We review apprenticeships approved for delivery at regular intervals. This is to decide if they need to be revised or withdrawn. Route reviews look at apprenticeships both individually and in relation to other apprenticeships.
We only want to make changes to apprenticeships where it is right to do so. This will ensure stability for employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations (EPAO), and apprentices. We also want to avoid unnecessary work for trailblazer groups.
In some circumstances, we may support trailblazer groups to make changes to an apprenticeship ahead of a route review.
Revision status report shows apprenticeships that are being revised.
There are three types of permanent change requests that can be raised against occupational standards and apprenticeships:
When your change request is first received, IfATE will review the scope and potential impact of your request and advise you on the category of the change, should we determine it is in the best interests of learners and/or employers.
Exceptionally, IfATE may authorise a temporary change to an approved apprenticeship to protect the interests of apprentices and employers. These changes are referred to as dispensations. Dispensations are separate to exemptions (which apply during the approvals process for apprenticeships in development).
Dispensations can be granted in circumstances where IfATE deems that an apprenticeship cannot be completed as specified otherwise. These circumstances may include:
A request to change an apprenticeship may relate to one or more of the following parts:
Anybody can make a change request. To make a change request you can email us at Enquiries.IFA@education.gov.uk
You need to:
Dispensations are normally identified by End Point Assessment Organisations, and where this is the case should be raised via your relevant External Quality Assurance Provider (EQAP).
If this is not the case, or you are unsure if your change request is a dispensation or a revision, please raise a change request as detailed above for revisions.
We will consider every change request we receive.
We will decide whether to support a change request or not. We aim to do this within four weeks. If this is not possible, we will let you know. Support of a change request does not guarantee that a change will be approved by IfATE's Compliance Board, and revisions may take significantly longer to implement.
Where a change request does not originate from the trailblazer group for the relevant occupational standard or apprenticeship, we will inform them and seek their views to inform our decision. The exception to this is corrections, where we would not normally expect to consult the trailblazer group unless clarification was needed.
When we consider a change request for any part(s) of an apprenticeship, we will also consider if other parts need to change. For example, if we receive a change request relating to an EPA plan we will also consider if the occupational standard or funding band may need to change.
Our decision may be to:
Revisions are changes that IfATE's Compliance Board, feels will impact the Occupational Map, Funding band or result in a material change to the assessment of occupational competency of learners. Revisions will need to be approved by the Compliance Board via the approvals process.
The following changes will always be categorised as revisions:
End-point assessment plan:
All changes relating to funding band will automatically be classified as revisions.
The lists above are not comprehensive, and IfATE retains the right to treat any change as a revision where they deem the change warrants it.
Adjustments are changes that IfATE deems will not impact the Occupational Map, funding band or result in a material change to the assessment of occupational competency of learners.
This includes where an MQ is added where at least one other equivalent qualification is already mandated, or where an MQ is removed where at least one other equivalent qualification remains mandated. This assumes that the nature of assessment integration in the apprenticeship is not changing.
Adjustments can be approved by the relevant Head of Route and Head of Assessment.
Changes will be reviewed holistically and against previous changes made. If multiple changes are requested, IfATE may deem that the overall change is equivalent to that of a revision, even if the individual changes might amount to an adjustment.
You will be informed of the categorisation your change has received and the next steps, including any evidence requirements should IfATE decide to support your change request.
Corrections will be managed by operational staff within IfATE. You will be notified when the correction has been made and the website updated.
Exceptionally, IfATE may authorise a dispensation to an approved apprenticeship to protect the interests of apprentices.
It permits employers, training providers and/or EPAOs to deliver the occupational standard and/or EPA plan within amended constraints, usually with a set expiry date.
Where IfATE authorises a dispensation, it may come with the requirement to revise the occupational standard and/or EPA plan to address the issue that prompted the need for the dispensation. Your IfATE contact will advise you of the next steps.
A revision to an occupational standard and/or EPA plan may lead us to review the funding band. When looking at a 'funding band only' change request, we will consider if the occupational standard and/or EPA plan needs to change.
For 'funding band only' change requests, the apprenticeship must have been ‘approved for delivery’ for at least 12 months (with or without starts in that period) before we will consider a change request and we will expect to see evidence that shows the attempts that have been made to work within the band.
Please consult our funding model guidance for details on when funding bands may be revised.
It is important that any new version of an apprenticeship is introduced in a managed and transparent way. To help with this, as soon as the revisions process is underway, we place a banner on the relevant webpage for the occupation standard and/or apprenticeship. The banner indicates that the occupation standard and/or apprenticeship is being revised and is updated as progress is made. We also regularly publish a Revisions Status Report detailing all apprenticeships that are currently in revision and providing further details on the stage that each has reached.
It is also important that potential users and deliverers of an apprenticeship have appropriate notice of a new version replacing an old version for new starts. This notice period starts when all elements of the new version (occupational standard, end-point assessment plan and funding band) have been agreed and published on our website. It ends when it replaces the old version for new starts.
The duration of any notice period is for us to decide but should be based on what the trailblazer group (and training providers and end-point assessment organisations supporting the trailblazer) believe to be practical. As a trailblazer, you will therefore need to discuss an appropriate notice period with your product manager during the revisions process. We can then publicly confirm the notice period when the new version is ready to publish for preview.
As a revision should always improve the apprenticeship, our starting assumption is that the revised version should be introduced as soon as possible. However, we recognise that those involved in delivering the apprenticeship may need preparation time and this needs to be factored in to make sure learners are not disadvantaged.
The duration of a notice period will vary depending on the need. It could be the minimum required by ESFA systems (up to 14 days) for minor revisions or revisions essential to enable delivery. However, for major changes to the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) or assessment methods it could be 60 to 90 days. Where a degree is being developed and integrated into the end-point assessment process, the notice period may need to be even longer.
Where a funding band is being reduced, the notice period should usually be no less than 90 days. However, it can be longer if there are other (non-funding) reasons requiring that.
We will tell the person who made the request whether we support the change or not. We will also tell the apprenticeship's trailblazer group. We will provide the reason for our decision and evidence considered.
The relevant route panel will be advised of decisions to support a revision or dispensation. The route panel may provide advice to the trailblazer group to inform a revision.
IfATE identifies two types of revision. This is based on how the revision is implemented by the ESFA, not the size of the changes.
The two numbers are defined as:
If you are unhappy with any final decision made by IfATE in connection with a revision or adjustment, you may be able to challenge the decision by way of procedural review. Time frames for submitting a procedural review and the permitted reasons for seeking a procedural review can be found in our guidance.
Last updated 5 September 2023