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Advice for education providers

The closing date for temporary student registration has been extended to 30 November 2020

We believe this will help provide students with the necessary time to complete their studies and gain permanent registration with HCPC, whilst also ensuring continuity of workforce capacity. More information on our approach

We understand that many organisations have put contingency plans in place relating to COVID-19

We recognise that in highly challenging circumstances, education providers may need to depart from established procedures to continue with education and training.

Our Standards are designed to be flexible, to ensure those who complete programmes meet relevant proficiency standards. Therefore, in managing the risks associated with COVID-19, you can adapt your plans so learners can continue to undertake programmes, and do not require regulatory approval to implement these changes.

We recognise the extraordinary nature of this public health matter, and that we must be supportive and proportionate in our requirements and expectations.  We understand that measures may need to be put in place quickly, and reviewed and changed regularly, depending on the challenges posed in both academic and practice-based settings.

With this flexibility, we expect you to use professional judgement and experience to inform the implementation of changes to manage COVID-19 risks.

In doing so, you must ensure that any measures put in place continue to provide the quality of teaching and learning required to meet our Standards, and to ensure individuals meet the relevant proficiency Standards on completion of the award.

Students on the temporary register

  • The student temporary register will close on 30th November 2020. After this date, all graduates with relevant qualifications will need to be on the full Register to practice lawfully.

    The original closure date for the student temporary register was 30th September 2020. We feel that the extra time will help students complete their studies and apply for permanent registration with HCPC, as well as sustaining workforce capacity.

    The rest of our approach to closing the temporary registers has not altered.

  • We have a template which you are required to fill in. Please contact e-studentregister@hcpc-uk.org to request a copy

    It is important that only final year students who have completed all their required placement learning on the programme are included. You will be able to notify us periodically if you have additional students who meet our crtieria for entry to the temporary register.

  • We advise encouraging students to apply for full registration upon completion of their course or receipt of their qualification. 

    The student temporary register will close on 30th November 2020, after which all students with relevant qualifications will require full registration to practice lawfully. For final year students, this means they would only be on the temporary register for a matter of weeks.

  • Yes, if you feel the changes made still ensure students have achieved all the necessary learning outcomes you would normally require by this stage of the programme.

  • If a concern is raised about a student which meets our Triage test (as explained in our Threshold Policy), this will result in removal from the Register with immediate effect.

    We will advise the student’s employing organisation of this, and they may refer the matter back to the education provider. We would expect the heightened pressures involved in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to be taken into consideration in any student fitness to practise process that is undertaken by an education provider.

  • No. We only require that the programme team is satisfied that students have completed all the necessary placement learning. However, we advise encouraging students to apply for full registration upon completion of their course or receipt of their qualification. 

Supporting student progression on your programme

  • No, you don't need to let us know about any one off / temporary changes you need to make which you feel are in line with our overall guidance we have set out for education providers. If you are considering making any significant changes permanent, we would expect you to engage with us in the usual way via our monitoring processes.

  • Our standards are flexible and education providers can develop their programmes as needed to respond to COVID-19.

    This could extend to changing your assessment methods to build upon any experience learners gain.

    You would need to consider the nature of the learner’s role in service, the type of experience they gained, and how this might be to relevant the achievement of the programme’s learning outcomes.

    .

  • You would need to consider your own academic regulations, as these may provide flexibility around awarding final qualifications under circumstances such as COVID-19.

    In doing so, you must ensure that only those learners who have demonstrated the achievement of the relevant proficiency standards receive the final HCPC approved award. 

  • We recognise that it may no longer be practical for some students to complete their minimum placement hours, due to the unavailability of suitable placement sites.


    Our standards are flexible in this regard and do not prescribe a minimum that must be achieved. We expect education providers to consider what is necessary to ensure learners have met the relevant learning outcomes through any practice-based learning.


    On this basis, it may be possible to adjust the minimum practice-based learning hours you set. If you do make an adjustment, please ensure you are clear on the reasons for doing so, and also ensure you can evidence this.

    .

  • Yes. This might include making provisions to adjust planned learning where placements are no longer available, including bringing forward elements of academic learning.

