Following the restrictions on travel and gatherings that have been issued by the British Government, please see the following advice from the National Youth Agency’s Education and Training Standards Committee for England:
JNC-validated 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. So, there would usually be non-compliance if a trainee was to complete their programme without having spent a specific number of hours in assessed professional practice, and to have passed this practice in full.
The NYA validation requirements 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 contact work with young people. Such work will normally be with 13 – 19 year olds but may extend to 11-25 year olds.
- For Postgraduate Awards: A course must include at least 400 hours of assessed professional practice across the programme, a minimum of 50% of this time spent in contact work with young people. Such work will normally be with 13 – 19 year olds but may extend to 11-25 year olds.
However, it is expected that many students will be unable to complete these requirements as originally scheduled. Furthermore, with an indefinite period of social distancing and self-isolation it is not feasible that rearrangement of these requirements will be seamless.
We have therefore updated our guidance as per below.
ETS Guidelines (as of 30.03.2020):
As a general rule, its is understood that HEIs will seek to ensure that during the current period of restriction on travel and gatherings, the theoretical teaching within courses will continue. However, course leaders are empowered to make decisions in line with their institution’s guidance on good practice with regards teaching, learning and assessment during COVID-19 restrictions. We anticipate any changes to programme delivery to be temporary and do not require notification of any changes if normal delivery is intended to resume at the end of these restrictions.
We, below, set out guidance for how the practice requirements may be attained.
Guidance for Non-Final Year Students:
For students at levels 4 and 5 of their programme whose practice is disrupted, we suggest that universities 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 where possible, and the learning outcomes associated with them, at a later stage in their programme. Individual universities should work with placements and the student to best identify when this could be possible – including the use of time outside typical University teaching terms/semesters and via the use of digital youth work where this is appropriately supported during the current period.
Where the extension of restrictions is ongoing and further affects the ability of students to undertake supervised practice, we understand that HEIs will continue with on-line teaching of the programme and we will keep under review the requirements for fieldwork practice, making adjustments as become necessary.
Guidance for Final Year Students:
Final-year (Level 6) students are more likely to have completed most of their practice hours but will also face the greatest interruption and least opportunity to make up time. Due to the exceptional circumstances presented by Covid-19, ETS are proposing that a revised total of 700 hours of assessed professional practice is accepted 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 trainees on the pass/fail borderline where the provider would need to find alternative practice evidence to support a pass and/or defer a programmes pass.
For students with significant prior or alternative experience, please see the note on ‘Guidance on Individual Circumstances’ below.
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 400 hours as the optimum requirement for a pass in fieldwork practice. Therefore, if a student is on a one-year programme, HEIs may need to consider extending the programme and review the graduation date if a student cannot demonstrate sufficient progress in reaching optimum hours. As with BA students, individual universities should work with placements and the student to best identify when meeting this requirement could be possible, extending into university holiday periods if necessary, and/or considering arrangements to recognise where students have significant prior or alternative experience as described in the ‘Guidance on Individual Circumstances’ below.
Guidance on Individual Circumstances:
Where a student has the necessary experience from wider evidence of supervised practice (for example, if a student is also engaged in an appropriate youth organisation and has verified experience prior to or outside of the programme), 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.
Note on Wider Impact of University Closures or Travel Restrictions
The National Youth Agency’s Education and Training Standards Committee recognise there may also be a wider impact on the development and validation of programmes during any closure of Universities or travel restrictions imposed by a continued outbreak of Covid-19. Further guidance is detailed, below, with regards scheduled validation and/or re-validation activities:
Guidance on Scheduled Re-validations:
If an HEI is closed when a scheduled re-validation is due to take place, ETS will consider extending the existing validation 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: KimberleyS@nya.org.uk
Guidance on New Programme Validations:
For new programmes the ETS Panel consider it a necessity to meet with University personnel and relevant stakeholders to inform the decision to validate a JNC recognised programme. If a scheduled panel cannot take place because the University is closed (or travel is prohibited), a postponement to the validation will be considered and the proposal will remain subject to validation until full approval has been gained. However, where this would compromise the commencement or recruitment to a new programme then suitable on-line arrangements will be considered that meet panel requirements. The NYA panel will make every effort to schedule this event prior to commencement of the new academic year.
The Issue of Further Guidance:
We appreciate that there is currently uncertainty surrounding the timelines for restrictions on movement and gatherings. With the situation being fluid and contingent upon official guidance from Government and Public Health England, we will regularly review our guidance and ensure any updated information is issued in a timely manner.
For the latest from PHE please see their blog: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/
Or, their main website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england
For the latest from the National Youth Agency’s Education and Training Standards Committee for England, please check this page or NYA’s social media feeds.