31.8.17 SASE Framework Withdrawals Update

Following the announcement made in early January 2017, regarding the withdrawal of a third batch of SASE frameworks, 18 frameworks will be withdrawn to new starts from 1st Oct 2017. The last date for new starts on these frameworks will be 30 September 2017.

The list of Batch 3 frameworks for withdrawal can be found here.

This withdrawal announcement does not impact any current learners on any of these frameworks, as they will continue to complete their Apprenticeship as usual. Once the withdrawal date for a framework has passed, any existing learners will continue to complete their Apprenticeship, on their agreed funding arrangements, and their Apprenticeship Completion Certificate can be claimed as normal.

The last date for new starts on withdrawn Frameworks will be updated on Apprenticeship Certificate England (ACE) and on the learning aims search on the Hub. On the agreed withdrawal date, the Frameworks will be archived on Apprenticeship Frameworks Online.

In due course, the ESFA will announce the proposals for withdrawing the remaining “live” SASE frameworks.

6.1.17 SASE Framework Withdrawals Update

Following a delay, the SFA have now published a third batch of 15 SASE frameworks to be withdrawn. This follows a period of public consultation which ran from 6 July – 3 August 2016. 14 of these frameworks now have replacement Standards that provide good coverage and are approved for delivery. One framework, Professional Development for Work Based Learning Practitioners, has had zero starts in the last two funding years.

These 15 frameworks will be withdrawn to new starts from 1 October 2017. The last date for new starts will be 30 September 2017. The SFA consider 9 months’ notice of withdrawal, for these frameworks, to be both sufficient and reasonable.

SFA have also announced the deferral of the withdrawal date of a further 5 frameworks whose withdrawal was initially announced in May 2016, as part of Batch 2.  This deferral is as a result of further evidence and feedback that has been received, relating to these 5 frameworks.

This withdrawal announcement does not impact any current learners, as they will continue to complete their Apprenticeship framework as usual. Once the withdrawal date for a framework has passed, any existing learners will continue to complete their Apprenticeship, on their agreed funding arrangements, and their Apprenticeship Completion Certificate can be claimed as normal.

The last date for new starts on withdrawn Frameworks will be updated on Apprenticeship Certificate England (ACE) and on the learning aims search on the Hub. On the agreed withdrawal date, the Frameworks will be archived on Apprenticeship Frameworks Online.

Here is a link to the list of Apprenticeship Standards currently available.

SFA will announce the proposals for withdrawing the remaining live SASE, frameworks in the spring.

For further information, please refer to the apprenticeship changes page on GOV.UK or contact the service desk.

14.10.2016 CHANGES TO REQUIREMENTS FOR APPRENTICESHIP STARTS FROM 14 OCTOBER 2016

** FOR SASW APPRENTICESHIPS ONLY**

(ONLY FOR APPRENTICESHIP STARTS FROM 14TH OCTOBER 2016)

 

These changes relate to the Essential Skills and Employer Rights and Responsibilities requirements of a framework and they ONLY apply to new Apprenticeship starts on, or after, 14th October 2016. Apprenticeship starts before this date must continue to meet the 2013 SASW requirements for Essential Skills and Employer Rights and Responsibilities.

Alternatives for Essential Skill qualifications

Foundation apprenticeships (Level 2): Where Essential Skills qualifications are specified in a foundation apprenticeship framework (Level 2), the apprenticeship framework must specify as a Welsh certificate requirement, the acceptance of one of the following recognised proxy qualifications.

For Communication:

  1. GCSE or iGCSE qualification in English language or literature to at least grade G (Level 1 equivalent); or
  2. O Level qualification in English language or literature to at least grade E; or
  3. A/AS Level qualification in English language or literature to at least grade E; or
  4. SCQF Level 4 – Communication Core Skills (Oral communication and written communication); or
  5. SQA National 4 English; or
  6. Functional Skills or Key Skills literacy qualifications in English provided the proxy qualification(s) attained are at Level 1 or above.

For Application of Number:

  1. GCSE or iGCSE qualification in Mathematics to at least grade G (Level 1 equivalent); or
  2. O Level qualification in Mathematics to at least grade E; or
  3. A/AS Level qualification in Mathematics to at least grade E; or
  4. SCQF Level 4 – Numeracy Core Skill (Graphical Information and using number); or
  5. SQA National 4 Mathematics; or
  6. Functional Skills or Key Skills numeracy qualifications in Mathematics provided the proxy qualification(s) attained are at Level 1 or above.

Apprenticeships (Level 3): Where Essential Skills qualifications are specified in an apprenticeship framework (Level 3), the apprenticeship framework must specify as a Welsh certificate requirement, the acceptance of one of the following recognised proxy qualifications.

For Communication:

  1. GCSE or iGCSE qualification in English language or literature to at least grade C (Level 2 equivalent); or
  2. O Level Qualification in English language or literature to at least grade C; or
  3. A/AS Level qualification in English or literature to at least grade E; or
  4. SCQF Level 5 – Communication Core Skills (Oral communication and written communication); or
  5. SQA National 5 English; or
  6. Functional Skills or Key Skills literacy qualifications in English provided the proxy qualification(s) attained is at Level 2 or above.

