End-point assessment News


Christmas Opening times and Exam bookings

NCFE will be closing for Christmas on Friday 18 December until Monday January 2021.Please see information below for exam bookings for paper-based, online or proctor exams:

Paper-based exams

  • No paper exams can be booked to occur between Monday 14/12/20 and Friday 8/1/21 (inclusive). The last date that a paper exam can take place is Wednesday 16/12/20, in order for the papers to be returned and marked in time before the office closure.  

Any exams that are to occur the week commencing 4/1/21 must be booked prior to Friday 11/12/20 (will be despatched week commencing 14/12/20, so there must be someone available to sign for them and secure them).  If a booking is submitted between Monday 11/12/20 and Friday 18/12/20, the earliest date the paper-based exam can occur is Monday 18/1/20 as these will be despatched after Xmas.  The normal 10 day lead in time is required once we return on Monday 4/1/21.

Online or Proctor exams

  • No online or proctor exams can be booked to occur between Friday 18/12/20 and Monday 4/1/21 (inclusive). The last date that an online/proctor exam can take place will be Thursday 17/12/20.  This must be booked by 10/12/2020.

If booked prior to Friday 18/12/20, bookings can be made to recommence from Tuesday 5/1/20.  The normal 5 day lead in time for bookings is required once we return on Monday 4/1/20.

Gateway requests

The last date in 2020 that you may submit a Gateway request, and be guaranteed to have this reviewed before Christmas; is Friday 11 December 2020.

All Gateway requests received before 4.30pm on Friday 11 December, will be processed before Christmas.

This means that when the Gateway Audit is completed, and the evidence presented meets the Gateway requirements, you will be contacted, by the allocated Independent End Point Assessor (IEPA), before our Christmas shut down, which begins on Friday 18 December at 4.30pm. The IEPA will arrange the assessment activities for that apprentices’ EPA, which will  take place after the Christmas break, in line with our SLA.

If, when the Gateway Audit is undertaken, the evidence is incomplete, you will receive notification by email. This email will outline what evidence is missing or incomplete. If you are unable to provide the missing or complete evidence by 4.30pm on the 11 December we cannot guarantee that you will be contacted before Christmas, to arrange EPA assessment, which will  take place after the Christmas break, in line with our SLA.

We will continue to receive Gateway Requests during the week of 14 -18 December but do not guarantee that you will receive feedback on the outcome of the Gateway Audit, or be contacted by an IEPA, to arrange EPA dates, for any gateway requests received during this week. EPA Plus return to usual working hours and SLAs from 8.30 am on Monday 4 January 2021.

Webinar recordings

We’ve been hosting monthly ‘check in’ webinars to provide all our customers with regular updates throughout the year. If you missed these and would like to watch them, you can view all of the previous webinars here

Our next webinar is going to be hosted on 10 December and we’re moving to a more consistent agenda, we’ll be covering process changes, platform changes, new product and service developments and much more. Sign up here - we’ll email out slides and recordings to everyone who signs up.

Team Leader/Supervisor changes

We recently announced that we planned to assess apprentices on Version 2 from 1 February 2021 but due to customer feedback we have extended this date and will now be going live with Version 2 from 1 April 2021. Any apprentices that request EPA and successfully pass through Gateway from 1 April 2021 will be assessed on Version 2.  Special considerations can be requested for any apprentices that customers feel will not be able to be assessed on Version 2 from 1 April 2021.

Level 2 Apprenticeships Functional Skills Requirements

The updated apprenticeship funding rules include the current temporary suspension of the rule requiring level 2 apprentices to study towards, and attempt, Level 2 Functional Skills assessments until 31 December 2020.

Due to ongoing disruptions to assessments, it has been announced that this suspension is being extended until 31 March 2021. A Level 2 apprentice will still require a Level 1 Functional Skills in English and/or maths to complete their apprenticeship. The temporary suspension applies to both apprenticeship standards and frameworks.

EPA Dates

To ensure assessments can be allocated the earliest available date can you please ensure that apprentices are registered on SEPA a minimum of 90 days before their expected EPA date.  Please also ensure that you check the Expected EPA date is correct and amend this accordingly NCFE to use this information to ensure resource is in place to meet any EPA requests.

De-activating and withdrawing apprentices

If an apprentice is no longer continuing with their apprenticeship they should be removed from the SEPA platform. This can be done by changing their status to withdrawn on the EPA details tab and then de-activating them using the appropriate button in the top right of the platform.

