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AWS Policies

American Wine School Policies

WSET® Awards is regulated by OfQual, and as a result all WSET APPs are required to have policy statements for all of the categories listed below and must give their students the opportunity to read them before agreeing to enroll on a course of learning for a WSET qualifications.

Policy for Candidates Requiring Reasonable Adjustments

A reasonable adjustment is any action that helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that places the candidate at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation.

This APP seeks to conduct the assessment of all candidates in a way that puts them at no disadvantage, or advantage, over other candidates. However, whilst Reasonable adjustments must not affect the integrity of what needs to be assessed, but may involve:

Reasonable adjustments are approved or set in place before the assessment activity takes place; they constitute an arrangement to give the candidate access to the qualification. The use of reasonable adjustment will not be taken into consideration during the assessment of a candidate’s work. Out of fairness to all candidates, evidence of the individual circumstances giving rise to the request must be produced.

The American Wine School will:

– identify any special assessment needs at the time of candidate registration.

– inform WSET® Awards at the earliest opportunity so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

– agree the specific arrangements for the examination, or for marking with WSET® Awards, which will vary according to individual circumstances.

WSET® Awards reserves the right to seek the advice of independent agencies as appropriate in coming to a decision on specific arrangements and must agree before any reasonable adjustments are offered by this APP to its students.

Please submit any Requests for Reasonable Adjustments at least 5 weeks before the date of the examination. This APP will forward any Requests for Reasonable Adjustments to WSET® Awards within 5 working days of receipt and WSET® Awards will respond after 4 working weeks after giving the request due consideration.

Candidates and their advisors should also be aware:

– That it is not appropriate to make requests for special arrangements where the candidate’s particular difficulty directly affects performance in the actual attributes that are the focus of the assessment.

– reasonable adjustments will not give unfair advantage over candidates for whom reasonable adjustments are not being made, or alter the assessment demands of the qualification as detailed in the qualification specification.

Policy for Candidates Requiring Special Consideration

Special consideration is an action taken after an assessment to allow candidates who have been disadvantaged by temporary illness, injury, indisposition or adverse circumstances at the time of the assessment to demonstrate attainment.

A candidate may be eligible for special considerations if:

WSET® Awards must be notified in writing within seven days of the examination date where special consideration is being requested using the Request for Special Consideration Form.  Eligibility will only be considered if accompanied by supporting independent documentation, and please allow extra time for this APP to pass your request to WSET® Awards.

Where a candidate is unable to attend an examination due to recent personal illness, accident or bereavement, the APP will endeavor to transfer the candidate to an alternative examination date at no extra cost.

In cases of serious disruption during the examination, the Examinations Officer of this APP must submit a detailed report of the circumstances and candidates affected to the Examinations Administrator at WSET® Awards, in addition to the Examination Papers.

It should be noted that WSET® Awards does not offer aerostat awards and that all assessment requirements of WSET® qualifications must be met.  It is also our policy that special considerations will not give unfair advantage over candidates for whom special considerations are not being applied, or alter the assessment demands of the qualification as detailed in the qualification specification.  Further guidance is available in Appendix 3  Guidance for Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations™.

If a candidate is unable to attend an examination for which they have been registered due to circumstances outside their direct control, they should notify this APP as soon as possible, and complete the Request for Special Consideration form submitting written 3rd party evidence to support their application.  Failure to attend due to work commitments does not qualify for Special Consideration.   This APP will not charge an unused paper fee for applications where approval from WSET® Awards is granted.

Malpractice, Maladministration and Sanctions Policy

This APP will ensure that their programmer for the delivery and administration of any WSET qualification complies in all respects to the rules, regulations and procedures set out in the WSET APP Operating Handbook.  All WSET® examinations run by this APP will be administered in line with the Centre Agreement, Code of Practice and Invigilation Instructions provided in the Operating handbook, and Examination Regulations issued to all APPs and Students in the Qualification Specifications.  Failure to abide by these criteria will be considered Malpractice and or Maladministration and may affect our ability to continue teaching WSET qualifications.  Malpractice can arise from any act, omission, event, incident or circumstance that prejudices learners, affects public confidence in qualifications, affects the standards of qualifications which the awarding body makes available or affects the ability of the awarding body to undertake the development, delivery or award of qualifications. A Maladministration relates to a failure by the APP to offer WSET Qualifications in accordance with the rules, regulations and operating procedures set out in this Handbook

Programme Providers must have in place procedures for dealing with instances of Malpractice and Maladministration should they arise. These policies will be made available to WSET® Awards upon request, and form part of the criteria which must be met to become an APP.

