CEO welcome to 2022-23 academic year

I am pleased to welcome you back after the summer, I hope it has been a restful and enjoyable break.

Before we start the new academic year, I would like to reflect upon our previous year. I would like to thank all of our fantastic members for your part in successfully delivering the Access to Higher Education Diploma in 2021-22. From your timely engagement with us at CAVA to your unwavering support for your students, we have been constantly impressed by your commitment to the Access to HE Diploma. The impact of your work is evident in our student feedback. Students gave their experience of their Access to HE course an average 4.4 out of 5 in our end of year student satisfaction survey and 90% commented that it prepared them for their future course of study. This is highlighted in one student’s comment about their course: “I have more confidence in myself. My teachers believed in me, that I can do it, and they had my back through my journey in the Access to HE Diploma.”

At CAVA, we used the 2021-22 academic year to review and update our quality assurance processes. With your input, we undertook a comprehensive review of our external moderation model and our grade database. Both reviews have resulted in improvements, which will make the processes more accessible and robust. We will be rolling out these new processes in the coming months, and I look forward to getting your feedback. We also validated new centralised Diplomas in Business; Childhood Studies; Computing; Health Professions; and Health and Social Care, as well as a new bespoke Diploma in Shoemaking. We continued to provide a full programme of staff development training opportunities for members, arranging 9 separate events attended by 547 attendees across our members. I was particularly proud that our course leaders gave us an average score of 5.8 out of 6 in our end of year survey for the statement “CAVA staff members are always helpful and supportive.” My favourite quote from a course leader was: “CAVA is very well organised and the staff there always go above and beyond to help. I have never worked with a better awarding body.”

During the year, we were delighted to welcome Access Creative College, SMB College Group, and Selby College (through a merger to form the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group) as members, as well as Somerset Skills and Learning who joined us this summer. We were also pleased to sign a non-exclusive progression agreement with the University of Suffolk, which means that CAVA Access to HE Diploma students will benefit from lower offers or guaranteed interviews for entry to University of Suffolk courses in 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Looking ahead to 2022-23, we will shortly be launching our new grade database, and a new e-learning resource for our Access to HE course tutors. The e-learning resource will supplement our annual training and events programme, to support you in continuing to offer high quality delivery. We are also building an assessment library to share good assessment practice across our validated Diploma frameworks.

We are looking forward to working with our members around our Promotions and Recruitment working group to coordinate our marketing initiatives. We will also be setting up a new working group to explore electronic certification for future years; and a Student Advisory Committee to expand the student voice within CAVA.

Finally, a key development in 2022-23 will be QAA’s review of the Access to HE Diploma Specification; Grade Scheme; and Licencing Agreement. We will share QAA’s consultations with our members as soon as they are published, and we will facilitate responses to support a robust and positive evolution of the qualification.

Alongside all of this, we will be carrying on with our usual levels of support and guidance during this year. I would like to once again say a huge thank you to everyone in our CAVA community: our Access to HE course teams; all of our members’ staff; our Council of Members representatives; our Board Directors; and the CAVA Team for making 2021-22 a success. I look forward to working with you all to build on our achievements in 2022-23.

Thank you,

Flóra Raffai, CAVA Chief Executive Officer