    It may also include supporting students to work in assistant type roles, as part of an extended placement experience.

    Education providers should discuss and agree their arrangements locally, and involve employers as needed to inform any approaches taken.

  • Simulation is certainly a permissable option to support the delivery of pre-reg programmes under HCPC standards, and we don't explicitly confine this to delivery within a HEI based setting, nor do we set a maximum amount of simulation that can be used on a programme. However, clearly the intent of simulation is to provide a structured method of assessment where the actual practice of that skill is not achievable or appropriate for a number of different reasons (availability, legalities, experience etc).

    We have published a blog discussing the use of simulation here.

    We would expect simulation (wherever it is carried out) to be robust in terms of its quality, reliability, replicability, validity and objectivity when applied across a student cohort. It is usually for these reasons that it is best delivered within academic settings to allow for the variables affecting simulation to be appropriately controlled. If this can be achieved in other settings, and the HEI remains responsible for the quality of the simulation being carried out to support learning outcomes, then HCPC standards would support this also. The key point for education providers is around whether the simulation can provide an assessment to the same degree of quality that the observation of real life practice would do in normal circumstances. Of relevance to this consideration is whether particular learning outcomes (and by virtue of this, elements of our proficiency standards) can be suitably assessed to determine whether an individual can practice safely and effectively.

    Notwithstanding the points above, this is also a matter of professional judgement during the COVID-19 pandemic that we have supported education providers to explore and if suitable, look to implement where appropriate. We would therefore expect that there will be some areas of practice where simulation could be suitably explored, and others where it is just not an appropriate alternative assessment method.

  • We would expect this matter to be dealt with through the education provider's own internal investigation processes and if needed through formal student FtP procedures. COVID-19 breaches should be viewed in the same way student conduct issues which occur outside of learning environments are, with the additional considerations around wider patient risks related to non-adherence to any rules in place locally or nationally. Our guidance on student conduct and ethics should also be applied and contextualised for consideration around potential COVID-19 breaches also.

  • This is a matter for the government to consider and we have responded to their recent consultation seeking views on changes changes to the Human Medicines Regulations to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

    Whilst we do not regulate students, we do approve their education programmes. As part of this approval, we set clear expectations that students are supervised. This would remain our expectation if a student was administering vaccines. We also expect students to conduct themselves in a way which aligns with our standards, in preparation for joining the Register. There therefore may be implications for a students’ registration if mistakes are made and harm occurs, due to insufficient support or training.

    Students deployed on mass to administer vaccines may create longer term impacts on the workforce, such as by extending their time in education and therefore delaying when they get on the Register. Administering COVID-19 vaccines on placement may also reduce the variety of practice placement opportunities students will get which may also delay their progression.

About the COVID-19 temporary register

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HCPC has worked with the UK Government to create a COVID-19 temporary register, of two parts.

    Our intention in doing so is to ensure there are no regulatory barriers to the following two groups practising on a temporary basis:

    • Former registrants who have de-registered within the last three years.
    • Third year students, on UK approved programmes, who have completed all their clinical practice placements.
  • The student temporary register will close on 30th November 2020. After this date, all graduates will need to be on the full Register to practice lawfully.

    The temporary register for former registrants currently has no planned date for closure.

    Please see our approach to closing the temporary registers for more information on the closure.

  • Our Approach to the Removal of Registrants from the Temporary Register document explains how we will assess and consider a concern we receive about someone on the temporary register.

  • If you have a concern about a COVID-19 temporary registrant, please email ftp@hcpc-uk.org.

    There is additional guidance on raising a concern available on our website.

    Our Approach to the Removal of Registrants from the Temporary Register document explains how we will assess and consider a concern we receive about someone on the temporary register.

Service update: Education

  • We have decided to not run physical approval events until at least January 2021. We have contacted education providers offering them the option to postpone their scheduled visit or proceed with a virtual event.

  • We are conscious that education providers will also be managing with less staff through the pandemic. We are happy to be flexible if more time is needed to make annual monitoring submissions.

  • We ask that education providers do not telephone us at this time, but instead email our team at education@hcpc-uk.org. We will get back to providers as soon as we are able.

Page updated on: 24/03/2020
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