Access to Higher Education Diploma (Policing)

Canllaw Cymhwyster (40013492)

1. Introduction

  1. Agored Cymru is a licensed Access Validating Agency (AVA) and its Access to Higher Education (AHE) Diplomas are validated in accordance with the requirements of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) recognition scheme for the AHE Diploma. The recognition scheme includes the AHE Diploma Specification, the AHE Grading Scheme and the AVA Licensing Criteria. [1]    
  2. The AHE Diploma is a nationally recognised qualification that is:
    • a unitised qualification based on units of assessment which are structured in accordance with the AHE unit specification
    • a credit-based qualification operated in accordance with the terms of the AHE Diploma specification
    • a graded qualification, as determined by the AHE Grading Scheme
    • a level 3 qualification, regulated by QAA
  3. All AHE Diplomas are constructed from a set of units that are approved by Agored Cymru. Each unit has a specified credit value of either 3 credits or 6 credits. The specification for the achievement of the AHE Diploma requires a total of 60 credits. Of the 60 credits, 45 must be achieved at level 3 from graded units which are concerned with academic subject content. The remaining 15 credits must be achieved at level 2 or level 3 from units that are ungraded.
  4. Each AHE Diploma is distinguished by a unique title that reflects the intended progression routes and a completion requirement that is referred to as the rules of combination. The rules of combination specify the way in which available units may or must be combined.


[1] QAA, AHE Diploma Specification (January 2020), the Grading Scheme (September 2020), AVA Licensing Criteria (February 2020).

2. Aims

  1. The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Policing) will prepare learners to be self-directed and independent through a programme of learning that supports the acquisition of skills, knowledge and behaviours appropriate to their intended progression route. Learners will be introduced to a range of subject areas related to the academic and practical requirements of undergraduate study in Policing.  
  2. The key aims of the AHE Diploma (Policing) are: 
  • To create opportunities for progression to higher education for adults, who, due to various circumstances, do not have the required entry qualifications 
  • To facilitate the development of the skills and behaviours needed to successfully manage the demands of undergraduate study in Policing or a related area  
  • To provide a stimulating programme of learning through which learners can gain knowledge reflective of the core areas and disciplines associated with undergraduate study in policing. 
  • To enable learners to continuously review their progress, identify areas for improvement, overcome barriers to learning and enhance their self-confidence within a positive and supportive learning environment.  

3. Target Group and Entry Requirements

1. The AHE Diploma (Policing) is specifically designed to provide opportunities to attract learners from a variety of backgrounds and those with protected characteristics, who are typically underrepresented in Higher Education: 

  • Adults who, because of social, educational or individual circumstances may have achieved few, if any, prior qualifications.  
  • Adults from groups who are typically under-represented in higher education, and lack the traditional entry qualifications. 
  • Adults who are keen to pursue new opportunities due to their current circumstances and who demonstrate an interest in policing.

2. The AHE Diploma (Policing) is designed for adults who are able to demonstrate appropriate life experience outside of formal education. 

3. There is no requirement for learners to have achieved any specific prior qualifications, but centres must ensure that learners are able to demonstrate the ability to achieve at level 3 and will have the required personal and educational attributes alongside the AHE Diploma to meet the requirements of their intended progression route. 

4. Learners without required GCSEs in English and Maths should be encouraged to seek the opportunity to complete them or the equivalent in essential skills. 

4. Guided Learning Hours

  1. As a 60 credit qualification, the AHE Diploma has a total qualification time (TQT) of 600 hours (GLHs). The time allocated will vary across approved centres and this is informed by curriculum planning and the mode of delivery. All centres must outline how TQT is allocated across the duration of the course prior to receiving approval to offer a named AHE Diploma

5. Modes of Delivery

1. The AHE Diploma (Policing) has been designed to accommodate variable modes of delivery and assessment.  

2. Centres can be approved to offer the Diploma on a full and part-time basis. Fast-track/intensive options that allow the programme to be delivered and assessed in its entirety across a shortened duration will also be considered at the point of centre application. Where appropriate and where accommodated by viable progression opportunities, centres can indicate start and end dates outside of the conventional academic year.   

3. Centres can offer the Diploma through classroom-based learning, blended learning and online learning. Blended and online modes of delivery are encouraged where this will ensure the Diploma is available to the widest possible group.  Blended and online learning may provide a more suitable option than full attendance for particular learners. 

4. Centres approved to offer the AHE Diploma (Policing) will indicate all intended modes of delivery at the point of application. This will need to be supported with evidence to demonstrate that the appropriate resources are in place to effectively provide a coherently structured programme of learning that fulfils the qualification requirements and fully meets the needs of learners indicated in the target groups.  

6. Curriculum Design

1. The content of the AHE Diploma (Policing) has been developed in consultation with various stakeholders including centres involved in the delivery and assessment of AHE Diplomas, potential receiving higher education providers and a local Police Force. This has informed a balanced and coherent programme of study with indicative content that is focused on the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to effectively support preparation for the intended progression routes.   

