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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and information

Update for students - 6 January 2021

On Monday 4 January, the Prime Minister announced that all schools and colleges will be closed from Tuesday 5 January 2021, as England moves into a third national lockdown. QAA’s priority is to ensure that we continue to support all Access to HE Diploma students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland during this challenging time.

We have advised course providers to continue to apply the current arrangements for the Award of the Access to HE Diploma in 2020-21, published in September 2020. These arrangements were designed to recognise the changes course providers have already made for teaching and assessing the Access to HE Diploma. They also allow for additional adaptations to be made as necessary under this and any future lockdowns. We recognise that for many students, the additional pressures of work, caring responsibilities or illness may make study even more challenging and, in some cases, impossible at the present time. However, we have confidence that there are sufficient measures in place to ensure that these extenuating circumstances can be dealt with under the current arrangements to support students through their studies.


If you are finding it difficult to study at the moment, your provider will have procedures in place to allow you to request extensions to deadlines. If you feel your academic performance is affected by the current lockdown, you should let your course provider know about the circumstances that are affecting your performance so that these extenuating circumstances can be taken into consideration. Please contact your provider to discuss your options if you are having difficulties with your studies.


You will receive grades for all graded units you complete and these grades are provisional until they are confirmed by the Final Awards Board. No estimated grades will be awarded. The current arrangements for the award of the Diploma will ensure that students receive fair grades.

It is QAA's priority to ensure you receive robust results and that the distribution of grades this year follows a similar pattern to the grades received in previous years. Access Validating Agencies (AVAs) will continue to support course providers in implementing effective quality assurance mechanisms to ensure consistency is applied across all Access to HE Diplomas awarded.

Find out more

We will continue to provide updates for students on the Access to HE website.


You can also read our FAQs.


Webinars: We will be offering a series of webinars from 18 January 2021 which will explain the arrangements for the award of QAA-recognised Access to HE Diplomas in 2020-21 and provide an opportunity for students to feedback on the arrangements. These sessions can be booked via our event page.


If you need help or further support, please speak contact QAA officers at