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 This is to decide if they need to be revised or withdrawn.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.

1. Types of change request

There are three types of permanent change requests that can be raised against occupational standards and apprenticeships:

  • Corrections - used to address typographical errors, or make grammatical changes to add clarity.
  • Adjustments - used to make changes that ifATE deems will not impact the Occupational Map, funding band, or result in a material change to the assessment or occupational competency of learners.
  • Revisions - used to make changes to the content of the standard and/or assessment of the apprenticeship itself that ifATE deems will impact the Occupational Map, or funding band, or result in a material change to the assessment or occupational competency of learners.

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:

  • When reasonable adjustments are required under the Equality Act
  • When circumstances outside of the End Point Assessment Organisation's (EPAO) control occur (e.g. global pandemic or flooding) that would otherwise lead to significant delays to apprentices completing the apprenticeship and/or apprentices not being deemed occupationally competent after having completed it.

2. How to make a change request

A request to change an apprenticeship may relate to one or more of the following parts:

  • the occupational standard
  • the end-point assessment (EPA) plan
  • the funding band

Anybody can make a change request. To make a change request you can email us at trailblazer.revisions@education.gov.uk

You need to:

  • state which part(s) of the apprenticeship you believe needs to change (occupational standard, EPA plan and/or funding band). 
  • explain why the change is needed
  • include any evidence or information to support your request

 

Dispensations

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.

3. Change request process

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:

  • support a trailblazer group to make a revision
  • make an adjustment
  • make a correction
  • initiate a dispensation
  • not support the change request

 

Revisions

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:

Occupational Standard:

  • Change to the scope of the occupation which requires route panel consideration, for example, a rail only apprenticeship which plans to include aviation, or a healthcare cleaning apprenticeship planning to include the wider business cleaning.
  • Change to comply with current ifATE policy where the occupational standard is over three years old.
  • Move from a 'single occupation' to 'core and options' occupational standard.
  • Move from a ‘core and option’ to ‘single occupation’ occupational standard.
  • To add another option to an existing core and option occupational standard.
  • To remove an option from an existing core and option occupational standard.
  • Where the occupation becomes regulated or is no longer regulated by a statutory regulator.
  • Where the statutory regulator updates their education and training standards, or assessment arrangements and a change is required to meet those requirements.
  • Change to the mandatory qualification(s) which require the KSBs to be re-mapped and amended.
  • To add a mandatory qualification where previously not included.
  • To remove a mandatory qualification either requested by the TB or where an awarding body withdraws the qualification, as both will affect the funding band.
  • Change to the duration of the apprenticeship

End-point assessment plan:

  • Add, remove or swap an assessment method.
  • New alignment with, or removal of, statutory regulation.
  • Change to the status of EPA integration, moving from integrated to non-integrated or vice versa.
  • Adding or removing a grading exemption.
  • Adding or removing an available grade to an existing assessment method.
  • Change to roles/individuals involved in the end-point assessment plan which lead to a major change in the delivery of the EPA.

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

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.

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

Corrections will be managed by operational staff within ifATE. You will be notified when the correction has been made and the website updated.

 

Dispensations 

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.

 

Changes to Funding Band

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.

 

Ensuring advance notice of upcoming revisions

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.

4. How we will tell you our decision and next steps

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.

5. Version numbers

The Institute identifies two types of revision. This is based on how the revision is implemented by the ESFA, not the size of the changes.

  • active revision: the new version has a different LARS (Learning Aims Reference Service) code to the old version. The training provider actively chooses the version through the choice of LARS code when they enrol the apprentice
  • passive revision: both the new and old versions have the same LARS code. The version is passively inferred from the start date of the apprenticeship

The two numbers are defined as:

  • the primary version number (the first one) denotes the number of active revisions for this standard. This only increases when that apprenticeship standard gets a new LARS code. For example, the version number may move from 1.4 to 2.0
  • the secondary version number denotes the number of passive revisions since the last active revision (or since first publication). For example, the version number may move from 1.0 to 1.1

6. Procedural review

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.