One of CORU’s key functions as our Regulator of Health and Social Care Professionals is to assess education courses and provide assurance to the public that graduates of those courses meet the minimum regulatory standards and are safe to practise.
Each registration board at CORU has set a minimum hours practice placement requirement for a student to meet the standards of proficiency for registration. However, CORU’s regulatory requirements are principle based, and there is scope for flexibility in how an education provider can meet these as long as any changes do not prevent learners from attaining the standards of proficiency for the profession. This means that education providers have flexibility to determine what constitutes a placement bearing in mind at all times the need for placement to support the achievement of the standards of proficiency.
Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland, CORU has been engaging in dialogue with a number of education providers who are encountering difficulties delivering and assessing elements of approved programmes, particularly practical placements.
CORU issued guidance to the education sector on 13 March 2020 as the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Ireland. I understand that CORU have continued to engage with the QQI and the National Steering Group on Quality, Integrity and Reputation in Higher Education during COVID-19. CORU have advised that they are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and are continuing to engage with education providers to ensure the timely and safe graduation of this year’s cohort of students.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.