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Latest update on Access to HE - November/December 2021


Training has certainly been a theme within the Access team since the last newsletter. October was a busy month in terms of delivering annual mandatory training to our Curriculum Area Moderators (CAMs). It was great to be able to host in person one of the sessions at our office, the first face to face session since the start of the pandemic. All sessions, whether in person or online, provided an excellent opportunity for the AVA to update CAMs on the external quality assurance processes and requirements for 2021-22 and how these relate to the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF) requirements as set out by QAA.

Training sessions for Centres have also taken place for both Assessment and Grading and Internal Moderation. Due to demand an additional session relating to Assessment and Grading was scheduled for 30th November. The AVA will run both sessions again in March 2022. Further details about the sessions and how to book a place can be found here. Sessions are suitable for new assessors or Centres and can also act as a refresher for existing staff. Bespoke sessions can also be discussed with the Access team. 


Interim Moderation

The team of CAMs have now commenced the first part of Interim Moderation, focussing on reviewing assignment briefs, and will move forward to the second part of Interim Moderation after Christmas focussing on a sample of assessed work. This is a new model implemented by the AVA this year and has been made possible through the submission of assessment plans from Centres, which we thank you for. 


Interim Monitoring

The Centre Reviewers have also been busy arranging and carrying out their Interim Monitoring meetings with Centres. These have been conducted remotely with hope that the Final Monitoring in summer will take place in person. Thank you to Centres who have been able to accommodate remote meetings between the Centre Reviewer and learners. For those where this was not possible, the AVA will shortly be providing a survey via Microsoft Forms for Centres to share with their learners. 



As our provision continues to grow, the AVA also aims to recruit additional CAMs and will arrange induction sessions across the year. If you are interested in becoming a CAM further information about the role and details of how to apply can be found here.  


January Starts

The Access to HE Diploma provides a wonderful opportunity for learners to achieve their potential and progress onto higher education courses, so it is always good and positive to receive the registrations for the learners who have commenced on this journey. The provision across Open College Network West Midlands’ Access to HE Centres allows for learners to commence a programme of study at any time of the year at Centres who deliver fully online Diplomas, or in January / February at one of its many Centres offering new year starts. The AVA has commenced its promotion of these upcoming opportunities for learners with further details accessible here.  


Diploma Revalidation Plan

The Diploma Review and Revalidation Working Groups have commenced their review of the Rules of Combination, Unit Listings and Unit Specifications and are due to complete this in early December. Thank you to CAMs and Centre Representatives who have agreed to take part. The AVA will review all feedback and finalise papers for the working group to check before they are sent to the validation panel members. Panels are scheduled to take place in February 2022, following which Centres will be updated regarding changes which have been made. 

As a reminder, the following Diplomas are included in the revalidation plan for 2021-22:

  • Access to HE Diploma (Building, Civil Engineering and Construction)
  • Access to HE Diploma (Computer Science)
  • Access to HE Diploma (Computer Science and Mathematics)
  • Access to HE Diploma (English Studies)
  • Access to HE Diploma (Health Science)
  • Access to HE Diploma (Humanities)
  • Access to HE Diploma (Radiography)
  • Access to HE Diploma (Science)
  • Access to HE Diploma (Social Science and English Studies)
  • Access to HE Diploma (Social Science and Humanities)


What to look forward to in the New Year

  • Scheduled for after Christmas will be the second Coordinator Forum on 25th January 2022.


  • The opening of nominations for The Brian May Access to HE Learner Awards. Learners can be nominated for Outstanding Achievement or Commitment to Study. Successful nominations will be awarded £600 to support their progression. Nomination forms will be sent from the AVA in January so now is the time to start considering who you may nominate!


  • The Access team’s weekly drop-in Support Clinics will continue and will be extended to CAMs. 


Adaptations Reminder

Finally, just a gentle reminder that adaptations to assessments, delivery and or units can be made where necessary, and need to be approved by the AVA prior to being implemented. Centres can also choose to plan and seek approval for adaptations that may need to be applied if situations change later in the year.



As this is the last newsletter before the Christmas break, the Access team wish you a very happy Christmas and look forward to a bright and successful 2022 with you all.

Pam Stanway, Laura Walker and Andrea Lake.

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