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UpdateOctober 2018 No. 64

Welcome to the October issue of Update and best wishes at the start of another academic year. Are you looking forward to the change of season? Or are you dreading the colder weather? Here at CPCAB we have a range of opinions but, based in green countryside as we are, we are blessed with the glorious autumn colours and the abundance of the harvest season all around us.

We are also enjoying the "start of term" feeling (who remembers covering their school books?) and looking forward to the challenges ahead. Here's hoping for a good year - best wishes as always from all of us.

Candidate registration requirements

From time to time difficulties crop up when centres wish to register groups of candidates that are either too big or too small to be viable and this year we have added guidance on tutor/learner ratios to the Tutor Guides (downloadable from the website). We hope you will find this helpful; please also see the following handy guide. Many thanks.

Minimum registration numbers

There is a minimum number of 6 candidates that need to be registered per group. Please note that CPCAB reserves the right to refuse to register groups of fewer than 6 learners. Please contact the External Assessment Manager, Marina Richards, if your candidate group is less than this.

The minimum numbers for candidate registrations per centre per year are:

  • Levels 2 and 3: a total of 12 candidates per year
  • Levels 4 to 6: a total of 9 candidates per year

If candidate registrations fall below this number CPCAB will make an additional charge of £300 for any external verification visits. Please contact us for details.

Recommended learner/tutor ratios

CPCAB recommends the following maximum group sizes. Please note that the minimum tutor numbers are mandatory:

Levels 2 and 3:

  • minimum of one tutor involved in internal assessment
  • maximum of 18 learners with one tutor
  • maximum of 24 learners with two tutors

Levels 4 to 6

  • minimum of two tutors must be involved in internal assessment for higher level qualifications except LC-L4 and CBT-L5 which only requires one
  • maximum of 16 learners.

Survey: Why did you choose to offer CPCAB qualifications

We would like to understand why you chose to offer CPCAB qualifications. Please answer our five question survey to be entered into a raffle to receive a free CPCAB training DVD of your choice!

Complete the survey


A reminder that 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 a standardisation training day every two years and receive 'cascade' training from another team member in the intervening year. These training days are offered free in regional locations. If you are the only tutor at a centre and teach CSK-L2 or above you will need to attend every year. Centres must ensure that at least one experienced tutor and all new tutors attend a standardisation training session during the 2018/19 academic year.

Please note that both standardisation training days in London (Friday 5th and Saturday 6th October) are now fully booked. If you still need to book your place, please select one of our alternative days and reserve your place using the online booking form.

Download the agenda for the London days (later agendas will be sent out nearer the time).

Requesting an extension for candidates to complete; form CR11

As you may know, all candidates are allowed one year from the end date of their course in which to complete client hours (levels 4, 5 and 6). In exceptional cases (i.e. bereavement, illness, or other extenuating circumstances) candidates may have not quite finished their hours and require a small amount of extra time. It is the responsibility of the tutor teaching the candidate to seek permission from CPCAB for this additional time, via form CR11, which has been updated this year.

Please see form CR11 for further information and do let us know if we can provide any further guidance.

Understanding substance misuse - November workshop

CPCAB would like to offer you the opportunity to take part in another of its popular USM-L2 workshops later this year. The 2 day workshop on 'How to teach Understanding Substance Misuse' will be held at Head Office on the 30th November/1st December 2018.

Completion of this stimulating workshop will assist attendees in delivering CPCAB's regulated qualification 'Level 2 Award in Understanding Substance Misuse' within their own centres, including a free delivery resource pack. You don't have to be a counsellor to deliver the qualification but by attending this workshop you will gain the underpinning knowledge you require. The workshop is a fully interactive experiential programme, including practical demonstrations and case histories.

The 2 day workshop will cost just £100 per person instead of the normal price of £140. Lunch and refreshments will be provided but please note that accommodation and travel expenses, if required, are not included in this price. Places are limited so please complete the online booking form if you would like to attend.

