External Quality Assurance (EQA) monitors the end-point assessment that apprentices undertake at the end of their apprenticeship, to ensure that it is fair, consistent and robust across different apprenticeship standards and between different assessment organisations. EQA ensures that end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs) all work to a high standard and that an apprentice would get the same result from their EPA regardless of the EPAO. EQA also ensures the apprenticeship standard and end-point assessment plan are fit-for-purpose and actually delivering the outcomes that are required.

We oversee EQA delivery to ensure that EQA is robust and carried out consistently.


1. Who can carry out EQA?

Previously there was the option for EQA to be carried out by various EQA providers, including employers, professional bodies, Ofqual or the Institute.

In February to May 2020, we consulted on simplifying the EQA system. Following the response to the consultation, we are moving to a model whereby Summer 2022, all EQA for a standard will be delivered by:

  • The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)
  • The Office for Students (OfS) for integrated higher and degree apprenticeships

There will be some exceptions to this, for example where an existing statutory regulator oversees entry to a profession. In those circumstances, we will agree the best way to quality assure the end-point assessment.

All EQA will be carried out in line with our EQA framework and supported by input from professional and employer-led bodies.  Employers can nominate organisations for entry to the Directory of Professional and Employer-led Bodies to support EQA activity by emailing EQAQueries.IFA@education.gov.uk in the first instance.

You can read the full consultation response and how we plan to transition all EQA to the above two regulatory bodies in our review and consultation section.

Whilst the transition to Ofqual and OfS takes place EQA will continue to be provided by a number of EQA providers. You can view a register of organisations approved to carry out EQA and their approaches to EQA.

2. EQA Framework

The EQA Framework sets out how apprenticeship EPAs must be externally quality assured.

It sets out what good practice in EPA looks like, and what EQA providers should look out for to be confident this has happened. The resulting improved clarity to EPA and EQA providers will ensure consistency with how assessments are delivered across the country.

3. EQA Annual report

External quality assurance annual report