The headings below list categories of maladministration by the staff of the APP and malpractice by APP staff and / or candidates which may adversely affect the integrity of WSET® qualifications and certification.  These examples are not exhaustive and are intended as guidance to APPs and their candidates on the WSETs definition of malpractice and maladministration.

Malpractice will include, but is not limited to:

  1. Actual or attempted Plagiarism, or cheating, of any nature by candidates;
  2. Use or attempted use of any reference material or electronic devise during a closed book examination
  3. Disruptive behavior by candidates in the examination;
  4. Candidates in breach of published Examination Regulations and APP in breach of invigilation rules or the Code of Conduct;
  5. Fraudulent use of WSET® certificates;
  6. A deliberate attempt to discredit the WSET®, or to bring the WSET® into disrepute in any way;
  7. Issue of bogus examination results;
  8. Insecure storage of examination papers;
  9. Unauthorized amendment, copying or distribution of examination papers;
  10. Use of unapproved or ineligible educators to deliver a qualification course, or use of un-authorized internal assessors
  11. Change of examination location or altered facilities so they no longer meet the required standards;
  12. Failure to administer examination in line with the assessment requirements;
  13. Denial of access to resources (premises, records, information, candidates and staff) by authorized WSET® representatives and / or the Regulatory Authorities;

Maladministration will include, but is not limited to:

  1. Failure to follow procedures or adhere to regulations as laid out in the APP Operating Handbook;
  2. Failure to return examination papers within the required timeframe or
  3. Returning exam papers by regular post and not recorded delivery or trackable courier;
  4. Failure to issues results to candidates in a timely manner
  5. Breach or infringement of WSET® copyright and trademarks;
  6. Non-payment of fees for WSET® services or examinations;
  7. Breach of the Conflicts of Interest Policy
  8. Breach of the Centre Agreement or APP Code of Conduct;
  9. A change in control of the APP that results in new management being unable to meet WSET® Awards criteria;

Malpractice is divided into two main categories;

Major Malpractice

Serious and /or deliberate breaches of conduct, or serious neglect of professional duty, represents a high risk to the integrity of the qualification.  Major Malpractice could result in the invalidation or revocation of examination results to a student and / or approval of the APP.  In this instance OfQual must be informed of the malpractice case and WSET® Awards will take all appropriate action as directed by the Regulatory Authority, which may include notification to other Awarding Bodies’ An example of Major Malpractice would be, Fraudulent use of WSET® certificates and the issue of false examination results or Unauthorized amendment, copying or distribution of examination papers.

Minor Malpractice

Minor and /or accidental breaches of conduct or neglect of professional duty, or those more major breaches not considered to be deliberate or malicious in intent, represents a lower risk to the integrity of the qualification and would not affect examination results or certification.  Examples of minor malpractice could include, failure to follow procedures laid out in the Operating Handbook or Change of examination location or altered facilities so they no longer meet the required standards.

Reporting Malpractice

This APP will report any potential case of malpractice by candidates, educators, invigilators or center staff to the Centers Co-coordinator and Quality Assurance Manager at WSET® Awards immediately using the Notification of Potential Malpractice Form.

Failure to do so may result in the refusal to issue results and Certification to candidates, the invalidation of examination results or the withdrawal of approval to offer WSET® qualifications.

Where APP personnel are involved, the APP should follow its own procedures and keep WSET® Awards informed of the steps taken to resolve the situation.

Malpractice may be reported to WSET® Awards by a WSET® Awards appointed Approval Visitor.  In this instance the APP will be advised during the approval visit that a case of Malpractice is being reported.

WSET® Awards will also act upon reports of suspected or actual malpractice received from candidates or other parties regarding an APPs activities or personnel which may affect the integrity of WSET® qualifications.

WSET® Awards responsibility

WSET® Awards will confirm receipt of a report of suspected or actual malpractice within 3 working days.

Should a case of malpractice be raised with WSET® Awards against the Programme Provider, the main contact, or other appropriate person within the management of the APP, will be notified and invited to respond prior to further action being taken.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, WSET® Awards reserves the right to immediately suspend an APPs approval if, after consultation with the WSETs Chief Executive, it is decided that such a suspension is required to protect the reputation of the WSET, and to prevent any possible re-occurrence of the alleged malpractice.  In such circumstances, the APP will be notified immediately and will be required to co-operate with the WSET® whilst the alleged malpractice is investigated.

WSET® Awards will appoint a suitably trained officer to investigate the alleged malpractice and this officer will request supporting evidence from the APP, Candidate or other parties to validate the report of suspected or actual malpractice.

When supporting evidence has been supplied, WSET® Awards will conduct a full investigation of the suspected or actual malpractice to identify the cause and to determine whether malpractice has actually occurred.

