Access to HE


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Certa is an Access Validating Agency (AVA), licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency, to validate and quality assure Access to HE Diplomas.  

The Access to HE Diploma has been specially developed in partnership with Higher Education and Further Education experts, to offer students a second chance towards obtaining the skills needed to go on to study for a degree at University.

QAA News

We recently wrote to you to outline important information introduced by QAA, which must be implemented for all Access to HE Diplomas.

The key change is that QAA has reduced the time that providers have to ensure learners are registered on a Diploma, from 12 weeks (84 days) to 6 weeks (42 days). In addition, course start dates must be set for all diplomas as units must be selected for all registered learners within 12 weeks of the course start date. This new registration timescale will be introduced from 1st September 2018.

QAA has also changed the key measurement used to measure provider performance. The current model is to use the ABB+, A-Level equivalent measure. This has been the key statistical measure to report performance to QAA. From September 2018, the measure will be National Achievement Rates.

These changes have to be implemented by all Awarding Organisations and will affect all centres offering Access to HE Diplomas. Please feel free to share the official letter from QAA regarding these changes with all relevant staff within your centres, particularly your exams team.

Certa assures you that we will do everything possible to support centres with these changes. If you have any specific concerns, please contact

Why use the Certa Access to HE Diploma?

Certa’s Access to HE Diplomas are designed specifically to maximise a student’s chance of getting their place in higher education. Like all Access to HE Diplomas, ours have 60 credits with 45 credits ‘graded’ at Pass, Merit or Distinction, and 15 ‘ungraded’.  Students will take Academic Writing to sharpen their skills for university, but the majority of the rest of the credits can be drawn from a range of academic subjects.

When we develop and review our Access to HE Diplomas, our current Access to HE lecturers are joined by leading academics from a wide range of universities on our panels, to ensure our Diplomas are fit for purpose, and the best way to progress students to higher education.

It’s about choice...

What makes Certa’s Access to HE Diplomas more useful for students and staff is the range of units that we have in each one. It’s possible to build specific pathways allowing students to take advantage of your local university’s requirements. We’ll make sure that your chosen pathways are academically sound, and geared towards preparing students for higher education. When students start, you’ll have up to 12 weeks to register a student’s choice of units, allowing for a strong diagnostic phase that’s really helpful for returners to education.


We allow providers to write their own assessments, enabling experienced lecturers to craft accessible yet challenging assignments for students. We also provide support for assignment writing, as well as all aspects of running an Access to HE Diploma course.  We have crystal clear guidance documentation, a full calendar of CPD events, and a team of friendly, qualified and responsive staff here at Certa.

… and support

 When you’re running the course, our External Moderators will be on hand to provide supportive visits and act as critical friends to keep you on the right track. We have very high standards at Certa, but we believe in making those standards clear and accessible, so you always know what’s needed to help students succeed. All Access to HE Diplomas feature a range of Quality waypoints (moderation, exam boards, referrals, etc.), but working with Certa, you’ll be guided expertly through the whole academic year, allowing you to concentrate on delivering high quality classroom content. 

Quality is at the heart of what we do and is fundamental to delivering our vision, mission and values.  We operate a robust quality model founded on the principles of high levels of contact with our centre’s staff.  We provide the highest quality training and development opportunities for everyone involved in the delivery of Certa units and qualifications.  

How can I find out more information?

Please email us with any queries, or give us a call on 01924 434601– we’d be pleased to help you with any enquiries.

The Access to HE Team