SRA Innovate Educate

sra-innovate-logoSRA Innovate Educate is committed to helping providers of legal education develop their professional legal education and training in new ways, and to supporting new types of providers who are thinking of offering legal education courses for the first time.

Why does innovation matter?

At a time when legal services are rapidly changing, legal education must try to keep apace. If we want a diverse profession we need to recognise that students learn in different ways and have different circumstances and commitments. Our requirements should also reflect the range of legal practice, and that the skills and knowledge employers need vary.

There is a growing need to embed transferable skills into legal education. For example, all employers consider IT and business skills as essential, and we must ensure our training regulations promote these competencies.

By creating innovative ways of delivering and assessing legal education, we can help support a dynamic and flexible labour market; we can encourage a diverse profession; and we can keep pace with changing legal services.

How we can help?

If you have an idea which does not meet the Qualifying Law Degree (QLD), the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Common Professional Examination (CPE) requirements, or if you have been thinking of a new way to deliver legal education to your students but are not sure whether regulation could stop it getting off the ground, come and talk to us to see if we can support you.

We will, of course, continue to keep an eye on how new courses progress. By assuring that end-point assessments are reliable, valid and rigorous, we can afford to be more flexible about how courses are shaped and delivered. We can do this through two regulatory initiatives:

a) Equivalent means

Equivalent means recognises other training or qualifications that meet the outcomes for the academic, professional or work-based stages of training through equivalent means (ie different qualifications).

If you want to develop a course that meets our outcomes, but not the process requirements we specify, we can authorise you to market it on the basis that students who graduate from it will satisfy our outcomes through equivalent means.

  • Do you offer a course of assessed learning which you think meets the requirements of part or all of the training requirements for route to qualification as a solicitor?
  • Have your students undergone any assessed learning for which qualifications or certificates were granted?
  • Or have your students undergone supervised work-based experiential learning?

If the answer to any of these is yes, contact us to see whether you or your student(s) are eligible to apply for equivalent means. Equivalent means may exempt them from part or all of the training requirements for route to qualification as a solicitor.

b) Waive a rule

As a regulator, we also have the power to waive parts of the training regulations, subject to individual and/or provider requirements, in exceptional circumstances.

If we use either of these initiatives, we can work with you to monitor provision and ensure standards continue to be met.

Training for tomorrow and innovation within education

We want to allow greater flexibility and freedom for providers of legal education, so that they can innovate, compete and grow. This will help improve access to quality courses at affordable prices.

We are now developing and will introduce the SQE to provide a common approach to assessing solicitors from no earlier than September 2020. We believe SRA Innovate Educate can help support providers through this period of potential change.

We also want to collaborate with providers to help develop assessment practices to make standards as consistent as possible between providers and across time. We are interested in hearing from providers who want to introduce new standard-setting processes, or share best practice in this area with others.

As the case studies (PDF 3 pages, 540K) on these pages show, we can offer a flexible approach to regulation that recognises innovative ways of delivering legal education.

We are always looking to publicise examples of different types of innovation within education and to share them across the wider legal education community. If you have an idea you want to explore, or if you want to share an existing innovative idea please contact us.

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