Joint statement from Colleges Scotland, SQA, Skills Development Scotland and Universities Scotland on Foundation Apprenticeships

Friday 12 June

Supporting the progression of 2020 Foundation Apprenticeship learners

logos of SQA, SDS, Colleges Scotland and Universities ScotlandColleges Scotland, SQA, SDS and Universities Scotland have jointly agreed a solution to safeguard the progression and admission of Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) learners, due to complete their FAs in June 2020.

To ensure these young people are not disadvantaged as a result of COVID 19, colleges and universities will formally recognise young people's achievements, safeguarding progression and admission for Foundation Apprentices who were on track to achieve a full FA Award.

The unique benefits of Foundation Apprenticeships - the blend of classroom and workplace learning - has meant that COVID-19 restrictions to work placements have had a significant impact on many learners' ability to complete the work-based elements and on the capacity of centres to complete assessments in line with regulatory requirements.

Supporting learners

Our collective aim throughout has been to support learners who are undertaking a Foundation Apprenticeship at this exceptionally difficult time.

This agreement ensures that young people across Scotland will get the results they need, so they can make confident decisions about their future, including the progression to further learning or work.

Foundation Apprenticeship certification

Foundation Apprenticeship learners fall under three categories:

1. Learners that have achieved the full FA Award

Learners who completed all the elements of their Foundation Apprenticeship and have been resulted on SQA systems by 15 July 2020 will be certificated for the full FA Award as normal. They will receive a Foundation Apprenticeship certificate, along with their Scottish Qualification Certificate that records all of their achievements.

This FA Award is eligible for college and university degree course admissions, as per existing published specifications.

2. Learners that were on track to achieve the full FA Award

Learners that were on track to achieve the full FA are identified as:

These learners will receive SQA certification for the units and for the NPA/NC Group Award they have achieved.

In addition, these learners will receive a Letter of Recognition from SDS and SQA confirming that, had it not been for the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the learner was on track to achieve the full FA award. This 'Letter of Recognition' is recognised as evidence for the eligibility requirements for University degree and College course admissions, as per existing published specifications.

Published specifications for FA admissions for colleges and universities is available on the Foundation Apprenticeship website.

UCAS has confirmed that the Letter of Recognition will gain the full UCAS Tariff score as previously agreed. To achieve this, learners should select the respective FA within their UCAS application process.

Should a learner wish to complete the outstanding learning for the full FA Award once the letter of recognition has been issued, and they are in a position to do so, they will be supported by SDS and learning providers to complete during 2020/21.

3. Learners that were not on track to achieve the full FA Award

All other learners who remained on the Foundation Apprenticeship but have not achieved the NC or NPA or have had fails resulted on SQA systems, will receive SQA Certification for the elements they have passed and resulted on SQA systems, as is standard procedure.

These learners will not receive a Foundation Apprenticeship certificate or letter of recognition and should discuss admission for any courses directly with universities and colleges.

Foundation Apprenticeship Progression

The agreement means for the cohort of learners that were on track to achieve their FA this year, in addition to receiving SQA certification, they will also receive the letter of recognition. This letter will be recognised by colleges and universities as their FA Certificate for course admissions and progression to Further Education and Higher Education.

This will support learners who were due to complete their Foundation Apprenticeship but were prevented from doing so due to the impact of COVID-19 and means that no learner will be disadvantaged.

Recognising the pathway to work via a Modern Apprenticeship, SDS will support learner progression from Foundation Apprenticeship to a related Modern Apprenticeship, with learners picking up from where they left off prior to disruption.

The Scottish Government has also confirmed that the FA Letter of Recognition will carry the same insight tariff points as the full FA Award.

Supporting Learning providers

To enable certification as outlined above, learning providers offering Foundation Apprenticeships must ensure the following is in place before 15 July 2020:

Please refer to SQA's 2020 Qualifications support pages for any additional subject specific guidance.

Returning FA learners and new starts

We recognise the impact COVID-19 will have on current and new FA learners who are due to commence in Academic Year 2020-21.

Please be assured that we are working with our partners and stakeholders including learning providers and sector skills councils and SQA to identify solutions and ensure that all learners are supported in achieving the qualification.

A series of sector-based webinars have commenced to capture initial feedback from practitioners. This will continue over the coming weeks as part of our ongoing engagement with sector bodies, SQA and Scottish Government.

SDS support

SDS has provided answers to questions you may have:


All SQA Coronavirus statements