This section aims to answer questions related to our Pre-Access qualifications.

Pre-Access FAQs
Do we have to offer Access to HE Diplomas in order to offer Pre-Access qualifications?

No, but you need to be a recognised centre. You should also have a definite progression route in mind for these learners (usually an Access to HE Diploma with another local provider) and work with that progression partner to ensure that you are shaping an appropriate programme for your learners that will support their progression and to ensure that the progression partner has a good understanding of what learners coming to them with a Pre-Access qualification has achieved.

Is it an issue if we offer Access to HE Diplomas through another validating agency, not Gateway Qualifications?

No, not at all. Our Pre-Access qualifications are designed to provide progression to Access to HE Diplomas, regardless of validating agency.

Do we have to go through the same recognition process as for an Access to HE Diploma?

No, it’s a simpler process. If you are already a Gateway Qualifications recognised centre, then you will simply need to complete a qualification approval form.

If you are not already a Gateway Qualifications recognised centre, then you will need to go through the centre approval process, and as part of this you will complete the same qualification approval form.

Gateway Qualifications staff will support you through this process.

How are the Pre-Access qualifications fundable?

They are funded through the Adult Skills Budget, using the standard funding formula. Depending on whether they fall in the base rate or low rate, they will be funded at £1,265 or £1,417 for the Certificate, and £1,987 or £2,225 for the Diploma. Business and Law are at base rate; the other are at low rate.

Full details about funding for all our qualifications are available on our funding page.

Do you have to use these qualifications to support progression to Access to HE Diplomas or can they be used in other contexts?

The qualifications have been specifically designed to support this particular progression route – combining the study skills needed in an Access Diploma (and in HE itself) and the vocational content that will provide a stepping stone to an Access Diploma, as well as mirroring the assessment approach.

However, they can be used in other contexts, if as a provider you have identified that one of these qualification offers the learner the right package of knowledge and skills to support their progression on another valid route. One of SFA’s requirements was that the qualifications should equip leaners with vocational skills and knowledge that would be transferable to other settings, if they decided not to progress to an Access to HE Diploma.

So they have a validity and credibility in and of themselves and not just as a vehicle for progression to an Access course.

Can any learner take the Pre-Access qualifications?

They must be 18+.

To be eligible for funding they must meet the SFA’s eligibility criteria set out in the latest funding guidance document. In general, if a learner has not already achieved a full Level 2 then they will be eligible. If they have already achieved a full Level 2, it may not be appropriate for them to be taking a further Level 2 qualification of this size in any case.

How are these qualifications different from Gateway Qualifications' other Level 2 vocational qualifications?

The Pre-Access qualifications have been developed with a particular learner group (adults) and a particular progression route (Access to HE Diplomas) in mind. They therefore combine vocational content with study skills – rather than with employability skills as our Skills for Business or Skills for Health and Social Care do. They are also graded, unlike most of our Level 2 vocational qualification, and have as a mandatory unit an extended project which is specifically designed to give learners the opportunity to develop the research, writing and presentation skills they will need as they prepare for HE. The assessment for this mandatory unit is also synoptic and summative, which is not the case for our other vocational qualifications.

How did you decide what these qualifications should look like?

We worked very closely with existing providers who were already running Pre-Access courses to determine what they wanted, in terms of structure and content. There was a lot of consensus around this but also areas of difference. For example, some providers wanted some mandatory study skills content while others didn’t.

We have tried to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the different priorities. We decided to keep the mandatory units to a minimum, enabling providers to create courses to match their learners needs; some will require all of their learners to include the Effective Learning unit while others may use it for some learners and not others, or possibly decide to not use it at all.

We were also very much influenced by the guidance we received from the SFA about what they would approve for funding at Level 2, as it is essential that learners can be funded to take the qualifications.

How did you decide which titles to develop and are you planning any others?

As a starting point, we took those sectors for which our Access to HE providers have the highest numbers. We then tested these out with providers to see if these areas were also the priorities for them, and by large, they were. In particular, Health, Social Care and Social Work emerged as an area in which providers were experiencing high levels of interest in Access to HE Diplomas from learners who were not yet ready to work at Level 3.

If we can establish sufficient demand for further titles then we would certainly consider adding to the suite; although we will try to follow the principle we have already established with the first five, that a single Pre-Access title should provide  progression to multiple, broadly-related Access to HE Diplomas.

What is the cost of the qualifications themselves?

Gateway Qualifications charges £102 per Certificate and £118 per Diploma.