Submitting a new unit for approval (flow chart for unit approval).
For service standards relating to new unit submission go here
There are a number of key stages that should be followed when considering writing and submitting a new unit for approval:
Establish that there is a need for a new unit to be written. This will entail a detailed search of the Agored Cymru unit database to confirm that a suitable unit does not already exist. It is important to talk to the Business Development team so that they can also search other databases to see if your requirements can be met by existing provision. A new unit will not be accepted by Agored Cymru if it is similar or has a large overlap with an existing unit. A detailed rationale of the need for a new unit is part of the submission documentation to Agored Cymru.(Unit Template Form )
- Check whether you have approval for the subject area and level of unit to be developed.
- Identify whether the unit is required in Welsh, English or Welsh and English.
- Write new units using the correct format and language, following the guidelines for writing credit-based units issued in documentation published by QCA, WAG and CEA. (QCF unit writing guidance ).
- Map units to relevant standards e.g. National Occupational Standards, Language standards etc. (www.ukstandards.org.uk)
- Internally verify proposed new units prior to submission to Agored Cymru. This will ensure that units are well constructed and correctly written and confirm that it fulfils a specific need within the centre.
- Submit new units using the correct and current submission form available on the Agored Cymru website. (Unit Template Form ) - service standard
Sending a new unit for approval
New unit submissions are completed using the document above and submitted via e-mail to Agored Cymru. On receipt of the submission document an initial scrutiny, focussing on format/construction will be carried out by business team personnel to ensure that they meet the requirements detailed in the Regulatory Authority guidance. If the requirements are met the submission date is logged and the unit(s) are sent for consideration by specialist readers. If the requirements, particularly those related to compliance with unit writing guidelines are not met, the unit will be returned to you for correction and re-submission.
Approval of new units
The new unit is then forwarded to two specialist readers, who will have expertise in a specific subject / sector, or where applicable, in a certain type of provision e.g. Basic Skills or Independent Living Skills. Specialist readers are primarily drawn from experienced external verifiers or quality reviewers, however it is occasionally necessary to find subject specialist from outside this group.
Specialist readers are required to make comments and recommendations regarding the unit content, level, credit value and title as well as the prescribed or optional assessment methods. Guidance on unit construction is given to specialist readers.
Where unit content relates to specific vocational sectors, guidance will be sought from the relevant Sector Skills Council. In some cases there are ‘approval/governance’ panels run to confirm the vocational content of the unit e.g. NLIAH governance panel. The Centre’s mapping to relevant standards such as National Occupational Standards will be checked for accuracy and relevance.
Comments made by specialist readers, which may either be in the form of recommendations or conditions, are reviewed by quality team personnel.
Notification specialist reader comments
If all comments regarding the new unit are positive and both specialist readers recommend that the unit is approved ‘as is’, it is, subject to final scrutiny by a member of the Business Development team and then allocated a code prior to you being notified of its approval.
If recommendations and / or conditions are made by one or both of the readers these are forwarded to you for consideration. Usually recommendations or conditions made by readers are accepted, but this is an iterative process where you can explain why comments may be inappropriate. The final decision on any ‘negotiation’ is made by Agored Cymru. Similarly, the unit is subject to final scrutiny by the Business Development team before it is allocated a code and the centre is notified of its approval. New units are usually approved for a period of 5 years, or the life of the relevant National Occupational Standards after which their content will be reviewed.
If readers have identified serious failures with the specialist content of the unit it is referred back for further work. Responses will be sent to you within 30 working days of receipt of a correctly prepared submission.
Approved units are then published on the Agored Cymru Unit Library and if appropriate submitted for inclusion on CQFW.