Where it is determined that malpractice has occurred, a report will be filed. This will include whether the malpractice is accidental or deliberate, and represents a major or minor threat to the integrity of the qualification, and specify any sanctions that are to be applied to the APP, their staff or the candidate concerned.  If malpractice has been alleged against a candidate, a summary of the investigation and the findings will be sent to the candidate; if the malpractice has been alleged against the APP the summary will be sent to the Main Contact, and the candidate or APP Main Contact will be advised of the sanctions being imposed.  They will also be advised of the General Appeals Policy should they wish to appeal the decision that has been made.

Any case of malpractice that threatens the integrity of the qualification, results issued or certification will be reported to the Regulatory Authority, and following discussion with the Regulatory Authority, other Awarding Bodies may be notified.

Where the report is the result of an internal investigation by the APP, WSET® Awards will review all the documentation supplied and action taken to ensure that any decisions made by the APP are valid and conform to this policy.  WSET® Awards may request additional information to determine whether any additional sanctions should be applied to the APP, their staff or the candidate concerned.

Our responsibility as the APP which we agree to carry out in full

The APP Main Contact is responsible for ensuring that all staff involved in the delivery and / or administration of the WSET® programme run it in accordance with the rules, regulations and procedures set out in this manual, and are aware of, and comply with, this policy.  The APP must also establish their own framework of controls and checks that in their opinion is adequate to minimize and identify any instances of malpractice and is fit for purpose of reporting and investigating any alleged malpractice.  Should an APP require help in establishing a framework that will prevent, investigate and deal with Malpractice, please contact awards@wset.co.uk

The main Contact agrees to co-operate fully with WSET® Awards in any investigation of alleged malpractice at the APP including the removal and / or suspension of staff from their WSET® duties during such investigation.


In cases of alleged malpractice or maladministration WSET® Awards has the right to apply sanctions.  This may include suspend an APPs approval with immediate effect if such action is approved by the Chief Executive of the WSET® whilst an investigation is carried out.

Following an investigation by WSET® Awards, it may be necessary to apply one or more of the following sanctions against the APP and/or their staff.

Where previously agreed corrective measures are not implemented, the sanctions will progress to the next level of severity following the guidelines of the NVQ Code of Practice.

It is WSET Awards intent that no learner should be disadvantaged by any instance of malpractice or maladministration that has arisen by the actions (or non-action) of the APP.  However where such breach undermines the integrity of the assessment process, it may be necessary to invalidate the exam that has been held and require the APP to arrange a free resit for candidates at their convenience.

Following an investigation by WSET® Awards, it may be necessary to apply one of more of the following sanctions against an individual candidate or candidates.

All decisions with regard to malpractice will be communicated in writing within 20 working days following receipt of supporting documentation.  Where it is not possible to respond within this timeframe, a written response will be given providing a date for completion.

Any candidate, educator, invigilator or APP has the right to appeal any decision made against them using the General Appeals section of this handbook, or as detailed in the WSET® Customer Service Statement .

Conflicts of Interest Policy


This APP is approved by WSET Awards which is subject to regulation by the UK Governments regulator, OfQual.  As a regulated awarding organization, they are required to identify, monitor and manage all conflicts of interest which may have an adverse effect on the qualifications they offer and we must take all reasonable steps to mitigate such adverse effect where it exists.

This document offers guidance to all individuals engaged in activities undertaken on behalf of WSET Awards, (the awarding organization of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust) which have potential to lead them to act contrary to the interests of WSET Awards in the development, delivery, assessment and award of its regulated qualifications.

It defines what is meant by conflict of interest, describes such conflict of interest in the context of working with WSET Awards, identifies those conflicts of interest that can be managed and are therefore acceptable and those that cannot be managed and are therefore unacceptable.  It also gives examples of potential conflict of interest.

Scope of this policy

This policy is applicable to all members of staff employed by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in whatever capacity and to any individual acting on behalf of WSET Awards.  This includes those involved in the development of WSET qualifications, question setting, marking of assessments, delivery of WSET programmes of study leading to WSET qualifications, marketing of WSET qualifications, production of study materials, examination papers, qualification certificates and all other associated resources and services.

It relates to WSET regulated qualifications offered in the United Kingdom and International markets.

Definition of conflict of interest

Conflict of interest exists where an individual has interests or loyalties that could adversely influence their judgement, objectivity or loyalty to WSET Awards when conducting activities associated with our qualifications.  These can arise in many different aspects of awarding organization activity, such as:

Whilst it would be impossible to give a definitive list of scenarios presenting potential for conflict of interest, the following have been identified resulting from WSET Awards Risk Management review as being of primary significance.  However, other scenarios will constitute conflict of interest, and we will take actions to redress any such instances that come to our attention other than by declaration from the individual concerned.  Such actions may also include the imposition of sanctions, if deemed appropriate.

