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UpdateJanuary 2015 No. 49

Welcome to 2015

Welcome back at the start of another calendar year – it’s still chilly here at CPCAB Towers but already it’s noticeable that the days are growing longer and the spring flowers are beginning to put in an appearance. We hope you’ve had an enjoyable break and are keeping yourselves warm! Here’s to a good year ahead.

We’d also like to welcome Caroline Waite, who has joined us this year as Qualification Leader for Levels 5 and 6. Her family is fairly grown-up nowadays, leaving her time for hobbies including travel and a wide range of reading plus walks with her adorable cocker spaniel, Oscar. Although Caroline is new to Head Office she has a long-standing relationship with CPCAB and we know you’ll enjoy getting to know her.

Fees for 2015-16

Please note that our new fee structure comes into force with effect from September 2015. These fees apply to the UK only. For overseas charges please contact CPCAB.

The Open University Foundation Degree in Counselling – important changes

CPCAB and the Open University are delighted to announce a recent change in the structure of the FD which we hope will be helpful.

Learners who have achieved the CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (120 credits) and the mandatory Open University module D240 (30 credits) can now choose from a more flexible range of options from both CPCAB and the Open University to complete their Foundation Degree (90 credits). The CPCAB Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and Level 5 Diploma in CBT Skills and Theory, which carry 30 credits each, will still be among the options for completing the Foundation Degree, but they are no longer mandatory. We hope this new arrangement will be helpful in particular to Foundation Degree students who aren’t within range of a centre offering CPCAB level 5 qualifications.

For further information please read our announcement made at the time of the change in December 2014.

Standardisation day – Birmingham

A reminder that the final standardisation training day of 2014/15 will be held in Birmingham on Saturday, 7th February 2015. Please note this training day only covers levels 2-4.

All tutors delivering CPCAB qualifications must attend a CPCAB standardisation training session to ensure that they are assessing to a common standard. Tutors must attend standardisation training every two years and receive ‘cascade’ training from another team member in the intervening year. These training days are offered free in regional locations.

Please note centres must ensure that at least one experienced tutor and all new tutors attend a standardisation training session during the 2014/15 academic year. This is to ensure that they are assessing to a common standard.

To book your place at Birmingham standardisation use our standardisation booking form.

Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling – loans and gap years

From time to time we receive enquiries because a candidate is unable to start the second year of TC-L4 at the expected time. It is possible (though not ideal) to arrange a gap year in special circumstances and if this is the case please contact us for advice. The following guidance, though, is aimed at students with a 24+ loan where a gap year has already been agreed.

As you know, student loans are paid in monthly instalments directly to the centre and the centre has to keep the funding body informed of the student’s attendance via the Learning Provider Portal (see website details below). If attendance stops then so do the payments. The authorities allow students to take a break of up to a year, (between years 1 and 2) and the payments will stop for the year and recommence when attendance starts again, i.e. at the beginning of year 2. If the break is longer than 12 months then the student will have to apply again (under change of circumstances). The same would apply should the student change centre half way through the course.

If a student begins year 2, drops out, then repeats year 2 starting the following September, the situation is less clear but it’s likely the same procedure will apply. Although the loan is not necessarily for a fixed amount, and the amount of the loan allocated is determined by the individual circumstances, clearly the more a student borrows the more they will have to pay back so there is a limit to what they can borrow.

More information is available from the Learning Provider Services website. This has a FAQs section, a number of relevant factsheets and a Learner Helpline. Remember that this guidance applies only to the funding aspects of the qualification and that a gap year is only agreed by CPCAB under exceptional circumstances.

When things go wrong

This article has been included in Student Update no.24 (January 2015)

We all hope that you will enjoy every minute of your CPCAB training course and most of our students certainly do! From time to time things do go wrong though.

If you have any concerns at all about your CPCAB training, we strongly recommend that you try to sort it out informally if at all possible, as soon as you can.

When this happens, there are clear boundaries between the roles of your centre and CPCAB as the awarding organisation. Complaints about admission or removal from a course, payment of fees or any aspect of your teaching experience and course work (internal assessment) must be addressed directly with your centre. When you join your group you should be provided with a formal appeals and complaints policy that explains how to do this. CPCAB can only review a complaint concerning any of the above areas if you have already exhausted the centre’s own complaints procedure without satisfaction. Our appeals and complaints policy explains this in more detail. Under these circumstances we will investigate...

  • whether the centre has followed their own processes fairly and properly
  • whether CPCAB guidelines have been followed
  • that there have been no instances of malpractice or maladministration.

It is unlikely that CPCAB could change the results of a centre complaint. Students often assume that CPCAB is the governing body of their training centre but this is not the case; as the awarding organisation (we used to be known as ‘exam boards’) our role is to externally assess and award, plus maintain the integrity of the qualification and CPCAB’s name.

Finally, if you have any concerns at all about your training, we strongly recommend that you try to sort it out informally if at all possible, as soon as you can. This is probably the most important part of this message; once the formal complaints process is started up, it effectively closes off other options which can be more likely to lead to a satisfactory conclusion.

Working with dyslexia

At CPCAB we are firmly committed to widening access to our qualifications and supporting candidates with a wide range of disabilities.

In 2011 we began to produce our external assessment papers in a serif-free font, Lucida Sans, after consulting a friend of CPCAB who herself is dyslexic. You can read Sophie’s advice, which includes useful tips for tutors and students, in Student Update September 2011. Since then we have been asked if we can roll out this font to all of our company documentation: however, CPCAB has only recently introduced a new ‘house style’ and the reformatting that would be involved is not practical.