2. In particular, the AHE Diploma (Policing) has been designed to meet the Core Requirements of the College of Policing national specification for external programmes. [2] Core requirements 1, 2, 3 and 4 are reflected in the curriculum design of the programme. All unit requirements are listed in the rules of combination in section 14 and the full unit specifications are presented in section 15.  

2.1 Core Requirement 1 – Qualification requirements: 

This is met through compliance with the AHE Diploma recognition scheme. The AHE Diploma (Policing) is a formal QAA regulated Level 3 Access to Higher Education Diploma (see section 1)   

2.2 Core Requirement 2 – Functional Skills and equivalents  

This has been embedded into the core learning and assessment of the programme. Opportunities to do this are presented through indicative content of the specialist academic units and academic/study skills and mathematics units.  

2.3 Core Requirement 3 – study skills and numerical comprehension  

The AHE Diploma (Policing) includes the requirement for the achievement of units that include the indicative content outlined in study areas 1 and 2. This includes six credits of academic and study skills at Level 3 (ungraded), six credits in mathematics at Level 2 (ungraded) and a six-credit Level 3 (graded) research project that is contextualised within Core Requirement 4 - policing-specific inputs. 

2.4 Core requirement 4 – policing-specific inputs 

Specialist units that address the requirements related to policing specific inputs outlined in study area 3 (UK policing content, national and local) have been designed in consultation with receiving higher education providers and with a local Police Force. There is a requirement within the Diploma for the achievement of Level 3 (graded) units to the value of a minimum of 27 credits that address this requirement.   

3. Agored Cymru will lead a working group for the AHE Diploma (Policing) consisting of key stakeholders to review the performance of the Diploma in terms of registrations, learner completion and progression. This will also accommodate opportunities to review changes to the wider police curriculum and modify the AHE Diploma accordingly.  

4. Any modifications to AHE Diploma (Policing) will ensure that they are, where appropriate, informed by QAA’s subject benchmark statement for Policing. [3]

[2] College of Policing, Widening access to policing programmes, National programme specification for external programmes, version 1.0 October 2020

[3] QAA, Subject Benchmark Statement: Policing (30 March 2022)

7. Resources

1. Centres are required to demonstrate that facilities and resources at each site that is to be used for the delivery of the AHE Diploma (Policing), are appropriate for the planned learning and assessment requirements, including appropriate learning support resources and facilities needed for the defined target groups. Where blended and online modes of delivery will be implemented, centres must demonstrate that appropriate facilities are in place to support this and that they fully accessible to the defined target groups.   

2. Centres must demonstrate that the practitioners responsible for the delivery, assessment and internal quality assurance of the AHE Diploma (Policing) are able to demonstrate relevant qualifications and expertise in the subject areas they are responsible for.  

8. Assessment

1. Centres must comply with Agored Cymru policies and procedures when carrying out assessment activities on the AHE Diploma (Policing) including:

  • Reasonable adjustments for assessment
  • Special considerations for assessment
  • Recognition of prior learning and credit transfer
  • Retention of assessment and internal quality assurance materials
  • E-assessment
  • Distance assessment
  • Conflicts of interest in assessment and internal quality assurance
  • AHE external moderation policy

2. The assessment strategies to be used with the AHE Diploma (Policing) ensure appropriate variety and reflect assessment methods associated with each area of study. Centres offering the AHE Diploma (Policing) must ensure that assessment design:

  • is appropriate for the method and medium of delivery
  • provides an appropriate level of academic demand
  • provides opportunities, appropriate to the mode of study, for learners to achieve the learning outcomes and assessment criteria of units
  • provides opportunities for differentiation of performance consistent with the grade descriptors assigned to graded units
  • provides opportunities for learners to demonstrate a range of study skills relevant to their progression to higher education
  • facilitates valid and reliable assessment of learner achievement
  • leads to the volume of assessment evidence that is proportionate to the credit value of the unit. 

3. Whilst the AHE Diploma (Policing) is structured across the three distinct study areas as outlined in the national specification, centres will, where opportunities arise, assess study skills and numerical comprehension in the context of the police-related content that addresses study area 3. The assessment methodology applied to each graded unit will often present opportunities for integration with those units that address study areas 1 and 2 (study skills and use and comprehension of numerical data).

9. Internal Quality Assurance

  1. All AHE centres approved to offer AHE Diplomas are responsible for planning and implementing internal quality assurance (IQA) procedures to ensure and demonstrate that the Diploma is being delivered and assessed in accordance with the approved AHE Diploma submission documentation.
  2. IQA must be structured to enable an internal verification/moderation process that facilitates the scrutiny of assessment design and assessment decisions regarding the award of credit and grades in line with the QAA Diploma specification and grading scheme.
  3. The application of internal verification/moderation must facilitate consistent standards of demand in assessment design which maximises reliability and validity in assessment outcomes.
  4. Internal moderation/verification must ensure the consistent and accurate application of QAA assessment regulations.
  5. Internal verification/moderation must be carried out only by individuals and teams that have an appropriate level of subject expertise related to the areas of study.

