Modify an existing education programme

How would you rate your experience today? Please fill out our short survey to help us improve the NMC Education webpages.

Complete the survey

Please note that we have appointed The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) as our new education quality assurance service provider. Their contract is scheduled to start on 1 September 2024. We are in the process of planning transition arrangements between our outgoing provider, Mott MacDonald, and the QAA and will update these webpages in due course. Read more here

An approved education institution (AEI) might need to request a programme modification for things like the introduction of flexible routes including nursing degree apprenticeships in England.

How we manage these depends on the extent of the changes.

Under the new quality assurance (QA) framework, you don't have to submit information to us on minor modifications, however you need to have robust governance processes in place to internally monitor and record these changes.

Adding an apprenticeship route to an existing programme

If you're currently approved to deliver an NMC approved programme and want to add an apprenticeship route, you'll need to submit a modification request to our QA service provider, Mott MacDonald, which is done through the QA Link. You'll need to submit a request to deliver your approved programme via a degree apprenticeship route.

In your modification request you'll need to tell us the:

  • current routes in approval (for example work-based, distance learning, full time, part-time)
  • practice learning partners and which of those partners will be employers of apprentices (these will be added at Gateway 3)
  • student numbers and cohorts
  • fields of nursing practice, if applicable

The submission of a modification request is set out in our How to submit a request guide.

Mott MacDonald will then guide you through the next stages.

The nature of the modification will be subject to a risk assessment that will consider:

  • first pre-registration nursing programme in approval/first cohort not yet completed
  • current routes in approval (for example work-based, full time, part time)
  • annual self-assessment reports
  • any open action plans as a result of our monitoring activity
  • external system regulator or other reports.

Adding a new employer partner to an apprenticeship route

If you're currently approved to deliver an apprenticeship route and want to add a new employer partner so that they can start apprentices on the programme, you’ll need to submit an apprenticeship modification form.

The programme must be approved against the new standards.

We don’t retrospectively agree changes to an approved programme. So, AEIs and new employer partners can’t start apprentices on the apprenticeship programme until this process has been completed.

Submit an apprenticeship modification form

The AEI and their new employer partner will need to complete an apprenticeship modification form: PDF or Word and email it to

Both the AEI and employer partner will need to sign this form to affirm that they’ll meet our standards.

We’ll review the declaration and decide if the employer partner represents a potential risk to our standards and requirements.

We’ll base this decision primarily on known, publically available information, such as reported adverse outcomes of national system regulator reviews, independent investigative panel reports, and police investigations.

If we decide the risk to standards is minimal, then no further action will be required.

In some cases we may need further information to evidence that the standards and requirements continue to be met. In this instance, we’ll ask Mott MacDonald to undertake a major modification. You will need to take into consideration that the major modification process can take 20 weeks to completion. QA visitors will seek to gather further information from the new apprenticeship employers and the AEI through a phone call or a visit, as required.

As part of our ongoing monitoring of approved programmes, we’ll also assess the working relationship between AEIs and their apprenticeship employer partners during new programme monitoring and annual self-reporting.

Approval reports

We've started publishing major modification approval visit reports where the change has been assessed and approved against the new Standards for education and training (in effect since 28 January 2019).

See the approval reports

Did you know?

  • So far, we've received over...

    requests to add

    new employer partners who now deliver practice education in partnership with

    NMC Approved Education Institutions (AEIs) across

    NMC approved apprenticeship programmes.