Modify an existing education programme

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 a programme and want to add an apprenticeship route, you'll need to submit a modification request to our QA service provider, Mott MacDonald, through the QA hub and tell us that you intend to run a nursing degree, midwifery, or nursing associate apprenticeship.

In your notification you'll need to tell us the:

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

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.

Employer partners can’t start new apprentices until this process has been completed.

Submit an apprenticeship modification

To do this, the AEI and their new employer partner will need to complete an apprenticeship modification form.

Both the AEI and employer partner will need to sign this form to affirm that they’ll meet our standards. The completed form should be emailed to us at

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.

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. We’ll also assess the working relationship between AEIs and their apprenticeship employer partners during new programme monitoring and annual self-reporting.