10. External Quality Assurance

  1. Centres approved to offer the AHE Diploma are subject to external moderation in line with the Agored Cymru AHE External Moderation Policy and Procedure. External moderation will ensure:
    • That standards are applied consistently in assessment and that the required standards of achievement and performance are evident in all recommendations for credit and grades.
    • That learners awarded the AHE Diploma have completed the required learning to the required standard and that achievement is reflected in the credits and grades awarded.
    • That centres delivering the AHE Diploma are implementing a rigorous internal verification process that is in line with Agored Cymru’s requirements.

11. Progression

1. In line with the College of Policing’s national specification, Core Requirement 5 – support for candidates joining the service, centres must ensure that learners receive specific advice, guidance and support on how to join the police service. Centres are required to identify potential progression routes to relevant higher education programmes at universities and other higher education providers within their locality.  

2. Potential progression routes include degree programmes in Professional Policing that are designed to meet the core requirements of the National Police Curriculum for the College of Policing's pre-join degree in Professional Policing. 4

3. Potential progression routes:

Higher Education Provider  


University of South Wales  

BSc (Hons) Professional Policing  

BSC (Hons) Professional Policing (Accelerated)  

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship 

University of Wales Trinity Saint David 

BSc Professional Policing 

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship   

Cardiff Metropolitan University  

BA (Hons) Professional Policing  

Glyndwr University  

BA (Hons) Professional Policing 

Bangor University/Grwp Llandrillo Menai   

BSc (Hons) Professional Policing  

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship  

Degree Holder Entry Programme  

[4] Successful completion of this Diploma does not provide guaranteed entry to a higher education programme.

12. Marketing

1. Agored Cymru will raise the profile of AHE Diplomas through the production of: 

  • generic AHE promotional materials, including case studies 
  • guidance materials for prospective AHE learners  
  • guidance/promotional materials for HE Admissions tutors.  
  • AHE conferences   
  • AHE learner of the year awards.  

2. In order to promote the Access to Higher Education Diploma, Agored Cymru will, as appropriate, engage with: 

  • All Wales admissions groups  
  • ColegauCymru   
  • Receiving higher education providers  
  • Welsh Government  
  • HEFCW  
  • The AHE Advisory group  
  • Employer engagement groups.

3. Materials will be published on the Agored Cymru website, where dedicated AHE pages will be used to both promote the provision and disseminate guidance materials. The Access to HE logo is displayed in line with QAA’s published guidance. 

4. Each centre is responsible for promoting and marketing the AHE Diplomas they are approved to offer. Centres are monitored to ensure that their published information regarding AHE Diplomas is accurate and consistent with Agored Cymru and QAA requirements and that the Access to HE logo is displayed in line with QAA’s published guidance. 

5. The national specification for widening access programmes published by the CoP, advises that the term “confirmation” is used to indicate that the Diploma has successfully followed a confirmation route. Agored Cymru or approved centres cannot use the any of the following statements: 

  • Developed in conjunction with the College of Policing 
  • Endorsed by the College of Policing 
  • Recommended by the College of Policing 
  • Approved by the College of Policing 
  • Authorised by the College of Policing 
  • Accredited by the College of Policing. 

13. Guidance to Centres

  1. Centres will be required to complete approval documentation in order to be considered to offer the AHE Diploma. The application will require the centre to provide information on the following:
    • Administrative procedures
    • Locations of delivery
    • Overall course management and accountabilities
    • Recruitments targets
    • Intended modes of delivery
    • The suitability of resources, including staffing
    • Pre-course guidance to learners, including entry requirements
    • Learner support, advice and guidance
    • Progression opportunities
    • Assessment strategies
    • Internal quality assurance processes and procedures including internal verification, standardisation and annual self-assessment

14. Rules of Combination


Diploma Mynediad i Addysg Uwch (Plismona)

Credydau ei hangen ar i gyd: 60
Credydau ei hangen ar Lefel Dau: 6
Credydau ei hangen ar Lefel Tri: 54
Credydau ei hangen ar Lefel Tri:27
Mwyaf o gredydau ar Lefel Tri:27
Credydau ei hangen ar Lefel Tri:6
Mwyaf o gredydau ar Lefel Tri:6
Credydau ei hangen ar Lefel Tri:3
Mwyaf o gredydau ar Lefel Tri:3
Credydau ei hangen ar Lefel Tri:3
Mwyaf o gredydau ar Lefel Tri:3
Credydau ei hangen ar Lefel Dau: 6
Mwyaf o gredydau ar Lefel Dau:6
Credydau ei hangen ar Lefel Tri:6
Mwyaf o gredydau ar Lefel Tri:6
Credydau ei hangen ar Lefel Tri:12