March 2010

The Open University's ‘An Introduction to Counselling’ - guidance to centres

Dear Tutor,

CPCAB has received a number of phone calls from students who have been told by their local centres that they are not ready for TC-L4 despite having completed the OU's course ‘An Introduction to Counselling’ (course code D171).

CPCAB would like to clarify the situation.

When the OU foundation degree was formulated it was agreed that D171 was an acceptable alternative to CST-L3; it is actually at a higher academic level, has more notional learning hours and a higher credit value. It also offers a sound basis of counselling theory which complements the required skills qualification. However, it is a very different kind of qualification from CST-L3, which includes knowledge of counselling agencies and, perhaps most importantly, self awareness and additional skills practice.

CPCAB acknowledges that entry to TC-L4 is not automatic for any student; it is still each individual centre’s prerogative to select suitable candidates. However, given that D171 is an optional entry qualification it is not appropriate for centres to refuse to consider applicants with this qualification. On the contrary we expect each applicant to be given the opportunity to be considered on their own merits, bearing in mind that individuals come with a wide range of experience in addition to their qualifications – this might include personal development work, agency experience and additional skills etc.

It has always been the case that entry to TC-L4 is not just about previous qualifications. Our candidate entry requirements stress the need to:

CPCAB has taken a number of steps in response to this situation. Principally, we have revised the information on the OU and CPCAB websites to make it clear that entry to TC-L4 is never automatic and depends on an interview with the training provider, during which criteria other than just qualification entry requirements are taken into account.

Finally, if you interview candidates who are not currently suitable for TC-L4 there are a number of helpful things you could suggest to enable them to be more ‘ready’ for the next level of training. These could include:

Please be assured that we place a high importance on your feedback and are listening to your concerns. We hope that this clarifies the situation. If you would like any further information please contact us.