Recovery and emergency programme standards

In response to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, we've developed some recovery and emergency programme standards

Download the Current emergency and recovery programme standards (Cymraeg).

In response to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, we've introduced a number of emergency and recovery education standards to support students, approved education institutions (AEIs) and their practice partners.

These are temporary changes to the standards which set out how education providers should organise nursing and midwifery programmes.

We’re continuing to monitor the pandemic, working closely with stakeholders and the sector if more emergency standards need to be re-instated, or additional recovery standards need to be added.

Background to these changes

Introduction of emergency and recovery standards

At the start of the pandemic, we introduced emergency education standards to allow more flexibility in programme delivery, and specifically to allow students to undertake extended placements without the requirement for supernumerary status to support the health and social care workforce.

We phased out the majority of the emergency on 30 September 2020 to support students returning to their normal studies and supernumerary placements.

We identified a number of emergency programme standards which were kept as recovery standards.

Updates to our emergency standards

Following a request from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in January 2021, we re-introduced a set of emergency standards to allow extended placements for final year nursing students only, so that they could once again support the response to Covid-19 where required by services and if students opted to do so.

This did not apply to all other undergraduate nursing and midwifery students and post-graduate diploma/masters students, who continued to have supernumerary status when on clinical placements.

These emergency standards were withdrawn in May 2021.

We also agreed to introduce two additional emergency standards relating to first year nursing and midwifery students and supervision and assessment in practice, following advice from the service and AEIs about some of the difficulties they faced in supporting student clinical placements.

In consultation with the sector these emergency standards will be withdrawn on 30 September 2021.

Introduction of a new recovery standard

In February 2021, after engaging with our partners across the UK, we introduced a new recovery standard as we know that Covid-19 has impacted nursing students’ learning opportunities in practice learning placements.

The new recovery standard:

  • enables students to practice and learn through simulated practice learning where conventional clinical practice isn’t available or isn’t possible
  • ensures the next generation of nurses qualify in a timely way with the skills and knowledge they need to deliver safe, effective and kind care.

This new recovery standard is in addition to the recovery standards and emergency standards we’ve published over the past few months.

As with all our other recovery standards, we’ll review these standards regularly.

Applying these standards

Even in normal circumstances, different universities will have different approaches to make sure that learning outcomes are met and our standards do not prevent that.

We don't expected that this recovery standard will be applied in the same way in every programme, but we've asked universities to discuss this with their students so that they can understand the approach, what will happen locally and the reasons for that.

A key principle in relation to all of our emergency and recovery standards is that normal education should continue wherever possible. The emergency and recovery standards are mainly for situations where that is not possible.

We’ll ask AEIs to report back to us about how they are applying our emergency and recovery standards and how they’re maintaining practice learning opportunities and ensuring students achieve their proficiencies.

If you’re a student, you should speak to your university if you have any questions about your practice learning and placements.

Training and practice hours

All courses must still comply with the minimum training hours' requirements of 4600 programme hour, of which no more than two thirds should be spend in practice placement.

The amount of practice learning time spent in simulated practice learning experience can be up to a maximum of 300 hours across a programme’s duration. Student nurses’ final placement before registration, though, should be in a conventional clinical placement.

Information for students and educators

Visit our Covid-19: Information for students and educators page for more information on what this means for you.