Please Note:If you have already learnt things which are taught in a course, either through previous study or work experience, you may be able to obtain credit towards your chosen course, eliminating the need to repeat material, and thereby reducing the time taken to complete your course.

Credit can be obtained by completing a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) form BEFORE commencing your course.

To apply for RPL, please contact the the Academy for an application form. Just email:  [email protected]  Complete the form and submit it together with photocopied documentation.

A nominal fee of £40 is charged for Certificate courses or £60 for Diploma courses and above, to make a standard RPL assessment. A higher fee may apply for more complex submissions involving large exemptions. The RPL fee will be deducted from the total cost of your course, plus discounts for any exempted studies, upon enrolment. However, if you complete an RPL and choose NOT to enrol in a course, this fee is non-refundable.

First Understand These Categories:

You have studied part of a similar course previously

Prior studies must normally be in the same broad discipline (eg. Horticulture, Psychology, Health and Fitness) Credit awarded will take into account: duration of prior studies (hours of instruction), qualification of teachers, content of the course and the results you achieved.

  • Prior studies in certificates with a duration of less than 100 hours are not commonly considered for credit.
  • Prior studies in short courses or modules with a duration of less than 15 hours are not commonly considered for credit.
  • Formal recognition or accreditation of the institution you studied with will be less important than the above criteria.

You have completed a previous course in the same, or a related discipline

A degree or diploma in one discipline, may contribute credit toward a different discipline eg. If research skills have been learnt in an engineering degree, you are likely to be exempt from a Research Project in any other science diploma or higher qualification.

  • You have significant and relevant work experience.
  • Work experience is only relevant if it is seen as having contributed to the overall learning required to be achieved for the qualification concerned.
  • The value of work experience will be based upon not only what you did, but also for how long (hours), who your supervisor was (and their qualifications), nature of tasks performed and diversity of work.
  • You have significant and relevant experience, other than work

Various other pursuits may be considered as a valuable learning experience, including involvement with clubs, associations or professional bodies, serving on committees, volunteer work or travel. -These things must be relevant to the discipline though.

Next, Understand How Much Credit You Might Get
We believe that it is degrading the value of any qualification if credit is given for the entire qualification based upon studies and experiences outside of that normal study program.

When a person holds a particular qualification (eg. certificate, diploma or degree), possession of that qualification indicates they have the knowledge, skills, awareness and experiences which are attained through undertaking that qualification. There are intangible benefits which come from undertaking any qualification, such as seeing intimately how a well constructed study program is composed and delivered. 

  •     No more than 66% credit is ever granted toward any qualification; whatever the circumstances.
  •     Credit is granted less freely toward higher qualifications than for lower qualifications.
  •     The first 33% of credit granted is given on the basis that anything shown to have been achieved elsewhere will gain a full exemption (eg. If the person has adequate plant identification skills, they will be exempt from 33% of plant identification requirements in a course.
  •     The second 33% (up to the maximum 66%) is increasingly difficult to attain credit for (eg. If a person say already possess knowledge and skills required for 66% of a qualification, they will be unlikely to gain 66% credit).     
  •     They must significantly exceed this 66% in their current abilities in order to be granted the maximum 66%)


The application process is relatively simple, and for some people, may be completed in perhaps less than half an hour. For others, it may take several hours.

There are five main things you need to submit:

  •     Contact details
  •     The name of the course you wish to be assessed against
  •     Details of prior studies
  •     Details of prior experience
  •     An application fee

To begin the process you will need to complete the RPL application form available from the Registrar at: [email protected]


If no interview is required and this submission is based solely on these forms (NB: This includes a Resume/CV and references to substantiate what is written on the following pages).
The RPL fee MUST accompany the application form.

Copies of any certificates, courses, or any other information which you feel might aid the assessment of your request must be submitted with this application.

Three written references must be submitted with this application. The references must come from previous employers clearly stating skills learnt, duration of employment and experiences, etc.

Exemption & Fees
If exemptions are granted, fees may or may not be reduced by up to approx. £4 per lesson exempted.

Please Note:   Applications must be made before you commence a course. You cannot apply after you commence studies.


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