Coronavirus update for customers

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Coronavirus update for customers

NOCN Group offers a wide range of services including regulated qualifications, EPA for apprenticeships, Job Cards in construction, Access to HE Diplomas, bespoke accreditation, and educational and skills support training.

As you will be aware the government imposed a third national lockdown from Tuesday 5th January 2021. You will find out more operational detail on the implications for each of these services through the following links:

Business Development
Regulated Qualifications
EPA for Apprenticeships
Job Cards in construction (CPCS)
One Awards

Please note that NOCN Group will be following the guidance issued by the ESFA, IfATE, Ofqual, CCEA Regulation, QAA, and Qualifications Wales, and will update our customers as things change.

If you have any concerns or would like to discuss the impact on your centre, apprentices or learners please contact us on or 0300 999 1177.

Further information:

Letter from Gavin Williamson CBE MP to Simon Lebus

Letter from Simon Lebus to Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP

DfE and Ofqual have launched two consultations (15th January):

GCSE, AS and A Level awarding in summer 2021

Alternative arrangements for the award of VTQs and other generals in 2021

Using Xbox to Access Online Learning

It is possible for learners to access their online work from home using a gaming console. For guidance on how to do this please download the document here.

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Functional Skills Guidance on remote assessment of SLC for Centres and Assessors

Ref : B20-78

Type : Amendment

Date : 23 October 2020

Updated October 2020

Centres who wish to carry out remote Speaking, Listening and Communicating assessments are now able to do so. This applies to legacy and reform at all levels (Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2).

NOCN wish to acknowledge that remote assessment will not be appropriate for all learners, but this is being offered as an option for centres who judge that a remote assessment would be appropriate for their learners.

Remote assessment guidance

Centres must ensure that learners are not disadvantaged through this process, and that prior preparation has been carried out with the learners. This may involve; trialling the process with the learners to acclimatise them to the remote processes and checking that recording systems are accessible.

All SLC assessments are required to be recorded by audio or visual means to allow for internal and external quality assurance checks.

Technical preparations should be observed to ensure that:

1. Learners and assessors have the required knowledge and access to a reliable Wi-Fi connection to support the system being utilised eg Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout etc. A telephone can be used, but a video is the NOCN preference; in order to support internal and external quality assurance checks.

2. A test of the recording equipment must carried out; to make sure that the equipment is working sufficiently prior to the start of the assessment. Please ensure that cameras and microphones are capturing a good quality recording and the learner(s) are visible. This test of the system will also allow the learner to become familiar with the systems being used.

3. The assessor will act as an invigilator and an assessor due to the assessment being recorded.

4. The date and time of the assessment must have been scheduled to allow sufficient preparation time for all parties. Further, the assessment should not take place in a public place, in order to avoid distractions.

5. A check on the learners’ identity must be carried out by the assessor prior to the assessment starting. At the commencement of the assessment:

  • The assessor should state: the centre number, centre name, their name, the date of the assessment, what assessment is taking place (subject/level), and state what technology is being used
  • eg ‘Centre 1234, NOCN Group, Elizabeth Pawlowski, SLC Level 2, Teams meeting recording at 11.15am on Tuesday 20th October 2020’.
  • The assessor will then ask the participants to state their names, so that a familiarisation with individual voices can be ascertained, for internal and external quality assurance checks.
  • The learner should state : their name, their student ID number (if known) and they should show their ID badge (if one is available).

6. Assessors are to complete the Assessment Observation Record Sheet for each learner they are assessing, for internal and external quality assurance checks.

7. NOCN SLC requirements must be adhered to, this includes the group sizes and timings stipulated.

8. All recordings must be securely stored to allow for internal and external quality assurance checks. All recordings should be stored securely, and the file name should state the centre name, assessor name and assessment date.

Recommendations to support learners

1. Centres must ensure all learners are provided with sufficient notice of their assessment date/time, ensuring that learners understand that this is an assessment under controlled conditions and that the recording will not be shared with anyone other than those concerned internal and external quality assurance checks. Adding that the recordings will be deleted upon certification of the qualification.

2. Learners are to be allowed preparation time prior to assessment. Preparation time is not assessed and is not included in the recording of the assessment. Brief notes can be used as prompts in the assessment but should not be heavily relied upon as the assessment could become a reading assessment instead (verbatim).

3. Learners are to undertake the assessment in a suitable location, in an isolated room or a quiet outside space, eg a bricklaying yard if the learner is using a demonstration of the tools used for their presentation. There must be no access to members of the public.

Please contact if you have any further queries, with the subject field marked For the attention of the Skills for Life Team.