The RCVS held a special reception on 1 December to mark the end of RCVS Awards, the college’s former awarding organisation for veterinary nursing qualifications.

Staff and guests at the reception at the RCVS offices in Westminster on Tuesday 1 December.
Staff and guests at the reception at the RCVS offices in Westminster on Tuesday 1 December.

More than 50 people attended the reception, many of whom played a prominent role setting up the organisation in 1997, its subsequent administration and the delivery of veterinary nursing qualifications through its associated centres.

They included external verifiers who were responsible for monitoring the quality of the courses delivered by the centres, external examiners, former RCVS Awards board members and past and present staff from the RCVS veterinary nursing department.

Passing on the baton

Neil Smith, a past-president of the RCVS and a former chairman of the awards board, said in some ways it was a sad day, but also a day to be very proud of.

He said: “What I have seen over the years is increased professionalism and better standards, not only in the veterinary nursing department and RCVS Awards but throughout the profession as a whole.

“In regards to the awarding organisation, we have now passed the baton to others.”

Passing the baton: Neil Smith

RCVS Awards was officially closed on 20 November, but the process of winding it down began a number of years earlier. This followed a decision by VN council in October 2011 to close the awarding organisation, having recognised it presented a potential conflict of interest with the college’s primary role as a professional regulator that sets the standards of education and training for veterinary nurses.

  • The last cohort of students was enrolled on to RCVS Awards in 2012.
  • In 2014, a formal surrender of recognition was submitted to, and accepted by, Ofqual. Following this, the college made arrangements for its closure, ensuring all remaining students would either complete their qualification or transfer to another awarding organisation by the time of closure.
  • In December 2013 the VN council’s education subcommittee granted full approval for awarding organisations Central Qualifications and City & Guilds to deliver the Level 3 Diploma through their centres.

As the regulator of veterinary nursing education and training, the RCVS will now focus on accrediting and quality monitoring those awarding organisations and centres delivering qualifications, ensuring students are trained to the professional standards set out in its day-one competences and skills list.

Closure brings clarity to college

Virginia Pott, who was in the first cohort of external verifiers working for RCVS Awards, was a guest at the reception.

She said: “I think it was always difficult for the RCVS to have two roles and so the closure of RCVS Awards has brought clarity to the college as a regulator.

“It also comes at a time when everyone seems very positive about the way forward for veterinary nursing and there seems to be a clear vision for the profession.”

RCVS head of veterinary nursing Julie Dugmore thanked staff in her department for their help and support in ensuring the closure went as smoothly as possible.

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