting Ready’ form in readiness for the visit
  • Like all visits by your Centre Moderator, it will be supportive and an opportunity to resolve any issues in time for the FAB, and why we advise a period of 1-2 weeks between Final Moderation Visit and the FAB
  • If your Centre Moderator identities any pressing issues, you will be emailed an urgent actions notification within 2 working days of the visit


Final Awards Board

  • This event happens at the end of and Access to HE Diploma
  • Our FAB Agenda ensures you have all the correct documentation
  • All leaners’ achievements are ratified
  • Includes both full and partial achievements. All credits earned must be claimed.
  • For any learners requiring considerations for extensions, due to extenuating circumstances, completed forms and accompanying evidence must be available and agreed at the FAB
  • The Internal Exams Board will have generated course reports and all other data required at this stage. It is a good idea to make sure key course data for the past three runs of the course is clear in individual reports
  • At least 2 representatives from Gateway Qualifications will be present at each FAB; The Centre Moderator and a 2nd AVA representative
  • You will be emailed details of Gateway Qualifications representatives in advance. Their role is to report on the smooth running of the FAB, for both AVA and QAA purposes.

Celebrating the learners

Each year, Gateway Qualifications proudly represents our Access to HE learners at the Keith Fletcher Memorial Prize. Centres nominate their learners to us. These nominations will be evaluated, with one learner put forward for each of the categories; Outstanding Academic Achievement and Outstanding Commitment to Study – these 2 learners receive a congratulatory £100 voucher from us.

Winners and runners-up in both categories are announced at an event usually hosted at the Houses of Parliament.

For 2017-18, Gateway Qualifications nominee, Michael Allport who studied at Colchester Institute, was named runner-up in the Outstanding Academic Achievement category.

Keith Fletcher runner up story


Learner Certification

  • Certificates are printed once the FAB has taken place and the moderator has verified results
  • Learners who have successfully completed all units will be awarded an Access to HE Diploma
  • Learners who have achieved some units will receive a certificate of credits achieved


  • Learners results are uploaded to UCAS at the end of July and any additional achievements of learners are uploaded to UCAS periodically