Centre approval criteria

Any organisation may apply to become an approved centre as long as  they meet and maintain delivery of our Centre Approval and Monitoring Criteria (232kB pdf)

Download our guidance document on becoming and remaining an RHS Qualifications Approved Centre

Read our Approved Centre Policies

Apply now: get in touch

Once a centre is confident they meet the Centre Approval and Monitoring Criteria and would like to pursue approval, they should email the RHS Qualifications team who will respond with an application form, further information and log-in details to the online portal.

To ensure our qualifications continue to meet the needs of employers, centres and learners, we are in the process of conducting a full review of our suite of qualifications (Level 1 to 3). We are aiming to have the revised qualifications available to deliver from September 2020. In light of this change, RHS Qualifications will not be accepting any new centre applications until further notice, however we hope to reinstate this early 2020. This is to ensure new centres are geared to deliver the revised qualifications once available.  To be kept informed of developments please contact RHS Qualifications to be added to a mailing list. 

Approval process

Once all necessary forms are submitted via the online portal an RHS Approvals Auditor will begin a desk-based audit to review and consider the application. 

Subject to a successful desk-based audit, a visit to the centre will be arranged at a mutually convenient date. The visit is to confirm the suitability of the intended programme delivery, facilities, resources and check the centre meets the remaining centre approval criteria.

Following the visit, the Approval Auditor will make a recommendation to RHS Qualifications on the centre’s suitability to offer each qualification and RHS Qualifications will notify the outcome of the approval process shortly after the visit has taken place.

Centres who have been approved to offer our practical qualifications for the first time will receive a free advisory visit to help assist with the delivery and completion of RHS documentation.

Our centre approval process is designed not only to ensure compliance with our criteria but also provide advice to prospective centres wishing to offer courses and conduct assessments leading to RHS Qualifications.

Delivering courses: alone or in a group

A centre may operate as a single site, or as the main site controlling a number of satellite sites. 

Where one centre has 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 a centre has satellite sites that 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 a single approved centre, providing it meets the criteria of having clearly defined roles and responsibilities of each partner and has one single point of accountability.

Distance learning provider criteria

Any centre looking to offer RHS Theory qualifications via distance learning must meet our distance learning provider (DLP) criteria. The criteria and further information can be found in the RHS Distance Learning Provider Approval Scheme guidance document.

Apply now: get in touch

To apply to become an RHS approved DLP please email the RHS Qualifications team who will respond to discuss the next stage of the approval process.

Approval fee

Centres applying to offer RHS Qualifications will be required to pay a one-off centre approval fee to cover the costs of the approval process. Thereafter, an annual fee is charged on the anniversary of your approval date. The costs attached to becoming an approved centre are outlined below:

  Fee as of 1st February 2019
Centre Approval Fee (includes initial desk based audit and one centre visit) £550
Additional review of evidence or centre visit (this includes the review of evidence that was not satisfactory at initial submission or if an additional visit is required) £350
Approved Centre Annual Fee (due on the anniversary of your approval date) £250
Qualification or Site Extension (this includes the approval to add additional qualifications to your existing offer or approval of a new delivery site)   £350

Approved centre logo

Approved centres are entitled to use the RHS Qualifications approved centre logo on their promotional literature and websites.


RHS Qualifications is required to monitor the work of its approved centres to ensure they continue to meet the requirements of being an approved centre.

So we can continue to make continuous improvements to our services and support our centres an annual customer service questionnaire 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 is 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. Our Sanctions Policy outlines the sanctions that RHS Qualifications may impose on centres that fail to meet delivery requirements.

Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations

There are three ways in which access to fair assessment can be maintained:
  • through reasonable adjustments
  • through special consideration
  • through consideration of the needs of all potential candidates when developing, reviewing or extending qualifications.
Download the guidance to Centres for Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations

Guidance for centres delivering practical qualifications

Contact the qualifications team

RHS Qualifications,
RHS Garden Wisley,
GU23 6QB

Tel: 01483 226500
Email: qualifications@rhs.org.uk

RHS qualifications

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Take your RHS exams at RHS Garden Wisley or find an alternative exam centre near you.  
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