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update from the RHS on new qualifications
by Janet Prescott - Wednesday, 22 July 2020, 3:42 PM

Anyone who has embarked up on their RHS studies recently may have heard from the RHS Qualifications team that changes to the the Level 2 and 3 qualifications are approaching.

The RHS website will shortly carry the message below: the essence of it is,

  • that RHS exams for the current syllabus will continue through February and June  2021 and 2022, with a possibility of another round after this;
  • the RHS is not yet able to confirm how 'old'  and 'new' versions will combine ( for example whether an 'old' practical certificate can become a diploma with the 'new' theory qualification, and vice versa) but expects to provide this information once Ofqual ratifies its new proposal.

Although centres will be expected to change to delivering the new qualifications from September 2021,we will of course continue to support the current  theory qualifications through the VLE and your tutors while there are exams to prepare for!

Our 'Blended Learning' students will also be supported by assessments through 2021, but at the moment the proposal for the assessment format for the 'new' practicals is very different, so transition arrangements may not be simple. We'd like to advise anyone currently studying practicals as 'blended learning' that it's important to move to the assessment stage before the end of 2020 to make sure you can complete all six sessions.  There are now nine assessment dates before the end of 2021.

RHS Qualifications is in the process of updating its qualifications. This is normal practice for any awarding organisation and ensures that qualifications remain relevant, accurate and up to date.  We are working with employers, training providers and learners to ensure that we continue to offer interesting and relevant qualifications which provide high quality gardening skills and knowledge, and prepare learners for employment in the current horticultural industry.

The updated qualifications are in an advanced state of preparation and are due to be submitted to the regulators (Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and CCEA for Northern Ireland) in early Autumn 2020 for approval. Approved Centres will then be provided with an academic year’s notice before they come into operation. This means that we expect all approved centres to run our new qualifications from Autumn 2021.

We appreciate that some learners may have concerns about the validity of qualifications they have either fully or partially completed. RHS Qualifications will only be able to confirm any specific transition arrangements when they have entered into regulation, however, we wish to reassure centres and learners that  we are carefully considering the needs of current learners with the introduction of these new qualifications.

Specifically, we are aware that some learners will have partially completed their Diplomas and Combined Certificate qualifications at the date of their implementation i.e. Autumn 2021. We can reassure all learners and centres that we will be ensuring that learners will have pathways to complete these qualifications at that time. This will include sufficient opportunities to undertake examinations in 2022, and possibly later as the need arises.

The exact transitional arrangements are dependent on the acceptability of our plans to the national regulators and the results of a recently-completed significant industry consultation, therefore, we will publish a detailed policy in the next few months. In the meantime we can confirm that no learner will be disadvantaged and we will ensure that all are able to achieve the qualification on which they have enrolled.