For Application of Number:

  1. GCSE or iGCSE qualification in Mathematics to at least grade C (Level 2 equivalent); or
  2. O Level Qualification in Mathematics to at least grade C; or
  3. A/AS Level qualification in Mathematics to at least grade E; or
  4. SCQF Level 5 – Numeracy Core Skill (Graphical information and using number); or
  5. SQA National 5 Mathematics; or
  6. Functional Skills or Key Skills numeracy qualifications in Mathematics provided the proxy qualification(s) attained are at Level 2 or above.

Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4-7): Essential Skills requirements are as for an apprenticeship frameworks at Level 3.

Employer Rights and Responsibilities (ERR)

The final modification to SASW is to Employer Rights and Responsibilities (ERR) which is no longer compulsory in frameworks. Please refer to the Employer Rights and Responsibilities section within the framework document to confirm specific requirements.

Additional Information

It should be noted that SASW has also been modified to reflect existing improvements to Essential Skills Wales Qualifications. These improvements to ESW qualifications were signalled by the revised names:

Whilst there have been some amendments to the content of ESW qualifications, the most significant change has been to the assessment methodology for these qualifications.

From 1 January 2016, all new starts have had to follow the revised Essential Skill qualifications.

The updated version of SASW, and guidance documents, can be accessed here:
http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/skillsandtraining/apprenticeships/providers/?lang=en&dgd.

Over the coming months, the Essential Skills section within AFO will be amended to reflect the SASW modifications and all current frameworks will be updated and reissued to incorporate these changes. In the meantime, if you are in any doubt as to the requirements of any framework then please contact the relevant Issuing Authority.

19.07.2016 Framework Transition Updates

BIS announced the 3rd batch of frameworks for withdrawal on 6th July. There is a period of consultation which runs until the 6th of August. The online survey can be accessed here.

The frameworks included in this consultation have:

SFA/BIS will review the consultation feedback and, in September, will announce the final Batch 3 list of frameworks for withdrawal. This will give 6 months’ notice before the date of withdrawal which is set for 31st March 2017.

For further information, please refer to the Apprenticeship Changes page on GOV.UK or email the Service Desk.

25.05.2016 The Staged Withdrawal of SASE Frameworks:

As part of the transition from frameworks to Standards, the withdrawal of some SASE frameworks, for new starts, will commence on 31st May 2016. In March, BIS announced the first batch of apprenticeship frameworks to be removed. These 7 frameworks will be withdrawn, and closed to new starts, from 1st June 2016.

BIS have today published a second batch of 60 Apprenticeship frameworks that will be withdrawn for any new starts from 1 December 2016. These frameworks have had a low number of reported starts in the 2014/2015 and the 2015/2016 funding years or have alternative provision covered by developing Apprenticeship Standards. The last date for new starts on these 60 frameworks will be 30th November 2016.

NB: Any Apprentices currently on any of the frameworks being withdrawn can continue through to completion and will be awarded their Apprenticeship Completion Certificate in the usual way.

The last date for new starts on withdrawn Frameworks will be updated on Apprenticeship Certificate England (ACE) and on the learning aims search on the Hub. On the agreed withdrawal date, the Frameworks will be archived on Apprenticeship Frameworks Online.

02.03.2016 The Staged Withdrawal of SASE Frameworks: The process of withdrawing SASE frameworks for new starts will begin on 31st May 2016

As part of the transition from frameworks to standards, the withdrawal of SASE frameworks for new starts will commence on 31st May 2016. This will be a staged process and will continue until all frameworks are closed in 2020.

NB: An appropriate notice period will be given before the scheduled withdrawal date for any framework.

For further information and details on frameworks being withdrawn please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/removal-of-apprenticeship-frameworks/removal-of-apprenticeship-frameworks 

You can also contact the relevant Issuing Authority to discuss any issues relating to the transition process.

30.09.15 Modifications to SASE:  Removal of the regulatory rules for the Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF) and the introduction of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)

You may be aware that as part of their regulatory reform Ofqual will, at the end of September 2015, remove the regulatory rules of the QCF and from 1 October the Regulated Qualifications Framework will replace the QCF and the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). This means that all qualifications will be part of a single regulatory framework – the RQF.

 

The Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) sets out the requirements of an English apprenticeship framework and currently mandates the use of QCF qualifications. The change to the RQF means that we have to modify SASE to meet the new requirements.

 

QCF qualifications that are already within frameworks and approved for funding will continue to be accepted and funded. Changes will only apply where new qualifications are added to frameworks as either a replacement qualification or an additional qualification from a different awarding organisation. In these cases there will still be a requirement for the qualification to be unitised and have a credit value assigned, but will be from the RQF. Further details of these requirements will be provided in due course.

 

In order to make these modifications to SASE and ensure the legislative process is adhered to, we will, with effect of midnight on 30 September 2015 suspend any changes to apprenticeship frameworks. The suspension only applies to frameworks which contain QCF qualifications.

