Don’t miss the deadline for registering for reasonable adjustments for the March 2021 assessment

The GPhC email this week, to those eligible to sit the March 2021 assessment, confirmed that it will go ahead as online exams as previously announced.

Thu 7th January 2021 The PDA

In December, PDA prov-reg and pre-reg representatives developed a list of questions for the regulator to consider from their discussions with members. The majority of those queries have now been answered within the GPhC guidance.

The PDA also raised the importance of candidates maintaining hydration during the exam as a health and safety concern, and the GPhC updated their FAQs in response.

This week, the PDA met with the regulator to provide a further update on the cohort’s current unprecedented work experiences and the challenges they face at this point of the pandemic (whether working in community or hospital settings), and their outstanding contribution and commitment to patient care. Additionally, the PDA highlighted how members who are parents are also faced with juggling childcare. Many others live with younger siblings who are off school due to closures. All of these factors impact on revision and study time in addition to trying to keep themselves and their families safe. The PDA also shared questions on assessment received from members including about reasonable adjustments for those with a physical or mental health condition that could impact on their exam performance.

As the GPhC remains committed to holding the assessment examinations, the PDA want to emphasise to members that the deadline to request a reasonable adjustment for the March 2021 sitting is Monday 11 January at 12 noon.

Collette Bradford, PDA Director of Organising & Engagement, said: “It is a concern if an individuals home situation, a need for a reasonable adjustment and/or the consequences of lockdown has a detrimental impact on their exam preparation or sitting experience. We encourage members to apply for a reasonable adjustment if they need one. The PDA wants to see a fair and equal process where only the ability to practise as a pharmacist differentiates between each candidate’s results.”

Don’t miss the deadline for registering for reasonable adjustments for the March 2021 assessment exam.

Mark Voce, Director of Education & Standards for the GPhC, said: “Candidates who want to request a reasonable adjustment for the March 2021 sitting must submit their application form by midday on 11 January 2021. As the way the assessment will take place has changed, we will not be carrying over any requests previously granted – you will need to apply again, although you may be able to use your medical evidence again.”

PDA advice is that members should ask for a reasonable adjustment if they feel it would be beneficial to making their examination experience equal to those who do not need an adjustment.

Please remember that adjustments may be for mental health as well as physical health requirements and during this pandemic could be related to you or the people you live with. For example: if you are living in a multigenerational household, with a family member who is especially vulnerable to the virus, you may prefer to request an adjustment to sit the examination remotely/at home to avoid the risk of covid exposure during travel or attendance at an exam centre. Alternatively, you may be feeling concerned about your own health and wellbeing.

You will know from your own health and from your experience of sitting previous exams what adjustment(s) will help you avoid any disadvantage. If you feel that an adjustment would be helpful to you, then we encourage you to request one now and provide as much information about your circumstances as possible and medical evidence where necessary.

The regulator guidance for the March 2021 sitting says:

“It would be appropriate to grant ‘reasonable adjustments’ to candidates who would be at a disadvantage in sitting the assessment because of health issues, disabilities, specific learning needs or other specific needs. Each request is assessed to make sure that the adjustment is appropriate and proportionate to the candidate’s needs.”

Here are the key facts you need to know about the timeline and requirements for making a request for reasonable adjustments:

  1. Previous requests for previous sittings will not be transferred. You must submit a new request for each sitting.
  2. The deadline for submission of a request for reasonable adjustments for the March exam is noon on Monday 11 January 2021.
  3. You must send your application and documents as a single PDF to: adjustments@pharmacyregulation.org
  4. If you do not receive an email receipt acknowledgement within 5 days of submitting your form, you must contact the GPHC at: adjustments@pharmacyregulation.org
  5. You will receive an email to let you know the outcome of your request by 18 February 2021.

The GPhC has produced in-depth guidance on submission, including what supporting evidence you will need, and the types of evidence accepted. There is also information on the types of adjustments that can be requested, how to complete the application process and the appeals process.

This guidance can be found here.

If you need any help or support from the PDA once you have read the guidance, please contact us.

There are two outstanding questions from PDA reps and members which we are awaiting answers for from the GPhC and were raised again this week:

  • the date of the GPhC webinar which will explain the format of the assessment and help candidates to understand what they can expect on the day; and
  • the date when the exam results will be published.

The PDA will provide further information and guidance shortly.

 

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