Sometimes, a little extra support can make a huge difference. As apprenticeship providers, we want to make sure every apprentice can succeed and show their full potential. That’s why, for those with learning difficulties or disabilities, reasonable adjustments are so helpful.
So where can we make adjustments and how can this support the apprentice to succeed?
Before we jump in, let’s talk about terminology…
A Reasonable Adjustment is a change you make to remove or reduce the effect of a disability so an apprentice can work, study or take an assessment. You can make on-the-job and off-the-job reasonable adjustments.
With the employer, you could make changes to:
- the work and/or study location
- the way things are conducted
- secure someone to help the apprentice in work or study locations
Because your apprentice is classed as an employee, certain laws apply to the way you consider and apply reasonable adjustments:
“By law, an employer must consider making reasonable adjustments when:
- they know, or could be expected to know, an employee or job applicant has a disability
- an employee or job applicant with a disability asks for adjustments
- an employee with a disability is having difficulty with any part of their job
- an employee’s absence record, sickness record or delay in returning to work is because of or linked to their disability
The employer must make the changes if they’re reasonable.” (Acas 2021)
As a provider, you must make sure no apprentice is discriminated against in the way education is provided. This includes how they access locations, services and information.
Adjustments to the apprenticeship training
Here are a few reasonable adjustments you could make in your apprenticeship delivery:
Differently formatted course material
|Getting teaching notes in advance||Equipment/aids (BSL interpreter, scribe, computer equipment)|
Accessible rooms/venue (Quiet spaces, lifts/ramps)
Speech-to-text for video conferencing
|Use of assistive technology||Use of alternative fonts/coloured paper||
Screen magnification software
Reasonable adjustments can be made to assessments too – both on-programme and at the end-point assessment. Reasonable adjustments mustn’t affect assessment reliability or validity though e.g. give apprentices an advantage over others doing the same assessment.
Adjustments to the end-point assessment
The EPAO will support apprentices by making sure that:
- apprentices have opportunities to demonstrate occupational competence
- assessment is reliable, and any person using the apprenticeship certificate to identify an individual’s competence can have confidence in their skills and abilities
- assessment is rigorous, fair and valid
- assessment is practically able to operate within available resources, following the application of any reasonable adjustments
- facilities and time allow apprentices to use any commercial, mechanical, electronic or other aids to demonstrate achievement
- reasonable adjustments don’t give the apprentice an unfair advantage
Here are a few reasonable adjustments EPAOs could make to the assessment:
Doing assessments in a room without other apprentices
|Setting the end-point schedule to meet the apprentice’s energy levels (e.g. morning/afternoon)||Extra time for end-point assessment activities|
Dictating to a note-taker or using a computer for written exams
|Use of adaptive software/hardware/specialist equipment||
Changes to format/wording/type of assessment activity
|Having comfort/snack breaks||
When thinking about how you manage reasonable adjustments for your apprentices, try asking yourself these questions:
- Which apprentices are likely to need reasonable adjustments? Are we picking up this evidence at the initial assessment?
- How does this impact how our is curriculum designed and delivered for this apprentice?
- When do I convey the need for potential reasonable adjustments to the EPAO?
- Am I giving the EPAO enough time to respond, give guidance, and give us time to prepare for the end-point assessment?
Drawing down the right funding
Where you need to provide additional support to an apprentice due to a learning difficulty or disability, providers can claim Learner Support Funding (LSF) from the ESFA to support this.
Led by our compliance expert David Lockhart Hawkins – SDN hosted a packed 2-hour 15-minute webinar session to look at the rules and evidence needed to claim LSF funding with confidence.
Demonstrating practical examples of what is needed to support a claim, the session covered:
- The 21/22 Funding Rules for learning support
- Identifying barriers to learning
- Needs Assessment
- Support Planning
- Support Review
- Funding claim controls
- Compliance management
- Best Practice
You can purchase the recording, slides and resources here