However, key documents are available to download from the CPCAB website and it’s easy for tutors or individual candidates to change the font to Lucida Sans or a different font, depending on choice:

  • From the downloads section of the website, select the ‘Word’ version of the document;
  • Select ‘Save As’ and save to a convenient site on your own computer;
  • Open the document - click ‘no’ to opening it as ‘read-only’;
  • Highlight all (control + A) and change to your font of choice.

You can change the size of the font as well, of course, plus the colour depending on personal choice, but do be aware that the formatting will change and may lead to a longer document than the original. We hope this helps.

Registration of small groups

A reminder to tutors that CPCAB provides firm guidance on minimum group sizes at various levels of training and CPCAB may decline to register groups that fall below the minimum level. This guidance is partly based on financial reasoning but also on providing a group size that can offer individuals a deep and robust training experience.

You should bear it in mind in particular that if you are late with registering what was already a small group, there is a possibility that some candidates may have left by this time, making the group smaller than ever and meaning that the registration can’t be accepted. Where this happens some way into the course the impact on remaining members of the group is considerable and something to be avoided at all costs.

This is particularly relevant if numbers are low at the beginning of the first year of TC-L4 and students drop out, when it may lead to an unviable group to go through into the second year.

Counselling hours with children

no more than 30% of the time can be child-based

You may remember that in January 2014 we gave you guidance on how many of your TC-L4 students’ client hours can be with children. Our guidance has always been that no more than 30% of the time can be child-based, although an exception is where the placement is with Place2Be, where up to 50% of hours can be counted (subject to tutor agreement). See Update and Student Update, January 2014, for more details.

Since then we have had more enquiries about how old the client should be to be classed as an adult. 16+? 18+? 21+? There is no hard-and-fast answer to this question as there is a wide variation in the venue and the format of counselling available to children and young adults. For example, a school counsellor would be offering a different service to a 17-year old than would be provided at a private counselling agency. Our advice would be for tutors and students to consider their placements together before making this decision, keeping in mind the necessity to provide as wide an experience of counselling practice as possible in order to support and enhance the class-based training. For more information, please see CPCAB’s ‘Guidance to workplace experience’.

Copenhagen Research Conference

We’ve recently uploaded a video in which Anthony Crouch (Chief Executive of CPCAB) talks about a counselling research conference in Copenhagen that he recently attended. You can watch it below.

As well as discussing some of the latest developments in counselling research, Anthony also talks about a variety of related issues, including client drop-out rates and short-term vs medium-to-long-term counselling.

Facebook and Twitter: promotional tools for centres

Facebook and Twitter offer great ways to raise awareness about counselling, promote courses and reach potential students. Here at CPCAB we’ve compiled some ideas for how you can use them to benefit your centre.


Getting started with Facebook

You could start by liking our Facebook page:

Look at the following pages for other ideas on how to use Facebook:

  • Create a Facebook ‘page’ for your centre – add as much information as possible, including your address, contact details, logo, details about courses you’re offering, how much they cost, how to apply, etc.
  • Keep your Facebook page updated – post counselling-related articles, videos, thoughts or talking points regularly – once a week or more if possible. This could include links to mental health news items, useful videos or learning resources, discussions about counselling topics, photos, quotes, etc. Encourage your Facebook ‘likers’ to interact by asking for comments or responses to the things you post.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words – it is well known that people are more likely to engage with posts that include a picture or video.
  • Make people aware of your Facebook page – advertise its address on business cards, letterheads, your website, email signatures or other relevant places. People sharing items you’ve posted will help with promotion too.

A good Facebook page can serve the same purpose as a website. It is easier to create and update a Facebook page than it is a website as it requires no specialist software or knowledge. The power of Facebook comes in sharing – if someone likes something you post they’re likely to share it with their friends, who may share it with their friends and so on.


Getting started with Twitter

You might like to follow us @cpcab and send us a tweet if you’ve read this article.

The following organisations are also worth looking at:

  • Create a Twitter account – add as much information as possible to your Twitter profile, including your website address and contact details. Your tutors may want to create individual accounts for themselves too.
  • Follow people and organisations you’re interested in or related to – this could include counselling agencies, charities, companies or individuals.
  • Join in conversations on topics that you are interested in. Use Twitter’s search feature to find tweets on different topics. This might be something as broad as “counselling” or something as specific as “psychodynamic theory”. Hashtags are often used in tweets to label the tweet as relating to a topic - #counselling for example.
  • Tweet interesting and relevant information – this could include links to news items, videos, learning resources, discussions or events. Re-tweet interesting information from other people (re-tweeting ‘forwards’ another person’s tweet to people who follow you).
  • Use images – you can tweet pictures and videos so don’t restrict yourself to just tweeting words. As with Facebook, tweets containing photos or video are more likely to be noticed.
  • As you become more active on Twitter people will find and follow you, using Twitter’s own “similar people” recommendations and from seeing your tweets. It only takes one interesting tweet to be circulated around the world.
  • Remember that a tweet is limited to 140 characters (including spaces). And if you post something on your Facebook page that can be edited enough to fit within 140 characters then great!

You can use Twitter to make connections with people from anywhere around the world, or to advertise courses or things you’re doing.


Sign on wall...

‘Couples counselling.
Because sometimes your partner needs to hear from a PROFESSIONAL that it’s all their fault.’