Welcome to My RLSS UK, an online area dedicated to providing our qualification holders, members, stakeholders, and supporters with easy access to the latest industry safety guidance, policies, resources, and opportunities. As well as providing specialist information, the area signposts you to relevant services and features within your RLSS UK Account (powered by tahdah). 

Every individual, organisation, club, branch, and group in our community is invaluable to us, and we endeavour to provide solutions and added value wherever possible in the hope that you will become a lifelong ambassador of the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK). Together we can work towards the Charity's mission to be the leader in lifesaving and lifeguarding in the UK and Ireland. By sharing our combined expertise and knowledge, with as many people as possible, we can provide everyone with the potential to save lives and enjoy water safely. 

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Introduction and Scope

This policy is aimed at all our Approved Training Centres/Providers (ATC/Ps) and candidates who are undertaking or have completed, an RLSS UK qualification or a regulated qualification awarded by another awarding organisation, who now want to apply for part of their previous achievements to be considered.

This policy sets out how and when recognition of prior learning (RPL) can be used. The use of RPL is optional, and candidates can only apply for RPL against the guided learning hours required of the relevant RLSS UK Qualifications guidance and syllabus. RPL will never be applied to reduce the assessment criteria or time.

RPL has many benefits for candidates who are wishing to pursue multiple qualifications. The RPL eliminates the duplication of learning, especially where syllabus overlaps. RPL can also help to reduce time and cost for a candidate.

Definition and Principles of Recognition of Prior Learning

RPL is the process of formally recognising a candidate’s previous achievements from a range of activities, towards part of a qualification.

It is the responsibility of the ATC/P to review whether the candidate’s evidence is enough to show that they have met the unit requirements, for all or parts of a current qualification. The candidate needs to show that through knowledge, understanding, or skills, they have met the necessary criteria.

RPL cannot be used to provide evidence against an achievement for an entire qualification. This would be called an exemption, which we currently do not offer. Therefore, candidates applying for RPL must still be assessed against the qualification’s full assessment criteria.

It is a requirement that RPL must be:

Valid Reflects the skills or knowledge set out in the guidance and syllabus

Evidence submitted is in its:

  1. Original format
  2. Can be verified as genuine
  3. Can be confirmed as the work of the learner
Sufficient The evidence must be sufficient for the Assessor to ascertain what learning outcomes have been covered for the qualification being claimed.
The evidence must demonstrate that the learner has a reasonable expectation of satisfactorily completing the course, for which they are applying.
Current The evidence must demonstrate the learner’s current skills and knowledge and must meet the qualification specification i.e.their submitted evidence is still valid.

Evidence must be:

  1. From a reliable source
  2. In a reliable format (valid certificate)
  3. Translated Documents (must be translated by an official translator to ensure authenticity)

Applications for RPL must be carried out by staff who are competent to consider and make decisions about RPL. In making these decisions, the competent person must be aware that in certain qualifications, there is a maximum amount of RPL that can be applied for. This is detailed within the relevant guidance and syllabus.

Evidence of learning and previously achieved certificates used towards a qualification

Any evidence of prior learning must meet or exceed the criteria set out in the relevant qualification guidance and syllabus. It must also be valid, authentic, sufficient, current, and reliable.

Occasionally, RLSS UK Qualifications will map or give guidance to show shared content across units or qualifications. In these cases, a candidate may use a previously achieved certificate as evidence, without them having to repeat learning.

If RLSS UK Qualifications have not mapped out qualifications against others, the ATC/P will need to map and check that the learner’s previous certificated achievement, meets the current qualifications learning outcomes. As an ATC/P it is important that there is a record of the mapping completed and that any of the evidence is submitted for auditing purposes.


Candidates must be informed of the outcome of their application in writing. This should be achieved by sending them a signed copy of the completed RPL application form.

Not all applications are guaranteed, ATC/Ps may reject applications of RPL for some of the following reasons:

  • It is not current
  • Original copies of the certification cannot be seen
  • The evidence supplied is insufficient
  • The mapping of the qualification shows the learner has not met any of the relevant criteria
  • It has a detrimental effect on the running of a course

This list is not exhaustive. However, the ATC/P must give clear reasons as to why they have rejected the application.

If a candidate is not happy with the decision to reject the RPL application by the ATC/P, they may appeal against this. Please refer to the ATC/P’s Appeals Policy on how to do so.

If a candidate has a complaint regarding any RPL application, they should refer to the ATC/P’s own complaints policy.

RPL Process

Step 1

Complete this application form

Step 2

Return the application and all supporting evidence to the ATC/P

Step 3

Upon review of the application written confirmation will be provided to all parties within 28 days

Step 4

All applications (successful or not) and mapping processes will be retained for auditing purposes

RPL for Trainer Assessors

RPL can be claimed by a Trainer Assessor in certain areas. For more information please contact a member of the Compliance Team on 0300 323 0096 or email [email protected]

Contact Details

Contact Details

Last updated: February 2022