In light of the nationwide lockdown announced on 4th January, we have pulled together a list of answers to questions we are being asked. We hope you find them helpful, but if you are still unclear then please do call or email your local centre and we will chat this through with you.
We have also been running live webinars and Q&A sessions for employers and students – you can find out more here.
I am booked onto a course that hasn’t started yet, what do I do?
We want to reassure students that courses are unaffected by the latest government announcement. We will continue to run courses online and in our virtual classrooms. All materials will be dispatched directly to your chosen address and classes will be delivered per your schedule.
Thousands of students studied using our online or virtual classroom courses in 2020. There is no reason to lose momentum and put your studies on hold. Remote invigilation was introduced for ACCA and CIMA exams in 2020, and we are confident exam sittings will go ahead as planned in 2021. Please read on for specific advice based on each qualification.
When will First Intuition centres re-open for classroom courses?
We consider ourselves to be in a very fortunate position – we have been delivering all of our courses remotely since the first nationwide lockdown was implemented in March 2020.
We expect social distancing restrictions to be in place for some time, and therefore want to provide our students and employers with as much clarity as possible to support ongoing plans for learning.
Most of our physical centres around the UK will not be opening for face to face delivery of classroom courses before March 2021 at the earliest. Until this time, we will continue to deliver our scheduled classroom courses, skills modules, progress reviews and introduction days remotely, utilising online technology as we have been doing since March 2020.
You can find course dates and information for your local centre on your local centre page.
Is my local centre open for exams?
We recommend contacting your local CBE centre to find out if they will be open for exams during this time. You can find a list of these exam centres here.
The good news is that most of the professional accountancy bodies are progressing with remote proctoring for on-demand exams, which enabled thousands of students to take exams in 2020. We recommend booking a remote on-demand exam where possible.
I’m an apprentice and have a review meeting booked with my FI Skills Coach. Should it still go ahead?
Progress reviews will continue to be held with skills coaches, apprentices and line managers. Your skills coach will be in touch regarding remote meeting arrangements.
During this uncertain period, our skills coaches will work with apprentices as flexibly as possible to help you identify how the current situation and new ways of working can be applied to the skills and behaviours within the standard.
Our skills coaches are there to support you – you do not have to wait until your next scheduled review to speak to us and we’d encourage all apprentices to reach out to their skills coach for support during this period.
I’m an apprentice and have a Skills module booked in the next few weeks, will it still go ahead?
We have redesigned our skills modules so that you are still able to learn the key concepts and then be able to put these into practice in the workplace, even if that working is being done from home. Your FI skills coach will be in touch with you directly about these changes.
I’m a new apprentice and due to start my programme in the next few weeks. What should I do?
All of our upcoming programmes for new apprentices will be going ahead as planned. Your local FI centre will be in touch regarding arrangements for your introduction to the programme.
What is the status of my qualification and the availability of exams?
AAT are not currently offering remote invigilation for any modules.
We are keeping some of our assessment venues open for exams only in order that AAT students can still progress with their qualification. If you are an AAT student with assessments outstanding, or an employer supporting AAT students, your local FI centre will be in touch with you directly. Alternatively, you can contact your local centre here.
More information will be released over the coming weeks – you can find the latest information on the AAT website here.
Update 14th January: March 2021 exams will now go ahead via remote invigilation.
If you have already booked an exam in a physical location, you will be contacted by ACCA and given instructions on how to rebook your exam remotely. If are planning to sit your exam in March and have not yet booked, you will be able to do so from 25th January.
We recommend you take advantage of the remote invigilation option and sit your next exam as planned. The reason we recommend you sit a remote exam rather than defer to June 2021, is that June may well see similar issues and some students have already experienced delays to the progression of their qualifications. The student feedback we have seen on remote exams has been overwhelmingly positive and pass rates under these conditions are not significantly different to exams held in physical exam centres.
For guidance on remote invigilation including how to book and how to prepare for your exam, please visit the ACCA website.
Following the UK and Scottish government announcements on 4th January 2021, Pearson VUE test centres in England and Scotland are now closed for CIMA exams. Remote online exams will continue as normal. Find out more about what to expect from a remote exam here.
If you have an exam booked at a test centre, please cancel this exam and book an online exam. For more information, please visit the CIMA FAQ page.
We strongly encourage students to take advantage of remote examinations and continue with their CIMA studies as planned, where personal circumstances allow for this.
On Friday 15th January, ICAEW announced that March Professional Level exams and all Certificate Level and ICAEW CFAB exams will be available via remote invigilation only.
IMPORTANT – ICAEW have upgraded their systems over the Christmas break and therefore even students who have used RI before will need to check their PC is compatible with requirements for March exams. Please read this technical specification document from ICAEW if you are taking a Professional remote exam.
At FI we believe this is the most sensible decision considering the current trends of COVID-19 within the UK. It gives clarity to students, employers and providers alike over the next 7 weeks and allows everyone to be prepared. Therefore we strongly encourage students to continue with their ICAEW studies as planned where personal circumstances allow for this.
How will pass guarantee work if I cannot sit my exams as originally planned?
We will extend the terms and conditions of our pass guarantee scheme for any courses affected by exam sitting cancellations or unavailability of computer-based exams. Please contact your local study centre directly if you have any questions.
We understand that the current circumstances may also impact your ability to attend Online Live and Virtual Classroom courses in real-time and submit course exams to the deadlines set. If this applies to you, please contact your local FI centre, as we’ll be reviewing pass guarantee eligibility where these requirements are not met on a case by case basis.
We will continue to update this information as we make further decisions or new information comes to light. We’d like to thank all of our students and employers for your patience and ongoing support.