News release

Kaplan approved to be the end-point assessment organisation for solicitor apprenticeships

Kaplan, the assessment organisation we appointed to develop and run the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), has been approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to be the End-Point Assessment Organisation for Solicitor Apprenticeships.

The approval followed a rigorous application process to review Kaplan’s experience, expertise and capacity to perform this role. Apprentices will be required to pass SQE1 which tests the application of functioning legal knowledge and will be taken during apprenticeship training as an on-programme assessment. They will then be eligible to sit SQE2 which, for apprentices, is the synoptic end-point assessment.

The SQE will be introduced in 2021, subject to approval from the Legal Services Board. As a national licensing exam which is the sole route to qualification as a solicitor of England and Wales, the SQE will ensure that all successful candidates meet the same consistent high standards at admission.

We and Kaplan have been actively engaging with stakeholders that are directly involved in the training and employment of solicitor apprentices, including employers, training providers and the legal trailblazer group, to seek input on the design and implementation of the SQE.

The first solicitor apprentices registered in 2016 and there are now more than 500. Today we have also published a survey asking law firms and in-house teams about their experience of apprenticeships, including the opportunities for firms, since the start of the scheme.

Gun Judge, Chair of the Trailblazers Legal Committee and Head of AG Integrate at Addleshaw Goddard, said: "On behalf of the Trailblazer group we are delighted at this positive step forward with Kaplan being appointed as the end point assessor. The Solicitor apprentice standard remains a crucial alternative to university for hundreds of students and allows them to achieve the same qualification in a highly competitive sector."

Julie Brannan, SRA Director of Education and Training, said: "Apprenticeships will attract new talent to firms. The SQE will demonstrate the quality of the Apprenticeship route to admission as all qualifying solicitors will have to meet the same high standard. Consistency is key, so it makes sense to have Kaplan - world experts in this field - overseeing assessment for all."

Peter Houillon, CEO of Kaplan Professional UK and Ireland, said: "We are delighted to have been approved as the End Point Assessment Organisation for the Solicitor Apprenticeship. With over a decade of providing the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme assessment, we look forward to continuing to apply our experience and expertise to implement an SQE that will reach the very high standards expected of a national qualifying exam."

About Kaplan

Kaplan is a leading education and assessment provider operating in more than 30 countries, offering professional training, test preparation, languages programmes university preparation, and higher education. Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC) and its largest division.

About the Trailblazer Group

All apprenticeships must have a "Trailblazer Group". This is a representative group of employers, recognised by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, reflecting those who employ people in the relevant occupation, including small employers. The groups develop the apprenticeship standards and review them as the apprenticeship develops, working closely with the regulator in a regulated sector such as legal services.