Specific examples of conflict of interest include the following:

Some of these examples can be managed and are therefore acceptable. For example, the marking of tasting assessments by Level 3 Internal Assessors is ALWAYS verified by WSET Awards as they clearly have an interest in the results of the assessments of learners they have taught and this constitutes a conflict of interest, and our verification process mitigates this possibility.  Similarly, where an employee of the WSET or one of its APPs undertakes a WSET qualification, we can put measures in place to maintain the integrity of the assessment, PROVIDED we are notified of this conflict of interest in advance of the assessment.  However, it would be totally inappropriate for any individual involved in the authoring of examination questions or the compilation of examination papers to teach or coach learners under any circumstances as there are no options for us to mitigate the effect of this clear conflict of interest.


Any individual engaged with WSET Awards in the provision of our regulated qualifications, as identified under the scope of this policy, is required to make a Declaration of Interest by informing WSET Awards of any potential conflict of interest.  Certain individuals, such as those involved in the assessment process are also required to submit a signed declaration of Non-disclosure.  It is essential that any conflict of interest is declared to WSET Awards immediately to ensure this does not compromise our status of compliance with our regulator, Ofqual. Any APP who fails to declare a potential conflict of interest is in breach of our criteria for approval, and sanctions may be applied to their approval status as a result of any such non-disclosure.

WSET Awards has processes and procedures in place to manage actual or perceived conflict of interest.  These include the exclusive involvement of WSET Awards staff in the creation of all assessment materials, moderation of all internal assessment conducted by the APP and moderation of all written examinations not marked by optical mark readers.  There are of course many other instances of conflict of interest for which we do not have documented procedures in place.  Such instances will be handled on an individual basis to ensure that the integrity of our assessments is not compromised.


The Director, WSET Awards and the Centre Co-coordinator and Quality Control Manager have responsibility for the day to day managing of conflicts of interest relating to functions of WSET Awards.  The members of the Senior Management Team of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust have responsibility for the day to day managing of conflicts of interest relating to functions of the Wine and Spirit Education Trusts functions as a whole.

It is the responsibility of all individuals engaged in the provision of WSET qualifications, in all and any capacity, to promptly report any potential for conflict of interest to the Centre Co-coordinator and Quality Control Manager at WSET Awards.

All instances of conflict of interest will be recorded in WSET Awards Incidents Register, including details of steps taken to mitigate any adverse effect resulting from such conflict of interest.  The Director, WSET Awards is responsible for determining what action needs to be taken to mitigate any adverse effect and for deciding when and how matters relating to actual or potential conflict of interest should be escalated within the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, to the Board of Trustees or to the Regulator, Ofqual.

Equal Opportunities Policy

This APP fully supports the principles of Equal Opportunities. We strive to ensure that all candidates for our qualifications are treated fairly and on an equal basis

Equal Opportunities are assured by:

This APP is an equal opportunities organization and will consider applications from any organization or individual who can demonstrate that they meet our approval criteria. This policy is published on our website or Candidate Booking Form and will be provided to any student on demand


This APP will comply with all current and relevant legislation and this policy will be monitored and reviewed annually.  At the time of writing relevant legislation includes, but is not limited to:

Note, from April 2010 the Equality Bill may come into force, which will replace all existing discrimination legislation and the Acts listed above.

As part of the monitoring of candidates registering for a WSET® qualification we will collect information on diversity, requests for special consideration, access arrangements and feedback from learners, centers and other stakeholders.

All relevant issues identified as suggesting our provision or services have unnecessary impact on learners will be reported back to the Centre Registration and Quality Assurance Manager who will be responsible for leading on introducing amendments to provision and/or services where necessary and in accordance with our documented procedures for developing and reviewing units and qualifications.  Details of the outcomes of each review will be made available to the qualification regulators upon request.


Candidates who believe they have been discriminated against should contact us in the first instance for advice.

Complaints Policy

Complaints against any action or practice which threatens the integrity of our courses, either APP center staff or representative or student should in the first instance be discussed with APP center contact.  The APP undertakes to investigate all complaints in a thorough and professional manner.  This includes, but is not limited to:

An outline of the problem and the main points should be documented and dated.

If the problem is not resolved at this stage the candidate should contact a higher authority in the college or the WSET.

Examples of complaints would be

Complaints against the awarding body,

Complaints against the Wine and Spirit Education Trust should, in the first instance, be discussed with the center contact as above and documented evidence will then be forwarded to The Wine and Spirit Education Trust who have their own complaints policy.

Candidates who are unhappy with their exam results can appeal via the center contact.

The Wine and Spirit Education Trust will investigate the charges are on the website: