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Apprenticeship Gateway EPA Resit / Retake Policy

This policy has been developed in line with the ESFA guidance on this matter. 

Apprenticeship gateway and resits for end-point assessment (EPA)

Policy statement

Skills & Learning will work closely with employers and apprentices to ensure on and off the job training is effectively delivered, monitored and supported to enable sound Gateway declarations, successful EPA preparation, timely apprenticeship achievement and to limit the likelihood of apprenticeship assessment resits or retakes being required.  

The roles and responsibilities of Skills & Learning, employers and apprentices are described. 

End-point assessment

End-point assessment (EPA) tests the knowledge, skills and behaviours that an apprentice has gained during their training. Unique to each standard, EPA demonstrates the competence of an apprentice in their role. This competence is valued by current and future employers. 

EPA plans are available on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s (the Institute) website. Only approved EPAOs can carry out assessments as set out in the assessment plan. 


Gateway takes place before an EPA can start. The employer and Skills & Learning will review their apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours to see if they have met the minimum requirements of the apprenticeship set out in the apprenticeship standard, and are ready to take the assessment. 

No fee is charged to learners. Employer contributions will be charged in line with ESFA guidance and considering market rates.

Minimum requirements

To meet the minimum requirements set out in the apprenticeship standard an apprentice needs to: 

  • display occupational competency 
  • have evidence of or pass functional skill levels in English and maths 
  • complete mandatory training 
  • take any qualifications set out in the standard 
  • meet the minimum duration for their apprenticeship training 

Only apprentices who complete gateway successfully can start the EPA. 

Resits and Retakes

Apprentices who fail one or more assessment method will be offered the opportunity to take a resit or a retake. 

When the result notification recommends a re-take, Skills & Learning and the employer will consider a supportive action plan that responds to the weaknesses identified from the original EPA result notification. 

The action plan will clearly state the nature and extent of the re-training and include the estimated time to prepare the apprentice for the retake. The timescales and fee for a retake must be agreed between the employer and EPAO. 

A resit involves the apprentice sitting one or more failed assessment components again, without the need to undertake further training. 

Following failure of EPA, the EPAO will provide a result statement showing the assessment components the apprentice has failed and that no further training is needed. Some EPA plans set out specific criteria for resits which need to be followed. 

A resit cannot be taken with the intention of increasing the original grade if an apprentice has passed their EPA. Resits are only to be taken in the event of a failure. 

Who is responsible for resit costs

The employer has responsibility for the majority of their apprentice’s training. Employers are expected to financially support apprentices until completion, including paying the cost of resits, when necessary. Resits are ineligible costs and are not funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). 

The EPAO and Skills & Learning are not responsible for resit costs.  Skills & Learning may agree to contribute to resit costs where the failure was due to an internal Skills & Learning error for example, preparing the apprentice for the wrong assessment or maladministration.  

The number of resits that can be taken by an apprentice will be at the discretion of their employer, unless the assessment plan limits this to one. 

The ESFA recommends a limit of 2 resits, however more than 2 resits can be taken if needed, unless otherwise specified in the assessment plan. 

Apprentices cannot be asked to pay for costs of training and assessment and are not responsible for resit costs. 

Pre-gateway agreements

Skills & Learning will agree with employers how any resits will be paid for at the beginning of their contract. This will include agreement on who will pay for resits not included in the contract. 

Employer role and responsibilities

Before gateway 

EPA is a vital part of an apprenticeship and should be planned for at the start of an apprenticeship programme. The apprenticeship funding rules explain how EPA is funded. Employers are responsible for deciding when their apprentices are ready to pass through gateway and take their EPA. 

To support their understanding of EPA and to inform their gateway decisions employers should: 

  • choose an EPAO at the same time as choosing Skills & Learning as the training provider – Skills & Learning can do this on behalf of employers if they give permission 
  • choose the correct EPAO for registered professions 
  • agree a gateway date at the beginning of the apprenticeship, or at least three months before the apprentice is expected to be ready for EPA – share this date with the Skills & Learning and the apprentice 
  • tell the apprentice about EPA at the start of the programme, so that they are aware of all requirements 
  • inform the EPAO of planned gateway and EPA dates at least three months in advance to give them enough time to prepare 
  • make the EPAO aware of any additional needs of the apprentice so that they can make reasonable adjustments 
  • check the dates that the apprentice will sit other qualifications in the apprenticeship standard early on – mandatory qualifications need to have been completed in advance of gateway 
  • attend regular reviews throughout training with Skills & Learning and the apprentice to assess their progression against the assessment plan and familiarise apprentices with assessment methods; this way the apprentice can be passed through gateway at the correct time 
  • actively engage with the chosen EPAO from the beginning of the apprenticeship, making good use of the materials they provide to prepare the apprentice 
  • keep everyone up to date on any changes to the original plans for Gateway and EPA 
  • take into account and plan around factors that might reduce the apprentice’s EPA window

