THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A TRAINING PROVIDER
You have trawled the internet and social media and you are now completely confused as to which training provider or qualification you should be looking for. We hope our previous series of blogs has helped you. We have thought about the questions you should ask when speaking to a potential training provider.
IS THE TRAINING PROVIDER AND COURSE ACCREDITED TO AN AWARDING BODY?
The training provider will have a centre number and should appear on a centre search in the awarding bodies website. The provider should also be registered with Companies House and National Register of Training Providers. Not all training providers need to be registered with OFSTED, only the ones offering funding and apprenticeships or part of a college or school will be inspected by OFSTED. All centres will have annual audits from their awarding body, you should be able to see the report if you want to. All qualifications that the centre delivers will be looked at and sampled to ensure that they are delivering the qualifications correctly.
IS THE COURSE A FULL QUALIFICATION?
Very simply if there is no observation in your workplace/volunteer setting then NO it’s not a full qualification at level 2 & 3. You have to be observed, no arguments! In line with the requirements of the awarding body, it must be by an assessor and not by anyone in the setting, if the training centre tells you this, please run away! The only time that this can happen has been in lockdown, when settings were not allowing visitors in and learners were near the completion date of their qualification. Going forward this will hopefully not happen again! The awarding bodies do not like expert witness testimonies as a rule for evidence. If there’s no observation then it is a CPD course or knowledge only. CPD is Continued Professional Development and only suitable to develop or expand on your existing knowledge. (There are some great CPD courses around)
HOW WILL MY COURSE BE TAUGHT?
There are various options and there is no wrong way, it really is your personal preference and learning style. But please ask the question! It can be weekly classes at a college, either day or evening over an academic year. Or one-to-one workshops either face to face or over google meets/ facetime or the third option is all online, where you are sent assignments which you complete in your own time. I personally think the best option is a mixture of face-to-face workshops and access to good quality resources, supported by a qualified assessor/tutor. You need to find out if there are any restrictions on the number of submissions of assignments. We have heard that after 3 submissions of an assignment you are then charged for any further re-submissions. This is poor practice, the assessor’s main role is to support you through your qualifications. If a learner is returning to education after a long time, it can take them a while to get back into the swing of things and to know exactly what evidence meets the criteria. I would also ask how long the assessor will take to return assignments, it can be frustrating if you would like to complete more work but the assessor is taking 3 weeks to send it back to you and you are waiting for feedback or can’t progress. Another scare story; a learner was sending in her work and not being set any new work, whilst the assessor took a long time to mark the work and asked for a resubmission, she wasn’t allowed to start new work until the other work had been agreed as competent, she was then charged extra as she was going over her deadlines, again very poor practice!
HOW DO I FUND MY COURSE?
There are numerous funding options and each funding option will have certain criteria attached to it; this could be age restrictions, timescale to complete the course, (not only to complete before a deadline but also not being allowed to complete before a certain deadline) previous level of qualifications, apprenticeship funding or self-funding. If you are self-funding, find out about payment plans, ask are they interest-free, etc
DO I NEED MATHS AND ENGLISH GCSE OR EQUIVALENT?
From 3 April 2017, the requirement for Level 3 Early Years Educators (EYE) to hold GCSE English and Maths A*-C, has been broadened to Level 2 qualifications, including Functional Skills. This will enable staff with an EYE qualification and Level 2 English and Mathematics qualifications to count in the Level 3 staff: child ratios in childcare settings. This includes those who already hold an EYE qualification, who began studying an EYE from September 2014, or will achieve an EYE in the future. (Please refer to the Early Years Workforce Strategy (March 2017) for further details.) Some learners find it hard or have lost their original GCSE/ O level certificates. If you don’t know the awarding body and your old school is still open, it’s worth contacting them to see if they have a record of the awarding body, you can then ask for a fee to have a replacement certificate. If for some reason that is not an option then go to the AQA
website, where you can obtain copies of the transcript but not the certificate.
For learners who completed their education in other countries, it is worth converting them to the UK equivalent via Ecctis – formerly NARIC https://enic.org.uk/Qualifications/SOC/Default.aspx
For all other qualifications at levels 2 & 3 such as Support Teaching & Learning, there are no set requirements apart from learners needing to be 16 years, but each training provider will set their own requirements. For level 4 and 5 qualifications, there will normally be a requirement that learners hold a level 3 vocational qualification