Coronavirus / Covid-19 ETS Guidance for HEIs
Additional Guidance from ETS Wales @27.03.2020
Further to our guidance of 18.03.2020 below, we have issued additional guidance in response to a number of individual queries.
- 1b. Guidance for the health and safety of students on placements continuing to operate:
ETS Guidelines expect universities to take note of the QAA guidance on workplace learning which mentions health and safety, along with current UK/Welsh Government/Public Health guidance and any internal policies produced in response. Some provision used for placements has closed altogether while some youth workers are being redeployed to help with school provision. Universities will need to deal with this on a case-by-case basis so that students in specific circumstances or with specific conditions can be accommodated safely.
- 2b. Guidance for meeting the requirement for 50% face-face-work in placements:
Please refer to points 1a&2a below which require universities to use their discretion based on the student's past academic and practice performance.
- 3b. Guidance for meeting the requirement for new applicants to have 100 hours experience:
HEIs should adhere to the requirement for 100 hours experience in a youth and community work setting wherever possible; this normally applies to the date on which the applicant will start on the programme, bearing in mind there may well be opportunity over the summer for hours to be undertaken if and when measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus are relaxed.
Programme Directors will need to exercise their professional judgement in making offers in cases where an otherwise well-qualified applicant has not been, or will not be, able to complete 100 hours experience, for example taking into account other related experience that indicates the desirable characteristics and values for a youth and community work student, and ensuring as far as possible the necessary ability and appropriateness.
For those applicants where there is a significant lack of pre-experience, an offer may be made conditional on the applicant completing an additional number of hours at Level 4. This should not exceed 100 hours and in most cases would be far fewer.
Guidance from ETS Wales @18.03.2020
A number of colleagues have raised queries about the potential effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, particularly on fieldwork placements in JNC recognised Youth and Community Work programmes. Please see the following advice from ETS Wales, based on advice from ETS England. This applies to programmes in Wales and to the Open University for students in Wales.
JNC-recognised degree programmes specify a required number of hours of supervised practice, with awards contingent upon the practice being completed to a required standard. The necessity of supervised practice is a core element of the degree that prepares students for youth work. To graduate and achieve professional status a Youth and Community Work student must complete the specified number of hours in assessed professional practice, and pass this practice in full.
The ETS Wales Endorsement Guidelines state that:
- For Undergraduate Awards: a course must include at least 800 hours of assessed professional practice across the programme, a minimum of 50% of this time spent in face to face contact work with young people aged 11 to 25.
- For Postgraduate Awards: a course must include at least 300 hours of assessed professional practice across the programme, a minimum of 50% of this time spent in face to face contact work with young people aged 11-25.
However, the potential consequences of COVID-19 (including the temporary closure of practice agencies/activities) are that some students may be prevented from completing the required assessed professional practice. Due to these exceptional and rapidly changing circumstances, ETS Wales is issuing guidance to manage and minimise disruption to students and HEIs regarding fieldwork practice, while seeking to ensure that the quality of degree programmes is not compromised.
The following guidance is issued for HEIs to help plan for any scenarios where planned practice hours may be affected on undergraduate or postgraduate Youth & Community Work programmes:
Additional ETS Wales Guidelines (as of 18.03.2020):
- 1a. Guidance for Non-Final Year Students:
For students at levels 4 and 5 of their programme whose practice is disrupted, we suggest that universities, at their discretion based upon practice and academic performance, progress them to the next year/level without having completed all the required fieldwork, on condition that they undertake additional supervised fieldwork to make up the hours, and the learning outcomes associated with them, at a later stage in their programme. Individual universities should work with placements and students to identify when this could be possible – including the use of time outside typical University teaching terms/semesters.
- 2a. Guidance for Final Year Students:
Final-year (Level 6) students are more likely to have completed most of their practice hours but will also potentially face the greatest disruption. In these exceptional circumstances we propose that universities, at their discretion based upon practice and academic performance, accept a revised total of 700 hours of assessed professional practice as a qualifying standard, rather than 800, providing students have demonstrated a consistent pass in previous practice assessments and there are no concerns about their fieldwork practice. This allowance would not apply for students on the pass/fail borderline where alternative practice evidence to support a pass and/or defer a programme pass would need to be provided.
- 3a. Guidance for Post-graduate Students:
We recognise that postgraduate students have a more compact timescale and a disruption of 2-3 months could risk non-completion of their programme. However, in this case we consider the required 300 hours is the absolute minimum requirement for a pass in fieldwork practice. Therefore, if a student is on a PG Dip programme, full or part-time, HEIs may need to consider extending the programme and review the graduation date to ensure students have time to complete assessed professional practice. As with BA students, individual universities should work with placements and students to identify when this could be possible, extending into university holiday periods if necessary.
- 4a. Guidance on Individual Circumstances:
Where a student has the necessary experience from wider evidence of supervised practice (for example, if a student is also employed in an appropriate youth organisation), an exemption to the requirements may be possible providing a case is made for compensatory practice hours. However, the learning outcomes of supervised practice will need to be clearly evidenced and any decision should be taken with approval from the appointed External Examiner for fieldwork practice.
- 5a. Guidance on Assessment Criteria:
We recognise that certain assessment criteria within individual modules may involve group work activities and therefore cannot be completed. Here, alternative creative assessment tools should be used instead to ensure that students are able to complete their programmes of learning.
Note on Wider Impact of University Closures or Travel Restrictions
ETS Wales recognises that there may also be a wider impact on the development and endorsement of programmes during any closure of Universities or travel restrictions caused by a continued outbreak of Covid-19. Further guidance is detailed, below, regarding scheduled endorsement and/or re-endorsement activities:
- 6a. Guidance on Scheduled Re-endorsement:
If an HEI is closed when a scheduled re-endorsement is due to take place, ETS Wales will consider extending the existing endorsement period for a further year at the HEI’s request. In these exceptional circumstances, a request for extension should be put in writing at the earliest opportunity and addressed to the ETS Adviser.
- 7a. Guidance on New Programme Endorsements:
For new programmes we consider it a necessity to meet with University personnel and relevant stakeholders to inform the decision to endorse a JNC recognised programme. If a scheduled panel cannot take place because the University is closed (or travel is prohibited), a postponement to the endorsement will be required until a date can be rescheduled and the proposal will remain subject to endorsement until full approval has been gained. ETS Wales will make every effort to schedule this event prior to commencement of the new academic year.
- 8a. Further Guidance:
We appreciate that there is currently uncertainty with regards to the situation that is arising as COVID-19 develops and spreads. With the situation being fluid and contingent upon official guidance from Governments in Westminster and Cardiff, we will regularly review our guidance and ensure any updated information is issued in a timely manner.
- 9a. Queries:
If you have any queries relating to this guidance or to your particular programme(s) please don’t hesitate to contact Liz Rose (ETS Adviser) or Steve Drowley (ETS Chair) at ETS Wales: