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Learner Information

Learner Information and the FSPA Learning Environment.

General Information for Learners

The Food Safety Professionals Association (FSPA)  training centre is registered with QQI   (Centre registration No.386531A ) and as such can offer programmes leading to QQI awards at levels 4 and 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications. The Food Safety Professionals Association is an organisation composed of experienced food safety experts who represent every facet of the food industry on the Island of Ireland. Our instructors are all very experienced and have been delivering food safety training to the highest level for many years. In the FSPA we pride ourselves on giving our clients and learners the highest quality training and at great value too. Our Tutors offer both public courses and private in house training at numerous locations throughout the Island of Ireland.

All QQI awards are in line with the levels of learning (1 -10) as indicated on the National Framework of Qualifications. The FSPA now has access to the National Framework of Qualifications through offering programmes which lead to QQI awards giving the learner the opportunity to get recognition for learning and receive credits for training completed.

For Private organizations such as the FSPA to achieve registration with QQI we have to show our capacity to run our programmes in a very defined and professional way. This includes the development of the programmes and assessments around specific National Standards and then the ability to deliver these programmes in a manner which is fair and consistent for all learners bearing in mind, Health and Safety, Reasonable accommodation, Diversity, Access and progression. We must also demonstrate the capacity to monitor and evaluate our programmes and make continual improvements based on a self evaluation process of the centre and the programmes we offer.

Courses currently offered by the Food Safety Professionals Association  that lead to QQI Awards:

Diversity / Equality and Reasonable Accommodation

The Food Safety Professionals Association treats all learners with respect and is totally opposed to discrimination of any form. To this end discrimination on the legally stated nine grounds (age, race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and membership of the traveling community, disability, Family or marital status) is strictly prohibited. This applies to all stages of the programmes offered by the FSPA from access through delivery and assessment. On application or registration a learner may request reasonable accommodation and will be supplied with a reasonable accommodation request form. The trainer will guide the learner through this procedure. Collaborating evidence will be required to process the learners request.

In relation to assessment the FSPA offers reasonable accommodation to meet the needs of a learner who may have a disability. This is also done to ensure compliance with the terms of the Equal status acts 2000/2004. Assessment will be dealt with in more detail below.

Access, Transfer and Progression

The FSPA also have a policy on access and transfer and progression This is to enable learners decide if our programmes suit their particular needs and if they can use FSPA programmes to further their education in other fields. It also means that previous learning howsoever gained may be used to gain access to a programme run by the FSPA. All entry level requirements are listed in the brief for each programme and there are also equipped to participate statements linked to the National Framework of Qualifications which inform learners of what is expected of them at each level of the framework and for programmes set at a specific level from the framework. The FSPA provide course descriptors and programme briefs for each programme we offer to ensure learners are fully informed about the rationale behind the programme, the duration and content of the programme, the types of assessment that the learner will engage in, any special entry requirements and the preferred entry level for the programme.

The FSPA also has a policy on the recognition of prior learning. This policy is operated with regards to programme entry, programme exemptions, credit towards and access to an award. Learners are requested to speak directly with a trainer or the FSPA Administrator if they feel RPL related to their circumstances. This also applies where a learner wishes to transfer from / to a programme or wish to progress to a programme which is at a higher level on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Progression is defined as the way that learners can move onto higher level programmes. Where applicable associated opportunities for progression will be highlighted on the programme briefs.

Assessment Information for Learners:

All programmes are assessed in line with the stated assessment criteria as laid out in the relevant programme descriptor. These assessments are detailed in briefs for each programme and explained to the learner prior to the assessment by the tutor.

The FSPA conducts all assessments in accordance with the QA agreement made with QQI. There are many aspects that a learner should be aware of in relation to assessments. These are :

I. Responsibilities of the learner

II. Assessment Deadlines

III. Assessment Malpractice

IV. Reasonable accommodation

V. Compassionate Consideration

VI. Policy on repeats

VII. Learner appeals

VIII. Protection for learners.

I. Responsibilities of the Learner.

It is the responsibility of the learner to be assessed on each programme as outlined by the tutor following the programme syllabus.

II. Assessment Deadlines:

The FSPA tutor in charge of individual programmes will issue deadlines for each assessment to the learners prior to the assessment commencing. These details may be explained by the tutor either verbally or in written form. Learners should take careful note of these deadlines as it is the responsibility of the learner to present all required evidence for the assessment activity within the deadline specified. It is important for the learner to realize that there are consequences for failing to comply with a deadline. Learners are advised that all written submissions sent by post should be photocopied in case materials get lost in the mail. The original will be sent by post and the photocopy retained by the learner in case of emergency. Also only submissions received by registered post will be accepted. Late submissions will not be processed unless there are extenuating circumstances. A learner who fails to meet the deadlines will have to sit a new assessment during the next assessment period. If a learner fails to comply with this option then they are deemed to have disqualified themselves from the programme.

The FSPA will facilitate and give due consideration to learners who provide evidence of extenuating circumstances that prevent them from making the deadlines for assessments. These extenuating circumstances are dealt with below in the compassionate consideration section.

Once an assessment has been accepted from a learner for late submission regardless of the circumstances, the assessment will be marked and graded in accordance with the standard for the award. The actual marks and grade awarded are determined only on the basis of the evidence submitted in accordance with the standards for the award.

III. Assessment Malpractice:

The FSPA reserves the right to investigate and deal with any form of assessment malpractice which could impact on the integrity of assessment. Learners are asked to sign an authorship statement which states that the work they submit is wholly their own original work.

Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Where plagiarism is seen to have occurred, the learner is communicated with and provided with a method to respond to the allegation and if plagiarism is validated then the learner’s assessment will be deemed invalid and will not be processed for certification. Furthermore the learner will be disqualified from the programme as run by the FSPA.

Plagiarism is defined as follows; Plagiarism, to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own, to use another's work without crediting the source, to commit literary theft or to present as new and original an idea derived from an existing source.

Other forms of Malpractice include but are not limited to:

  • Impersonation of another learner
  • Fabrication of evidence
  • Alteration of results
  • Cogging or cheating
  • Wrongly obtaining secure assessment materials, e.g. examination papers
  • Behaving in such a way as to undermine the integrity of the assessment.

Allegations of malpractice will be investigated by the tutor within a timescale that does not disadvantage the learner against whom the allegation is made. Allegations will also be investigated by the FSPA centre.

IV. Reasonable Accommodation:

The FSPA in accordance with the Equal Status Acts 2000 & 2004 provides reasonable accommodation to meet the needs of a learner who has a disability.

In relation to assessments, reasonable accommodation means adapting the assessment mechanisms as necessary to cater for the needs of learners who may be put at a disadvantage through the normal assessment techniques. i.e. persons with a disability and or other learners covered under Equality legislation.

Any change to the assessment mechanisms by the tutor to facilitate the learner gather evidence to meet the standard, will be done in such a manner as not to significantly change the required National Standard.

Changed assessments or assessment adaptations to meet the learners requirements for reasonable accommodation are not intended to and will not reduce the validity and reliability of the assessment or compromise the standard.

Adaptations to the assessment mechanisms, techniques or instruments will seek to rectify the situation which prevents the learners’ participation in the assessment. It will only be used where a particular assessment technique or instrument disadvantages a learner in the assessment process.

These adaptations may include the following and/or other reasonable adaptation.

  • Modified presentation of assignments / examination papers, i.e. enlargements
  • Scribes / readers
  • Use of sign language
  • Practical Assistant
  • Rest periods
  • Adaptive equipment / software
  • Use of assistive technology
  • Extra time

By implementing these adaptations it will ensure that all learners are assessed on a fair and equitable basis. The FSPA are responsible for their implementation and any associated costs.

V. Compassionate Consideration

As stated previously the FSPA will endeavor to accommodate all learners complete their assessments in extenuating circumstances. To this end the FSPA will allow learners apply for compassionate consideration in relation to their assessment. Any learner who has been prevented from undertaking any specific assessment activity or who feel their performance is seriously impaired because of exceptional circumstances may apply to the FSPA to defer their assessment i.e. to be allowed to complete their assessment activity on another occasion.

Listed below are some examples of circumstances where the FSPA may consider giving compassionate consideration to a learner.

  • A physical injury or emotional trauma during a period of 4-6 weeks previous
  • A physical disability or chronic disabling condition such as epilepsy, glandular fever or other incapacitating illness of the learner
  • Recent bereavement of a close family member or friend
  • Severe accident
  • Domestic crisis
  • Terminal illness of a close family member
  • Other extenuating circumstances.

The FSPA will require the learner to provide adequate evidence / documentation for example a letter from a medical practitioner.

The FSPA will consider all the facts relating to the extenuating circumstance, the assessment activity and all other relevant material in making the decision to approve or deny compassionate consideration to a learner.

VI. Policy on repeats.

Where a learner is unsuccessful, on the first attempt at an assessment activity, the FSPA will provide an opportunity for the learner to repeat the assessment activity to achieve a higher grade. Opportunities to repeat assessment activities will depend on the nature and practical considerations relating to assessment activity. It is acknowledged that there could be specific constraints which prevent the FSPA from offering repeat assessment opportunities to a learner. The FSPA tutors will inform learners at the assessment briefing stage whether or not assessments can be repeated and the associated procedures and costs for same.

VII. Learner Appeals

The FSPA has an appeals process which enables the learner to appeal the assessment on the following grounds:

  • The assessment process. ( if the learner perceives there has been irregularities / inequality in the implementation of the assessment)
  • The assessment result.
Once a learner completes an assessment the assessments go through a rigorous process of validation. Firstly the Tutor corrects the assessment as per the standard. The results are then internally verified in the FSPA centre before being externally authenticated and finally approved by the FSPA results approval panel.

Only approved results may be appealed. The FSPA notifies learners of the approved result and then allow the learner 14 days to make an appeal if they so wish. A nominal fee may apply.

The appeals process will involve a review of the assessment process for the specific learner involved, including where appropriate, a review of all assessment evidence submitted by the learner and a review of the result. The tutor who deals with the appeal will not be the tutor who made the original assessment decision.

The only evidence that the appeal tutor may review will be the original evidence as submitted by the learner for assessment. New evidence may not be added later by the learner for appeal.

The learner will be informed of the outcome of the appeal process within an agreed timeframe.

Following the completion of the FSPA appeals procedure the results for the learner will be submitted toQQI as the final result. The final results are the basis on which QQI will issue certificates.

QQI  also operates a National Appeals Process. This is only on the basis of :

  • The completion of the FSPA appeals process and
  • Appealing the process NOT the result.

QQI only accepts appeals from the FSPA on the learners behalf

QQI will not accept an appeal on behalf of a learner until it has gone through the FSPA appeals process and all appeals mechanisms are exhausted.

QQI have published a document outlining the QQI  National Appeals Process. 

VIII. Protection for learners:

As the FSPA does not offer programmes with a duration of 12 weeks or more the FSPA are not subject to the requirements of section 43 of the Qualifications Act 2003.

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