Certification Policy and Procedure

1 Overview

1.1 The Association of British Education Awards (ABEA) is required to ensure that learners entered for its assessments and examinations are given such training, tuition, support and access to resources which will offer them the best chance of success.

1.2 An organisation must go through a centre recognition process before it is allowed to deliver and assess regulated units/components and qualifications. Centres must gain ABEA’s full approval before they start delivery of our units/components and qualifications.

Note: Regulated qualifications are accredited by Ofqual, the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England.

1.3 Centre recognition does not endorse the activities or credibility of the organisation, other than in its standing to apply for approval to run courses/programmes that lead to the award of units and qualifications.

1.4 ABEA considers applications from all centres and does not discriminate against type or size of organisation. ABEA will judge a centre’s application on its ability to quality assure the delivery and assessment of ABEA units and qualifications. See our Equality and Diversity Policy

1.4.1 ABEA will consider applications from international centres which are organisations in their own right or international sites of an approved organisation in the UK.

Note: Centres seeking recognition and operating in international markets must either have established links with an ABEA approved UK centre or must be able to demonstrate robust quality assurance arrangements which can readily be monitored by ABEA’s external moderators and examiners.

1.5 Centre recognition embraces all annexes, sites and franchised locations of the named organisation. Such extensions of the main centre are not considered to have an independent registration with ABEA.

1.5.1 An organisation, however, may determine a site as eligible to receive communications directly from ABEA. Eligibility is defined by the presence of an Examinations Officer or persons with authority to manage and process enrolments / registrations, assessments and claims for certification.

1.6 Centres which sub-contract any part of the enrolment, delivery or assessment of ABEA regulated units/qualifications to another independent organisation must declare that partnership to ABEA and have the appropriate agreements in place to ensure these arrangements do not put the recognition of the ABEA approved centre at risk. ABEA will hold the recognised centre wholly responsible for such arrangements.


2 Applying for Centre Recognition

2.1 Visit ‘Become a Centre’ at http://www.abea.org.uk/centres/become-a-centre/ , read the instructions and available documentation and complete Form 1 and Form 2.

  • Form 1 is the Centre Recognition Application; and
  • Form 2 the Centre Recognition Qualification Intent Form confirming which qualifications/units the centre is intending to offer;

These are to be accompanied by relevant third party reports/endorsements.

2.1.1 If assistance is needed when completing these forms please read the centre recognition guidance. ABEA can also support centres in preparing to become a recognised centre. For more information, please contact centrerecognition@ABEA.co.uk or tele. 0203 290 9095.

2.2 Applications must confirm that centres have the policies and procedures in place which define the quality assurance at the centre and which support ABEA’s regulatory requirements to ensure regulated units/components and qualifications are delivered and assessed in a robust, fair and reliable way.

2.3 Centres must be able to evidence their quality procedures during a quality assurance visit which could be at the point of centre recognition, qualification approval or during the external moderation process.

2.3.1 The point at which this visit takes place is determined by a risk assessment of a centre and the level of support ABEA believes a centre will require when delivering and assessing regulated units/components and qualifications.

2.3.2 The criteria upon which these judgements are made include a centre’s experience and expertise and its association and performance with other nationally recognised awarding organisations.

3 Centre Recognition Visits

3.1 Such visits are required where a centre has demonstrated little or no experience as a centre. They are arranged at the mutual convenience of centres and ABEA.

3.2 All recognition visits will be conducted by an ABEA Quality Assurance Moderator from GQAS, who will:

3.2.1 Review the requirements with which the centre must comply in order to be recognised as an ABEA centre;

3.2.2 Confirm appropriate policies and procedures are in place to protect the integrity of the delivery and assessment of regulated units/components and qualifications.

3.3 ABEA charges for centre recognition visits. Please submit an enquiry at info@abea.org.uk. Your email should bear the title, “Centre Recognition Fees Enquiry. Fees are non-refundable.

3.4 ABEA reserves the right to charge for any pre-arranged visit and/or activities that a centre cancels without sufficient or reasonable notice, and the right to invoice and require payment of visit fees before the visit takes place.

3.5 Following a visit, a report is written and an action plan (if required) agreed with the centre. A centre will not be recognised until all actions have been completed.

4 Recognition

4.1 Once a centre has completed the recognition process it will be required to sign a centre agreement. The Agreement specifies the terms of approval and the joint commitment to the protection of qualification standards and the interests of the learner. When this has been received, confirmation of recognition including a recognition certificate is sent to the centre. The centre will then progress through the qualification approval process.

