Any organisation may apply to become an approved centre, whether it is a college, training organisation or commercial company.
A centre may operate as a single site, or as a main site controlling a number of satellite sites. In the case of a centre with satellite sites it will be treated as a single centre providing there is a single named point of accountability for the management of the qualifications. The suitability of each of the satellites to run courses and/or conduct examinations will be assessed as part of the approval process.
Where the organisations has satellite sites that are run as separate entities, each managing their own courses and examinations, they will be assessed as separate centres and each will be subject to a separate fee.
A consortium of organisations working in partnership can apply to become an approved centre, providing that it meets the criteria, and in particular the requirements for a single point of accountability and for clearly defined roles and responsibilities of each partner.
A Centre Approval Application Form must be completed by all applicants.
Once the completed Centre Approval Form has been returned to RHS Qualifications this will be passed to a Centre Verifier nominated by the RHS who will arrange to visit the centre. All Centre Verifiers are horticultural professionals experienced in horticultural education. The visit is partly to confirm the suitability of the facilities, resources and policies detailed in the application, but also to offer advice on offering the various RHS qualifications.
During the visit by the Centre Verifier, they will assess the suitability of the prospective centre for offering all three RHS qualifications regardless of those currently offered or proposed. This is to avoid the need for a further visit should the centre decide to offer the other qualifications at a future date. Following the visit, the Centre Verifier will make a recommendation on the centre’s suitability to offer each qualification and if appropriate will provide advice and an action plan to remedy any shortcomings.
See frequently asked questions for prospective centres (202kB pdf)
As an accredited awarding body, it is a requirement that all examinations and assessments for RHS Qualifications can only be conducted by approved centres.
In approving a centre, RHS Qualifications must ensure that the centre meets the following criteria:
- That there is a single named point of accountability for the quality assurance and management of the qualifications.
- The centre has the resources and systems necessary to support the qualifications.
- The centre undertakes to use buildings for assessment purposes that provide access for all candidates, in accordance with relevant legislation.
- The centre undertakes to use staff and/or associates who have the necessary competence in the subject matter of the qualifications, assessment procedures and language(s) used for assessment; and has the systems that ensure consistency of standards and support equality of opportunity.
- The centre documents respective roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of each partner, with clear lines of communication between the partners, where a centre is a partnership arrangement between organisations.
- The centre agrees to provide the Awarding Body and the regulatory authorities with access to premises, people, and records, and to cooperate with the Awarding Body’s monitoring activities.
Our centre approval process is designed not only to ensure compliance with the above criteria, but also to provide advice to prospective centres wishing to offer courses and conduct examinations leading to RHS Qualifications.
A fee of £300 is payable by each centre to cover the approval process. Once approved, registration as an approved centre is valid for three years. Annual update forms will be sent to centres to ensure that our records are kept up to date. After three years, centres will be required to reapply for approval.
Approved centres are authorised to offer examinations for those RHS qualifications for which they have been approved. Full information will be sent to approved centres on the regulations and policies relating to the conduct of examinations for RHS Qualifications. A list of approved centres is maintained and is supplied to prospective students and held on the RHS website.
RHS Qualifications is required to monitor the work of its approved centres and also provide them with the opportunity to provide feedback. Annual customer service questionnaires will be used to seek feedback. Additionally, approved centres will be invited to attend consultation events where they will have the opportunity to meet with staff from RHS Qualifications.
As part of the monitoring process, RHS Qualifications may request that a monitoring visit be made to an approved centre.
Where an approved centre is found to no longer meet the required criteria, RHS Qualifications reserves the right to withdraw approved centre status.
Approved centre logo
Approved centres are entitled to use the RHS Qualifications Approved Centre logo on their promotional literature and websites.
Further information on centre approval can be obtained from email@example.com