If you would like any further information please email Jackie Rice or phone her on 01458 852055.


As you may know, CPCAB's CPD endorsement scheme is open to any organisation wanting recognition for a CPD programme or event which is counselling related. Activities can be anything from a half-day workshop to up to 30 hours of contact time; if you are interested in further details please contact Heather at CPCAB.

For a list of current CPD workshops see the CPCAB website.

Candidate names on the CPCAB portal; auto capitalising

We hope the following will be useful to you when registering your groups; if this is done for you by an exams department please forward it to them for reference.

From this month onwards, we're going to remove the auto-capitalising function within the Portal. This is partly to avoid causing offence to any candidate who has a culturally specific capitalisation within their name. However, another advantage will be in making it easier for us to spot a name that has been entered all in capitals or all lowercase, whilst not automatically changing any name that may potentially have a subtle or unusual intended capitalisation.

We are asking you as our centres to ensure that you double check your input of student name data, including specific capital letters. Please don’t enter names in capitals or all lowercase, but take care to use your candidates' legal names, which will help to avoid repetitive errors and having to re-issue certificates. Many thanks.

Counselling Skills & Studies 2nd edition: a new edition from CPCAB published by SAGE (see new discount code)

Exclusive 25% discount for CPCAB students and tutors – UKCPCAB25 at checkout on SAGE's website.

Packed full of inspirational activities and written in a supportive conversational style, Counselling Skills & Studies is a book for anyone wanting to learn counselling skills or embarking on their first stage of training to become a counsellor. The new edition now includes a more detailed discussion of key theories, has a new chapter on self-care, and is fully up to date with the occupational and professional standards and ethical frameworks.

Split into 3 parts, it covers:

Part 1: Counselling Skills will introduce readers to the underpinning knowledge and practical tools needed to develop a range of helping skills for use in a variety of helping roles, showing what it means to work safely and ethically.

Part 2: Counselling Studies will help them take their understanding further by considering in detail important theories and professional issues, preparing them to work as a professional counsellor.

Part 3: Counselling Study Skills will offer practical advice and hints and tips to help them make the best start on their counselling portfolio, including journal and essay writing skills, research skills and how to get inspired and overcome blocks to learning.

Written by CPCAB authors Fiona Ballantine Dykes, Barry Kopp and Traci Postings, with an introduction by Anthony Crouch, it provides you with an ideal "way in", showing you what counselling is all about.

Praise for the second edition:

'I found "Counselling Skills and Studies" a superb introduction into the world of Counselling. Approaching the subject with a view to a second career the book felt pitched perfectly. A clear and concise style pervaded throughout and the format of the book lends itself to good structured learning. Never teacherly, the writing spoke to me and the use of conversational examples was effective. The simplification and analysis of the 3 modalities (Psychodynamic / Person Centered / CBT) was invaluable for me as I grasp these new terms and the final section looking at Study Skills will be an essential reference for me as I progress through my studies'Student Reviewer

You may also be interested to know that the discount code (above) can also be used when purchasing any SAGE counselling and psychotherapy books.

Annual centre declarations

We are grateful to all of you who returned your annual declaration in good time during this first year of its introduction. A handful of centres are still to return their declarations and reminders have been sent out but do bear in mind that you won't be able to register your groups if you haven't sent yours back yet.

The section on current tutors has been a particularly useful update for us and any tutors that were not listed on the declaration for their centre have been deactivated. If this causes you any problems, please contact Jackie or Marina for advice.

External assessment dates 2018-19

As you may already have noticed, the April assessment window for CSK-L2 coincides with the Easter break. Unfortunately this timing was unavoidable but where it causes difficulties for centres, you are able to request to defer for one week and take the assessment the following week. You will need to lodge a request with Marina Richards though.

Where the Easter break is for two weeks, you will be able to request to take the assessment one week earlier, as long as your group has completed at least 60 GLH. Again, please lodge your request with Marina. Thank you.

