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Gateway Qualifications continues to work closely with its regulators (Ofqual, QAA, Qualifications Wales) to ensure delivery and assessment can continue to take place during the 2020-21 academic year.

We are also following Public Health England guidance to protect our staff, EQAs and Moderators during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We will continue to add to this page to provide updates to our response and any actions Centres should take as the situation develops.

The frequently asked questions section should help you find the answers to the most common queries we are receiving.

Page Last Updated: 2nd March 2021

Regulators’ web pages

QAA for Access to HE Diplomas – https://www.accesstohe.ac.uk/

Ofqual for RQF qualifications – https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofqual

Delivering, Assessing and Awarding learners during the academic year 2020-21

Our latest guidance on the new Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF), its predecessor, the Extended ERF, and the adaptations centres may wish to consider are on our dedicated Supporting Centres in 2020-2021 webpage.

Supporting Centres in 2020-2021 – dedicated webpage

Update 2nd March 2021: QAA has released an update for Access to HE students and providers on the Assessment and Award of the Access to HE Diploma in 2020-21.

Update 25th February 2021: Ofqual has confirmed that it will implement a new Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF) for awarding vocational and technical qualifications in 2021. Read more about this announcement in our news update.

Update 5th February 2021: Gateway Qualifications is allowing learners to take Essential Digital Skills live assessments remotely from 8th February 2021 during the current national lockdown.

Update 13th January 2021: The Department for Education has clarified that assessments which have been scheduled during January 2021 may still take place. If you have scheduled an externally set assessment, for example for Essential Digital Skills or ESOL, you can go ahead and conduct the assessment if you are able to do in a safe way. Alternatively, since all our assessments are available on-demand, you may rebook the assessments free of charge, following our normal processes.

Update 19th October 2020: Additional guidance on the Extended ERF and the adaptations centres may wish to consider are now on our dedicated Supporting Centres in 2020-2021 webpage.

Update: 12th October 2020: Ofqual has confirmed that it is implementing its proposals for the Extended ERF from today.  Gateway Qualifications Centres should attend one of our two webinars to find out more and hear details about the adaptations that will be permitted for our qualifications during 2020-21.

General Adaptions Webinar – this webinar covers all qualifications except Access to HE Diplomas and ESOL Skills for Life.

ESOL Adaptations webinar

Update: 22nd September 2020: AoC, AELP, HOLEX, FAB, JCQ and Ofqual, have released a joint statement outlining their commitment to work together and streamline centre-facing communications over the current academic year. As a first step, they have jointly agreed that, by 23 October, awarding organisations will have started to communicate to centres their planned approach to any adaptations to their qualifications for 2020/21, to assist in mitigating disruption to teaching, learning and assessments so that, as far as possible, learners have the opportunity to receive fair results in 2020 to 2021 and are not disadvantaged by the longer-term impacts of the pandemic.

We appreciate that managing how you support your learners this academic year will be challenging and may vary across locations as the need for social distancing and additional local restrictions continues.

Our qualifications and assessment approaches include a high degree of flexibility which we believe will enable you to meet your requirements in most cases.

Ofqual is consulting until 20th September on a further draft version of the Extended ERF as it implements its approach to the assessment and awarding of Vocational, Technical and other General Qualifications in 2020 to 2021.

In parallel to Ofqual’s development of the Extended ERF, we are developing guidance to help Centres deliver, assess and award our qualifications in the uncertain circumstances of this academic year. Once the Extended ERF is confirmed and implemented, we will be providing further support to help Centres ensure they are able to meet their learners’ needs and local requirements when delivering and assessing qualifications.

Flexible delivery and assessment methods are a feature of most of our qualifications, meaning that many of the challenges Centres are facing can already be overcome within the requirements for our qualifications. Please do ensure that when adapting your delivery models you are still able to meet the requirements set out in the Centre Handbook and relevant Qualification Specifications.

In order to make awarding your learners as straight forward as possible in the event of any disruption to learning or assessment this year you might also want to consider;

  • Registering learners as early as possible to ensure they are recorded on our systems.
  • Selecting units as soon as you know what you will be delivering. This will allow us to plan more effectively and offer more targeted support in the event that courses cannot be completed in the usual way. Please follow our usual guidance when doing this: Registering Learners – Selecting Units at Registration and Registering Learners – Selecting Units at a Later Date.
  • Claim regularly for completed qualifications or partial achievement of larger qualifications. There is no limit to the number of times you can claim, and you will not be charged any more for doing so. By “banking” achievement throughout the year, you will ease the evidence burden in the event that learning is disrupted later in the course.

External Quality Assurance, Moderation and Remote Sampling

The requirements for remote sampling and any visits are the same as we would require when an EQA visits a Centre.

We are continuing with external quality assurance and moderation activity and have put in place a system to undertake this activity remotely. We have prepared this guide to help you prepare for remote sampling and visits.

Getting Ready for Remote Sampling and Meetings – Centre Guidance March 2020

Contacting Us

Please continue to contact us in the usual manner, all staff have access to email and we recently introduced a new phone system which enables all staff to have full access to our telephone system when away from the office so all calls to our office numbers will be answered.

