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The COVID-19 situation remains changeable but we remain available to support. We are following advice given in public announcements made by the government as well as guidance provided to us by our regulators.

This page provides information about how we are working and the most up-to-date information on delivery and assessment of our qualifications.

Quick links

Previous updates

Contacting us

We remain available on +44 (0)20 3994 9500 and awards.support@ymca.co.uk. However, to support our staff whilst they’re working from home, we have amended our opening hours to:

Monday: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Tuesday – Friday: 09.15 am – 5.00 pm

We are temporarily suspending availability of our support team on Saturdays.

If you have any concerns about the changes in our availability, please let us know.

Breaks from learning

YMCA Awards registrations are valid for 3 years and so it’s possible for your learners to take a break from their qualification (if that is in their best interests).

When learners return following breaks from learning, we expect our centres to complete checks to ensure they have retained their knowledge, skill and understanding – usually in the form of a professional discussion. Where you’re unsure that knowledge, skill or understanding has been retained, you should support the learner to recap the topic to get them back to the required standard.

We often request evidence of how you’ve evaluated and supported learners returning from breaks in learning so please ensure you document the process. If you’re unsure how to approach this, please get in touch.

Distanced delivery

YMCA Awards already has processes in place to support customers who wish to deliver some or all of the theory components for our qualifications remotely. If you wish to make changes to your delivery model to include more distanced learning, please get in touch so we can talk to you about your plans.

We offer a range of eLearning to support distanced delivery but would still expect you to complete checks on the learner’s knowledge and progress before putting them forward for assessment. Training Providers who do distanced learning well, ensure that learners have regular access to a tutor who can answer their questions (both in one on one and group settings). This can be achieved through regular phone calls or utilising web conferencing solutions like Skype, Teams or Zoom.

It’s important to remember that increasing your proportion of distanced delivery will likely mean learners take longer to complete their qualification.

We’re continuing to use our knowledge and experience to ensure the best outcomes for our learners whilst retaining the quality synonymous with our brand. Over the past few weeks, we have been reviewing the assessment elements of our most popular qualifications and developing additional resources to support distanced delivery and assessment.

On 22 May 2020, Ofqual released a new regulatory framework, providing a framework to allow Awarding Organisations to make changes to their normal assessment and quality assurance arrangements.

Find out more about the extraordinary regulatory framework

External assessment

We’re pleased to confirm that external assessments may now resume where:

  • government guidance on travelling and social distancing can be followed
  • learners are willing to attend face to face assessment
  • completing assessments will not breach any of the conditions outlined in our External Assessment Policy

We are continuing to work with our partners to fast-track existing plans to roll out a remote invigilation solution (eProctoring) which enables learners to sit online assessments using their own PC or laptop, with invigilation carried out via their webcam. We will not be able to offer this for free but we will negotiate the best possible price.

Practical assessment

On 18 May 2020, CIMSPA released new guidance to support Awarding Organisations in making adaptations to personal training qualifications, whilst retaining endorsement. We have now reviewed our qualifications and published the following guidance on permitted adaptations for our:

Please be aware, you will need to email awards.quality@ymca.co.uk at least 5 working days before completing remote practical assessment to support external quality assurance activity.

We are contining our discussions with CIMSPA and other Awarding Organisations regarding other qualifications offered by YMCA Awards. We will add further information as this becomes available. Until further guidance is issued, summative practical assessment cannot take place for Gym Instructing and Group Exercise qualifications whilst:

  • gyms and leisure facilities remain closed
  • social distancing guidelines are in place.

This is because learners cannot fully demonstrate the occupational competence required for these qualifications without the use of a formal fitness environment. Please continue to get in touch with us if you would like to discuss making adaptions for qualifications not endorsed by CIMSPA.

Use of video in practical assessment

Given that we expect the majority of practical assessments, where permitted to continue, to be carried out using video conferencing, we are temporarily suspending the usual requirements for centres to seek prior approval to use video evidence. This applies to all the qualifications where we have provided written guidance on permitted adaptations. It does not apply to qualifications where we have identified that practical assessment should be delayed.

When carrying out practical assessment remotely, using video conferencing solutions, you should support your learners to understand how to use the selected platform and should make a recording that can be made available for internal and external quality assurance. You should refer to our policy on Video evidence in practical assessments for detailed guidance which includes information on retaining evidence for both internal and external quality assurance purposes. Your YMCA Awards EQA will ask to sample video evidence where this has been used to make an assessment decision so you should ensure that this is available in an accessible format.

Qualifications which do not require adaptation

For some of our qualifications, the assessment is principally knowledge-based and assessed through completion of a learner assessment record (LAR) or other form of portfolio. These qualifications can continue to be delivered and assessed either remotely or in, some cases, within educational settings which learners are able to access.

There may be some instances where an activity provided in the LAR will require some adaptation which you should discuss as a teaching, assessment and internal quality assurance team to decide what is appropriate for your context and learners. For example, a learner presentation to their peers face-to-face may not be possible but this could be conducted using a video conferencing platform. Wherever adaptations of this type are made the following should be kept in mind:

  • does the assessment enable the learner to sufficiently demonstrate achievement of the assessment criterion the task is testing?
  • what additional guidance is needed to help prepare the learner for this adapted assessment?

View the list of qualifications that do not require adapation

External quality assurance activity

We have taken the decision that all external quality assurance activity will be completed remotely until further notice. This remains in line with our external quality assurance policy and we don’t expect this to negatively affect the support we can offer during the current period. Remote external quality assurance activities can include review of:

  • learner assessment evidence (including video evidence of practical assessments)
  • internal quality assurance records
  • staff training and standardisation activities
  • centre policies and procedures
  • learner progression.

We are aware that there is a possibility you may not be able to provide learner evidence and associated documentation if this is stored at a location you are currently unable to access. Where this is the case, we will work with you to agree a way forward.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accept claims for achievement without sufficient evidence to sample but we will make whatever adaptions to our usual expectations and requirements that we can, without compromising standards.

If you require external quality assurance activity to be completed, please email awards.quality@ymca.co.uk. Alternatively, we will contact centres where we identify external quality assurance needs to be completed as a result of claims submitted on Parnassus.

Certificates

We do not expect to be able to print or dispatch certificates until restrictions on travel and work are lifted. We will continue to issue electronic certificates and contact providers as these are published.

Recruiting learners

A key part of each of our centres’ operations is recruiting learners on to our qualifications. We understand that many of our customers are already feeling the impact of COVID-19 in this area and want to do what we can to help with creative and practical solutions.

Earlier this month, we communicated price changes from 1 August 2020 and an immediate 20% reduction in the fee for our eLearning bundles. We have now reviewed our minimum spend requirement and will not be enforcing this for the current academic year.

Future updates

We will continue to provide updates each week to make sure you are well informed of arrangements. 

Useful links

Latest information and advice
Guidance for educational settings