 

This temporary suspension will not impact on provider’s ability to continue to deliver the current apprenticeship programme using the existing SASE compliant frameworks.

 

The process for updating existing frameworks to include RQF qualifications will re-open on 1st November 2015.

 

Please contact Sharon Thompson on Sharon.thompson@sfa.bis.gov.uk with queries.

1.4.15 CHANGES TO TRANSFERABLE SKILLS REQUIREMENTS FOR SASE FRAMEWORKS

 

(ONLY FOR APPRENTICESHIP STARTS FROM 6TH APRIL 2015)

The recent modifications to SASE come into effect on 6th April 2015. The changes ONLY relate to the Transferable Skills requirements of a framework and they ONLY apply to new Apprenticeship starts on, or after, 6th April 2015. Apprenticeships started before this date must continue to meet the 2013 SASE regulations.

The “5 year rule” has been removed meaning that acceptable qualifications, achieved before September 2012, are now back in scope. This includes iGCSEs, A and AS Levels, O Levels and Key Skills. However, there are still minimum grade/level requirements that need to be achieved, depending on the level of Apprenticeship being undertaken. There have also been some minor changes to the minimum grade/level requirements which, in summary are:

Intermediate Apprenticeship:

Advanced Apprenticeship:

Higher Apprenticeship:

There remains no mandatory requirement for Transferable Skills to be achieved.

Please note that some frameworks may have stated grade/level requirements that are above the SASE minimum requirements. Please check the framework to ascertain where this is the case and/or check directly with the specific Issuing Authority responsible for the framework.

An updated version of SASE, and guidance documents, can be accessed here: SASE Feb 2015.

Currently the Transferable Skills tables have not be updated so any references to “achieved before Sept 2012 and within 5 years of starting Apprenticeship” or “achieved before September 2012, otherwise at any time prior to starting Apprenticeship” are no longer relevant.

Over the next few months, the Transferable Skills section within AFO will be amended to reflect the SASE modifications and all current frameworks will be updated and reissued to incorporate these changes. In the meantime, if you are in any doubt as to the requirements of any framework then please contact the relevant Issuing Authority.

28.11.14 – REMOVING EXISTING PATHWAYS FROM SASE FRAMEWORKS

We have been alerted to the fact that if an existing pathway is removed from a framework document, as part of a revision/updating process, this is causing a problem for the SFA with funding allocations against the framework. This is because SFA funding is allocated against a specific pathway code (and its associated set of learning aims) which is assigned, by them, at the point when the first version of a framework is issued. This code/pathway number cannot change during the life of the framework.

 

Given that the development of new Apprenticeship Standards is well underway, we are likely to see an increase in a need for pathways to be removed from existing SASE frameworks as they get replaced with a new Standard. Alternatively, there may be other reasons why you find it necessary to remove a pathway. If this becomes a requirement for any SASE frameworks then please do not completely delete unwanted pathways and instead implement the following process: –

 

If you follow the above, then the numbering of the pathways in your framework will not be altered and this will satisfy the requirements of the SFA.

 

If by any chance you do happen to delete a pathway by accident and you need to add it back it, you will discover that AFO will automatically add it at the end of existing pathways and number it accordingly. Also, all of the remaining pathways will have moved up one place in the pathway numbering. This too causes problems for the SFA when allocating funding as pathway numbers will have changed. However, there is a way to resolve this.

 

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If you have any questions relating to this issue then please e-mail the AFO Support Team via afo@fisss.org

05.08.14 – IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION FOR ENGLAND ONLY

CHANGES TO SASE FRAMEWORKS POST 31/8/14
In order that we comply with the directive issued on behalf of the Secretary of State under s13 (3) of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, there must be no new SASE compliant English Apprenticeship frameworks developed and issued through AFO after the 31st August 2014. This meets with the government’s stated aim that from 2017/18 all new Apprenticeship starts in England will be based on new Standards. For further information please refer to the briefing note issued by BIS, on behalf of the Secretary of State, to all English Issuing Authorities which can be accessed here: AFO – Transitional Arrangements

The “Develop a Framework” functionality has not been removed from AFO as it is still required for development of Welsh SASW frameworks.

For all existing SASE frameworks, changes are permitted where there is a “compelling reason” to do so. The agreed list of “compelling reasons” is as follows: –

Please note that if the review of a qualification within a framework is likely to result in a dramatic change to its overall Credit Value and/or GLH then these will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Changes like this should be discussed with SFA, BIS or the Federation prior to any work being undertaken as the proposed changes, to the existing SASE framework, may not be approved and, as an alternative, the development of a new Apprenticeship Standard may be the required solution.

For further clarification on the restrictions relating to the amendment of existing frameworks, beyond 31/8/14, please contact afo@fisss.org

 

The Federation reserve the right to remove access to the AFO database for any framework developer or Issuing Authority who, post 31st August 2014, fails to comply with the new restrictions, as detailed above.