4.2 ABEA will from time to time require confirmation of a centre’s details and key contacts and will expect centres to alert ABEA to any significant changes to these contacts or their structure or organisation.

4.3 Responsibility for ongoing quality assurance and the application of agreed ABEA policy and procedures rests with the named person accountable for the activities of the organisation i.e. the Head of Centre.

4.3.1 Details of all policies and procedures which underpin these arrangements are available on the ABEA website

4.4 Centres are advised that any persons named on the approval documentation will receive information about ABEA, its policies and procedures and any changes to its qualification offer. These key contacts will also be provided with information on events and training relating to a centre’s offer and will be responsible for the internal circulation of information to relevant centre personnel.

5 External Moderation

5.1 Recognition is a one off process subject to the centre continuing to enrol learners and taking part in ABEA’s regular monitoring activity.

5.2 Through external moderation, ABEA ensures that approved centres provide learners with access to fair and reliable assessment opportunities, and that evidence of learner achievement meets the standard required in the published learning outcomes and assessment criteria of ABEA qualifications. It confirms the authenticity, validity and objectivity of practice.

5.3 It is expected that centres will have an annual moderation per sub-sector (curriculum area) dependent upon the type and nature of the regulated qualifications and units/components offered. Annual moderation is charged per learner and is included in the enrolment fee.

5.4 External moderation is flexible and may be applied at any time of the year but usually towards the end of a course, when learners are still available but have completed all planned assessment requirements.

6 Sanctions

6.1 Sanctions (see Sanctions Policy) may be imposed on a centre where it consistently fails to comply with the requirements of ABEA policies or procedures or has put the integrity of ABEA qualifications at risk and/or failed to support the achievement of learners.

6.2 Any actions resulting in suspension or withdrawal of centre recognition will impact on a centre’s eligibility to deliver ABEA qualifications and may impact on the eligibility to deliver qualifications from other awarding organisations.

6.3 Where recognition is withdrawn, ABEA will, with the co-operation of the centre under its obligations to its learners and the conditions of its agreement with ABEA, endeavour to ensure the interests of all learners are protected and will, if required and where possible, identify alternative arrangements whereby learners may complete their regulated qualifications and units/components.

7 Resources

7.1 Centres must have and retain a workforce of appropriate size and competence to undertake the delivery of regulated qualifications and units/components. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure occupational competence where this is required by ABEA for the assessment of specific qualifications and units.

7.2 Centres must also ensure that they have appropriate and sufficient physical resources to undertake the delivery of ABEA units/qualifications.

7.3 All centre staff will be expected to co-operate with ABEA and the Regulators to ensure that it can produce information and documentation that may be required as part of their monitoring processes.

8 Equalities Law

8.1 Centres will be expected to undertake the delivery of all qualifications as required by ABEA and in accordance with Equalities Law.

8.2 Centres should show that they are clearly committed to supporting equality and diversity for learners by ensuring open access to qualifications and assessments irrespective of age, gender, ethnic origin, religious beliefs, employment status, nationality, sexual orientation, marital status or disability. See our Equality and Diversity Policy.

9 Recognition Withdrawal

9.1 ABEA will withdraw recognition:

  • Where new centres do not enrol any learners during the first two years following approval;
  • Where the centre has been inactive for a period of three years or more;
  • Where a sanction at level 4 has been imposed;

9.1.1 ABEA will give notice of its intention to withdraw recognition indicating the reason for its decision and the actions required for a centre’s learners who may not yet be certificated.

9.2 Centres may withdraw their recognition. Centres which decide to relinquish their centre recognition status:

  • Must give ABEA at least one months notice of their intention to withdraw;
  • Must put appropriate plans in place to allow claims for full/credit certification to which learners may be entitled;
  • Must follow ABEA guidelines to ensure learners are not disadvantaged throughout the process.

9.4 As a result of all such withdrawals, centres will be required to:

  • Pay any outstanding debts;
  • Remove references to ABEA Awards across all media;
  • Remove the centre recognition certificate from display.


Centres will be required to go through the centre recognition process again if they choose to offer ABEA units and qualifications at a later date.

10 Quality Assurance

10.1 This policy and guidance is reviewed annually to ensure it continues to meet the needs of ABEA, its customers and the Regulators – Ofqual in England.