training session

As an accredited awarding body, it is a requirement that all examinations and assessments for RHS Qualifications can only be conducted by approved centres.

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 have 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.

What does a centre need to provide

In approving a centre, RHS Qualifications must ensure that the centre meets the following criteria:

  • The centre has the appropriate levels of staffing and resources necessary to support the delivery of the qualification, and that it undertakes to use staff and/or associates who have the necessary competence in the subject matter and assessment procedures.
  • That there is a single named point of accountability for the quality assurance and management of the qualifications.
  • The centre has sufficiently robust systems and internal controls to support the delivery of the qualifications to learners, and can securely store and manage assessment materials.
  • The centre undertakes to use buildings for assessment purposes that provide access for all candidates, in accordance with relevant legislation.
  • 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.

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.

To apply to become an RHS approved DLP please complete our expression of interest form, once we have received the form a member of the RHS Qualifications team will be in touch to discuss the next stage of the approval process

How to become an approved centre

A Centre Application Form (459kB pdf) must be completed by all applicants and forwarded to RHS Qualifications.

RHS Qualifications will review and consider the application, if satisfactory a centre approval visit will be arranged at a mutually convenient date and carried out by an RHS Centre Verifier. All Centre Verifiers are horticultural professionals experienced in horticultural education. The visit is to confirm the suitability of the intended programme delivery, facilities, resources and required policies are in place but also to offer advice on offering the various RHS qualifications.

Following the visit, the Centre Verifier 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 visit shortly after the visit has taken place.

To ensure a successful application please read our RHS Qualifications Approved Centre Guidance (340kB pdf) document on becoming an approved centre.

RHS Qualifications support and resources

Approval fee

Centres applying to offer RHS Qualifications will be required to pay a one-off centre approval fee of £450 to cover the costs of the approval process.  This fee will be payable after the approval visit has been conducted. Thereafter an annual fee of £150 will be charged on the anniversary of the approval date. 

After the approval visit centres, who have been approved to offer our practical qualifications for the first time, will receive a free advisory visit to help assist with delivery and completion of RHS documentation.
RHS Qualifications does not require a minimum annual spend. 

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 centres 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 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. Our Sanctions Policy outlines the sanctions that RHS Qualifications may impose on centres that fail to meet delivery requirements.

RHS Qualifications support and resources

Further information

RHS Qualifications
RHS Garden Wisley
GU23 6QB

Tel: 01483 226500

RHS qualifications

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Where can I sit RHS exams?
Registrations for 2019 exams are now open. Apply to sit your exam at RHS Wisley or find an alternative exam centre near you

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