External assessment dates can be found on our website.

Accessibility of CPCAB qualifications

At CPCAB we take our responsibilities in respect of the accessibility of our qualifications very seriously. At a recent meeting of our Equal Opportunities team, one of the themes we explored was that of the use of computer software to assist readers with visual impairments. This followed an approach from a centre with a learner who found that their software couldn't cope with many of our documents; our thanks go to the learner and their centre for sharing these concerns with us.

This software seems to struggle particularly with text that is printed in boxes, such as in our external assessment papers. An immediate solution was to remove the boxes from the large-font papers that we already offer to learners with visual difficulties; the change has been brought in from the beginning of this academic year and we hope you find it helpful. Do remember that you will need to request any large-font papers from Marina Richards in the usual way, no later than 8 weeks before the assessment.

Rolling out any changes to our wider range of documents will be a much bigger task, of course, and we would like to ask for your feedback here before we start. We would appreciate your answers to these five simple questions, in as much or as little detail as you think best:

  • What issues have you previously encountered with your students with visual impairments?
  • Have arrangements for reasonable adjustments within the centre been possible and successful?
  • What areas of CPCAB's documentation or communications are particularly troublesome for software for visual impairments?
  • Have you ever had to turn down a potential student on the basis of a visual impairment?
  • Do you have any useful suggestions that we might consider to make CPCAB’s documentation more accessible?

We can't guarantee to adopt every suggestion made but will be very grateful to read them; the information you provide will be treated in confidence. Please send your responses to before the end of 2018 and we'll review them at the next meeting of our Equal Opportunities team. Many thanks.

Preparing for your EVC visit

As we move into another academic year, our schedule of external verification visits is already taking place and we hope that you aren't too unnerved at the prospect! For the benefit of some of our newer centres – and as a reminder for our old friends in case they find it helpful – read our guidance on preparing for your EV visit.

Data protection – centre access to candidate data on the CPCAB portal

Our thanks go to the centres who have contacted CPCAB to ask if they are in breach of GDPR by being able to access candidate data after the courses in question have ended. Our data protection team has looked into this area and has concluded that centres have a rationale for retaining learner data themselves for the following reasons (with thanks to the Jisc Community blog):

  • Being able to fulfil and discharge the contractual obligations established between the institution and the student, including the completion of any non-academic disciplinary action.
  • Being able to provide information on the academic career and achievements of the student to employers, licensing/regulatory bodies and other organisations, as well as to the student as part of their lifelong learning record.
  • Being able to record the activities of the student as an individual and as a consumer of student support and other institutional services as a means of managing those services and planning and developing them in the future.

With this in mind, it was agreed that CPCAB has no clear rationale for removing centre access to the data you have provided to us after the course has ended. However, we request that you add this rationale to your own data protection policies, together with a statement that you will only access the data in question in cases of legitimate need. With thanks, as always, for your co-operation.

Upgraded tutor requirements

With the new academic year under way now, we wondered if it might be helpful to share the updated guidance to tutor requirements that we originally sent out in April of this year. Please read on for a reminder of the earlier article.

"At CPCAB we are aware that it has been some time since we updated our guidance on tutor qualifications and experience.

We have therefore spent some time this year reviewing our Tutor CV pro forma, together with our staffing expectations for tutors delivering the qualifications we award. Our aim is to bring this more in line with the profession as a whole and ensure consistent standards across all qualifications.

Therefore, from September 2018 onwards we will be using new guidelines when approving Tutor CVs. No previous tutor approvals will be affected. However, all new tutors will need to meet these requirements so do please read them carefully. Feel free to contact us if you have any queries regarding this update.

As you will see from the above, it's an exceptionally busy time here at CPCAB but our relationships with our centres and our pride in our joint work make it all worthwhile. Thank you for your support."

New Vision for Mental Health

The New Vision for Mental Health website asks: "Have you ever wondered what mental healthcare would look like if, knowing what we know today, it was redesigned from scratch?"

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