If you know which member of staff you need to speak to you may find it quicker to contact them on their direct dial number. Contact numbers and emails for each department can be found on our meet the team pages.

Awarding Learners due to complete by 31st July 2020

Having worked within the Vocational and Technical Qualification extraordinary regulatory framework provided by Ofqual, we have been able to assign grades to our learners to enable them to progress to the next stage of their learning or employment, despite the extraordinary circumstances that we have all found ourselves in this year.

In some limited cases, claims under the ERF can still be made. If you have any learners who cannot be awarded using our normal procedures, please contact us to find out if they are eligible and how to proceed.

Access to HE students have received calculated grades in line with QAA guidance for all those due to complete by 31 July 2020. These results have been confirmed and uploaded to UCAS. The appeals process has now concluded in line with QAA timescales.

More details about how awarding took place during the summer of 2020 are still available on our dedicated webpage for reference only.

We have now returned to our usual RAC and Direct Entry results submissions processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I delay or rebook an assessment?

Yes – If an externally set assessment needs to be rebooked (e.g. ESOL assessments or Online multiple-choice assessments) you should follow our normal process for cancelling or rebooking an external assessment. There is no charge for cancelling or rebooking.

Can I conduct an assessment via video conference?

If the assessment is a presentation, discussion, Q&A or similar, then yes, a video conference can be used to carry the assessment out. Please ensure that you are able to verify the learner’s identity and meet the assessment and quality assurance requirements and controls.

We are not currently able to approve externally set assessments to be invigilated via video conference.

This answer includes all qualifications including Access to HE.

Awarding and Certification
Are you still certificating?

We will continue to process results as normal and have enabled eCertificates for all Centres. We are not currently printing certificates so please follow the guidance on how to produce eCertificates if you require a certificate urgently. Once we are able to resume certificate printing, we will provide printed certificates for Centres that require them.

Is an eCertifcate the same as a printed certificate?

Yes, an eCertificate has the same authenticity and validity as a paper certificate. Each eCertificate has a QR code which can be scanned using a smart device to confirm its authenticity on the AuthentiQual platform. Alternatively, you may use our free Certificate Authentication service to confirm the authenticity of any paper or eCertifcate issued by Gateway Qualifications.

Can I claim for the work learners have completed so far?

Yes you can. We will issue you an eCertificate for any achievements. You can still claim again if the learners are able to complete additional units.

Can I get a replacement certificate?

We are also not currently able to print or post replacement certificates. If you require a replacement certificate, please follow the usual process and we will process your request once printing resumes. If you urgently require a replacement, please complete the appropriate form and then email enquiries@gatewayqualifications.org.uk with details.

Should I still register my learners at this time?

Yes, if learning has commenced whether in the classroom or at home, registration must continue as normal in accordance with our usual registration timelines.

I need to change my delivery or assessment method, what should I do?

If your Centre is making significant changes to the way you deliver any qualifications, please notify us so we can provide appropriate support.

This answer includes all qualifications including Access to HE.

Can I use a unit from a different qualification to replace a unit I can no longer teach?

Unfortunately, despite the circumstances, we are not able to revise qualification structures.  However, we are able to support the centre in advising on alternative delivery approaches or selecting alternative units in order that learners can complete the qualification.  If you are unable to deliver a unit remotely, due to its practical nature you may choose an alternative unit from the qualification provided the rules of combination can still be met.

This answer includes all qualifications including Access to HE.

Learners are unable to complete what do I do?

You can claim for any work the learners have completed, that has been assessed and quality assured. We will issue an eCertificate. You can still claim again if the learners are able to complete additional units in the future.

Do you have any resources I can use to support learning from home?

Yes, we have a list of suggested resources to support your delivery which you may find helpful if you are required to set additional work for learners to complete independently or remotely. If you have any other resources you would like to share, please email qualdev@gatewayqualifications.org.uk

I am having to postpone my course do I need to extend my cohort end date on Quartz?

This won’t be necessary as claims can be made even after the end date of the course, this allows the flexibility required to meet various learner requirements.

We would recommend if you are selecting units at a later stage to ensure this is done before the cohort end date as the ability to select units is removed once the end date has passed.

Is the office still open?

We are continuing with home working for all staff. Staff are contactable through the usual routes and we have been able to provide the high levels of service you expect from us.

Our phone system enables all staff to have full access to our telephone system when away from the office so all calls to our office numbers will be answered. If you know which member of staff you need to speak to you may find it quicker to contact them on their direct dial number. These numbers can be found on our meet the team pages and in our email signatures.

Face to Face meetings are still taking place with customers through the use of a number of different video conference and virtual meeting solutions and we are happy to arrange this when required.

Can I post completed assessments or portfolios to you?

We have introduced electronic submission and remote sampling for all qualifications.

Please avoid sending any learner work by post whilst the office remains closed. Please store any originals securely in line with the guidance provided in the Centre Handbook.