Employers are therefore expected to: 

  • employ the apprentice subject to the employer’s usual terms and conditions of employment 
  • provide the apprentice with the facilities, training and meaningful workplace opportunities necessary to achieve the selected standard outcomes specified in the apprentice’s individual learning plan 
  • allow Skills & Learning tutors reasonable access to their premises for the purpose of supporting, training, evaluating and assessing the learner until completion of the programme.  
  • support Skills & Learning with identifying the prior skills and experience of the apprentice to inform the training plan. 
  • support on-the-job training of the apprentice as agreed in the training plan 
  • release the apprentice from daily duties for the required 20% off-the-job training entitlement delivered or directed by Skills & Learning   
  • release the apprentice from daily duties for such time as is required to complete the necessary English and maths learning and qualifications, if required 
  • release the apprentice from daily duties for any required exams, tests and assessments related to the apprenticeship including induction and end point assessment.    
  • release the apprentice from daily duties for any required appointments with Skills & Learning 
  • support the apprentice to keep an accurate reflective journal that describes the impact of learning and how this has been applied in the job role 
  • support the apprentice in articulating the skills gained/demonstrated and the projects and tasks accomplished, providing the apprentice with constructive feedback on their performance. 

At Gateway 

When an apprentice reaches the planned gateway date, their employer should hold a final meeting with Skills & Learning to discuss if the apprentice is ready to sit their EPA. 

Who is responsible for passing an apprentice through gateway? 

Employers have the final say on whether an apprentice should be put forward for EPA based on whether they feel that the apprentice: 

  • displays occupational competence 
  • Meets the gateway criteria 
  • is ready to complete their assessment 

However, both the employer and Skills & Learning have a shared responsibility to decide whether the apprentice has demonstrated the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be competent in their job role. 

The assessment plan will be referred to when approaching gateway to check that the apprentice is able to demonstrate all of the required knowledge, skills and behaviours and can do so in a live EPA. 

To minimise the risk of needing to resit, it is important that the apprentice has passed all of the criteria listed in the assessment plan before they are put through for EPA. 

Once Skills & Learning and the employer have discussed the relevant evidence and have agreed that the apprentice is ready to be assessed, the employer can pass them through gateway. Employers should give final confirmation to their chosen EPAO that the apprentice is ready to take their EPA. 

Where there is a disagreement about whether the apprentice is ready to take their EPA, Skills & Learning will discuss with the employer whether additional training is appropriate and, if agreed, put this in place. 

To provide an apprentice with the best chance of success, it is important that they do not pass through gateway until all parties agree that they are ready to take their EPA. By ensuring that apprentices are only passed through gateway when they are ready, employers will be less likely to incur resit costs. 

Skills & Learning role and responsibilities 

Skills & Learning are jointly responsible with the employer for keeping the apprentice on track with their off the job training. This will help to ensure that the apprentice is able to sit their EPA on the planned date. 

To keep apprentices on track, and to assist employers to make a good gateway decision, Skills & Learning will: 

  • prompt the employer to select an EPAO early on, (we may do this on the employer’s behalf where the employer has given permission) 
  • agree a proposed gateway date with the employer at the beginning of the apprenticeship (or at least three months in advance of gateway) – taking into account any prior learning or additional needs of the apprentice. 
  • plan in dates for completing the required mandatory qualifications in advance of gateway 
  • hold regular reviews with the apprentice to assess their progress against the assessment plan – this way the apprentice can be passed through gateway at the right time 
  • familiarise the apprentice with the EPA assessment components and grade requirements 
  • hold regular reviews with the employer to update them about the apprentice’s progress and development needs 
  • ensure that there is time for the apprentice to use any preparatory and practice materials provided by the EPAO 
  • inform the EPAO as early as possible if the apprentice will need reasonable adjustments to be made during the EPA 
  • provide appropriate on-programme training and assessment (including maths and English) to ensure each apprentice meets the required skills and knowledge level of their apprenticeship 
  • keep all parties (apprentice, employee and EPAO) up to date on any changes to gateway review and EPA dates 
  • provide opportunities for mock assessments where appropriate and available 

At Gateway

By the time an apprentice reaches the planned gateway date, Skills & Learning and the employer should have a good idea whether the apprentice has demonstrated the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be occupationally competent. 

Regular progress checks during the training element of the apprenticeship will confirm that the apprentice is making progress so all parties should be clear that the apprentice is ready to go through gateway. 

If an apprentice is not deemed to be ready to pass through gateway, Skills & Learning will communicate with the employer regarding what additional training the apprentice needs. This will then be put into place to get the apprentice ready to pass through gateway and take their EPA. 

It is important that an apprentice does not pass through Gateway until Skills & Learning and the employer consider them to be occupationally component and ready to take their assessment, avoiding any unnecessary resit costs to the employer. 

It is also important that the apprentice understands what EPA is from an early stage in their apprenticeship, that they understand the different assessment methods and feel confident that they are ready to take their assessment.

Apprentice role and responsibilities 

An apprentice cannot achieve their apprenticeship unless they take and pass their EPA. 

Apprentices are more likely to pass their EPA if they: 

  • take ownership of their journey towards EPA at the beginning of the apprenticeship 
  • know when they are expected to take their EPA 
  • stay on track with their learning and take part in progress reviews with their employer 
  • download and understand the relevant apprenticeship standard and assessment plan so that they have a good understanding of the knowledge, skills and behaviours they are required to demonstrate and the methods which will be used to assess them 
  • understand which mandatory qualifications they need to take as part of their apprenticeship and ensure they complete them 
  • monitor their own progress against the knowledge, skills and behaviours specified in the standard 
  • make full use of the materials provided by the EPAO to prepare for EPA 
  • make use of employer and Skills & Learning support 
  • talk to their employer and Skills & Learning about the different assessment methods for their apprenticeship standard 
  • see EPA as an opportunity to showcase their knowledge, skills and behaviour

Apprentices are expected to:  

  • work for the Employer in accordance with the agreed terms and conditions of employment
  • undertake on and off-the-job training, attend courses and workshops, keep records, and take tests, exams and assessments determined by the employer and/or Skills & Learning, and carry out such work as may be required in order to achieve the selected standard outcomes specified in the apprentice’s individual learning plan
  • keep a reflective learning journal on their personal development during the apprenticeship, identifying enhanced skills and competencies
  • engage with activities designed to improve English, maths and ICT skills
  • prepare for and undertake the required end point assessment activity for the appropriate apprenticeship standard where applicable
  • prepare well for and attend training and assessment activities as directed by the employer and/or apprenticeship tutor/tutor
  • use the time allocated for off-the-job training and study effectively and productively to meet required targets
  • attend appointments, workshops and activities arranged by Skills & Learning notifying their named contact if they are unable to do so

At Gateway

The apprentice will have the opportunity to express their views about whether they feel ready to pass through gateway and to voice any concerns they might have about taking their EPA.  

Gateway declarations are prepared and signed by Skills & Learning, the employer and the apprentice.  

Resit costs

It is the employer’s decision as to whether an apprentice re-sits or re-takes their end point assessment, and the employer is responsible for the cost of these. Resits are ineligible costs and so are not funded by the ESFA. 

A resit cannot be taken with the intention to increase the grade if the apprentice passes the assessment. 

The terms re-sit and retakes are defined as: 

 Re-sit– where an apprentice has failed an assessment component but it is judged no further training is required, and the re-sit can be taken in the prescribed assessment window. 

 Retake – where an apprentice is required to undertake an assessment activity as a result of a fail, after a period of re-training, if the retake falls outside of the initial assessment window, the apprentice will need to retake all components of the endpoint assessment. Retraining has to be for a period of between 4 weeks and three months. 

Where Skills & Learning, the apprentice and the employer have all carried out their responsibilities as described above, resit of assessments should not be required.  

 However where a resit is required because the:  

  • employer does not release the apprentice for study, preparation or assessment 
  • employer asks the apprentice not to attend the assessment  
  • employer makes it difficult for the apprentice to attend the assessment 
  • employer knowingly completes and signs a Gateway declaration when the apprentice is not actually ready for end point assessment 
  • apprentice fails to attend a scheduled assessment (in person or online)  
  • apprentice fails to prepare for an assessment 
  • apprentice attends the assessment but purposely does not perform to the best of their ability  

 The employer will be responsibility for any resit fees incurred and the costs will be invoiced to the employer 



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