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Closure of RCVS awarding organisation marked with ceremony

3 December 2015

On Tuesday 1 December we held a special reception at our offices to mark the end of RCVS Awards - our former awarding organisation for veterinary nursing qualifications.

RCVS Awards ceremony 1 December 2015Over 50 people attended the reception, many of whom played a prominent role in setting up the awarding organisation in 1997, its subsequent administration and the delivery of veterinary nursing qualifications through its associated centres.

Those attending included external verifiers who were responsible for monitoring the quality of the courses delivered by the centres, external examiners, former RCVS Awards Board members and former and current staff from our Veterinary Nursing Department.

Addressing the guests, Julie Dugmore, our Head of Veterinary Nursing, said: “We felt that we couldn’t let RCVS Awards go without having some kind of celebration to mark the end of an era. We have managed to close RCVS Awards ahead of schedule and received our notification of closure from Ofqual [The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation] on 20 November.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff in the VN Department for their help and support in ensuring the closure went as smoothly as possible.”

Colonel Neil Smith, a Past-President of the RCVS who formerly served as Chair of the RCVS Awards Board, added: “In some ways this is a sad day, but it is also a day in which we can be very proud. What I have seen over the years is increased professionalism and better standards, not only in the Veterinary Nursing Department and RCVS Awards but throughout the profession as a whole and, in regards to the awarding organisation, we have now passed the baton to others.”

RCVS Awards was officially closed on 20 November 2015, but the process of winding it down began a number of years earlier. This followed a decision by VN Council in October 2011 to close the awarding organisation, having recognised that it presented a potential conflict of interest with our primary role as a professional regulator that sets the standards of education and training for veterinary nurses.

The last cohort of student veterinary nurses was enrolled on to RCVS Awards in 2012. In 2014, a formal surrender of recognition was submitted to, and accepted by, Ofqual and, following this, we made arrangements for its closure, ensuring that all remaining student veterinary nurses would either complete their qualification or transfer to another awarding organisation by the time of closure.

Furthermore, in December 2013 the Veterinary Nurses Education Subcommittee (as it was then) granted full approval for the awarding organisations Central Qualifications and City & Guilds to deliver the Level 3 Diploma through their centres.

As the regulator of veterinary nursing education and training, we will now focus on accrediting and quality monitoring those awarding organisations and centres delivering qualifications, ensuring that students are trained to the professional standards set out in our Day-one Competences and Skills List.

Virginia Pott attended the reception and was in the first cohort of external verifiers working for RCVS Awards. She said: “I think it was always difficult for the RCVS to have two roles and so the closure of RCVS Awards has brought clarity to the College as a regulator. It also comes at a time when everyone seems very positive about the way forward for veterinary nursing and there seems to be a clear vision for the profession.”

More pictures from the ceremony are available to download from our Flickr page.

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