Registering learners on qualifications is an integral part of the work we do with our centres. We asked Janet Hough an Exams Administrator at Bolton College for her tips on getting it right. She has 23 years’ experience in Further Education, with 20 of those years in exams department, so she knows what she is talking about.
“I have been working with Open Awards ever since I started at Bolton College, so I know the team well. We offer the Access to HE Diploma and some community outreach qualifications with them.
Registering Access to HE learners on the Access to HE Diploma is relatively simple, but it only happens once a year which means you forgot the detail after it is done each year. Every year I set aside some time to refresh myself with the procedures. They are set out step by step, so as long as you follow these closely everything goes smoothly.
Sometimes, if there is a change I don’t quite understand, I will call a member of the Open Awards team to talk it through. They are always really approachable and happy to help.
Ensuring the accuracy of the names is always a key concern. I have worked with my IT department to create a report which generates the names in format so they can be inserted straight into the Access to HE Learner Register Form (LRF) Template. We worked with Open Awards when we were developing this, they helped us check the first cohort to make sure we got it right. Now the names we provide are really accurate.
Unique Learner Numbers (ULNs) are compulsory now. At Bolton College these are generated by the Management Information Unit. I regularly check for learners where a ULN is not provided and request that they are generated. Occasionally if one is not available at the point of registration Open Awards will allow the learner onto the system provided a deadline is set for the ULN to be added. This flexibility really helps.
The registration timescales for Access to HE are very set. I make sure I check them each year and put reminders in my calendar so I don’t forget. Learner withdrawals can only be made in the first 6 weeks for free. I send out a report with all the registered learners to all delivery staff to check. They have to sign it and return it to me before a deadline. I always make sure this is sufficiently before Open Awards deadline so that I have time to chase those that are late. It is a busy time of year, so it is understandable that some people will need a gentle prod.
My top tips to anyone starting out in Access to HE administration would be:
- Give yourself time to read through the procedures
- Check the deadlines each year and work your internal deadlines around these
- Phone the Open Awards team if you get stuck, they are always really supportive”
You can find out more about the administration of our Access to HE Diploma on our website. If you have any questions contact us on 0151 494 2072 or firstname.lastname@example.org