Secure client/Online assessments

Now that assessments can once again be invigilated in person more of our providers are opting for this option. Where this option is chosen we recommend downloading the newest version of SecureClient to the device that the assessment will be taking place on. The software provider has issued a number of updates since March and older versions of the software can cause issues

Proctor Exams

Please ensure that the email address that is being provided for the apprentice to receive links for the proctor exam is correct before the date of the exam, If the email address is incorrect and needs to be amended please contact [email protected]

Assessment attendance

Unless otherwise required by the assessment plan, no person(s) other than the apprentice and NCFE EPA Plus staff should be present during an assessment conducted by an IEPA.  Should any unauthorised person be present, it may invalidate the assessment.

Ongoing standard dispensations

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education have updated their Covid-19 guidance. In this guidance, they highlight that for any standard with a flexibility applied, at least 12 weeks’ notice will be given before removing a flexibility.

You can find the list of all standards that have had flexibilities applied on the IfATE website.

All dispensation documentation should be uploaded to SEPA at the point of Gateway for all apprentices undertaking an impacted standard. This means that flexibility specific reflective accounts, witness testimonies and observation records need to be uploaded prior to Gateway.

Identification checks

Apprentices need to identify themselves with photo ID during assessment. Please ensure that apprentices are aware of and prepared for this requirement. Assessment results may be invalidated where apprentices are unable to produce identification. This includes both proctored and IEPA led assessments.

Gateway evidence - qualifications

Where qualifications are required for Gateway evidence, the upload must contain all the relevant information in a clear and legible format. This can include the full name of the apprentice, the full name of the qualification with qualifications code (not just the units achieved), date of achievement, awarding organisation and qualification level (where relevant). For details of relevant qualifications, check the ESFA’s guidance.

Gateway declarations forms

All standards have their own Gateway declaration documents that capture our regulatory requirements to conduct EPA, including confirmation from the apprentice that we can claim their apprenticeship certificate, upon completion.

EPA Plus have created these documents, available on SEPA and the new resources platform to satisfy these requirements, please ensure that you are using our Gateway declarations to minimise later delays. These declarations must be signed by the employer, provider, and apprentices.

Where these documents have a typed signature, please upload an email trail as confirmation of authenticity, from the typed signee.

Certification declarations

We no longer require certificate claims forms, signed by the apprentice to be sent to us after completion of EPA. Our Gateway declaration forms, submitted at gateway capture authorisation from the apprentice.

Gateway Requests - Teaching Assistant

The Teaching Assistant Standard requires evidence of attendance for Safeguarding and Prevent training, Although this is not listed as a Gateway requirement, we are asking customers to upload this evidence to SEPA when requesting EPA as it is stated within the Assessment Plan that the evidence is required.  If the evidence is not present when the Gateway audit is completed the NCFE EPA Plus team will be in touch to request this evidence is uploaded to SEPA before the request can be approved.

Current versions

Please ensure that you are using the most up to date version of the guidance documents. All of the latest versions are available on the EPA resources library.

New Resources

New resources have been added for the following standards:

  • Lead Practitioner in Adult Care
  • Team Leading Version 2
  • Learning Mentor
  • Assessor Coach

EPA Standard Timeline

The EPA timeline details the standards we have applied for and those that we have approval to deliver. The timeline details when the guidance materials, sample materials and video content will be available, as well as when the standard will be live.

There has also been a new EPA FAQs that has been added to the resources library and this is a great resource for apprentices.

  • EPA FAQs – Apprentice Resource

Gateway Checklists

Gateway checklists have been created to support the gateway process, the checklists are available for each standard and cover all mandatory requirements for Gateway.

Please note the Gateway checklists are guidance documents only and are not required to be uploaded to SEPA.The Gateway checklists can also be found on the EPA Resources Area

Business Administrator

Following communication from Open Awards, any apprentices coming through EPA from 1 October 2021 will be assessed under the new version 3 of the assessment plan. Changes to the assessment plan include the way the Portfolio-based Interview and Project Presentation is graded and that all assessment methods are now weighted equally. EPA Plus will not be assessing to version 2 of the assessment plan which was only available for 6 weeks, however we will support customers in understanding the changes fully and an updated specification and guidance document will be released on 1 November 2020 to reflect these changes. The updated guidance document will sit alongside the current specification and guidance which will still be valid for apprentices being assessed on the original version before 1 October 2021.

Customer Service Practitioner

From 1 December the assessment of the Showcase will be followed by a ‘Showcase Interview’, enabling the apprentice to present their showcase to the IEPA in line with the assessment plan. The updated specification and guidance will be updated on 1 October to reflect this.

Make an enquiry

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Our EPA Plus Services team can advise and help you navigate your end-point assessment journey.

Give us a call: 0191 240 8950

Email: [email protected]

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