The criteria consist of four quality principles (QPs) which Approved Teaching Centres (TCs) must adhere to. These are non-negotiable. Evidence of TC compliance will be required before approval and may be checked throughout the operation of the agreement between MAEL and the TC. Each QP has between 3 and 7 sections which amplify what is expected. Notes of guidance, which are advisory, are provided for most of the sections and are printed in italics. The application needs to either explain how each criterion is met, or give a cross-reference to the relevant document (either on the TC’s own website or by attaching a copy to the application form.)  If the TC is intending to adopt an MAEL policy (e.g. equal opportunities) that may just be stated.  The notes of guidance are shown in italics.

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A.  The Teaching Centre shall have a defined legal identity and be properly organised to meet its legal obligations in its country of operation:

A1. A named individual shall be responsible for all communication with MAEL.

Centre to provide full details, i.e. name, position in centre, postal address, telephone & email.  The named individual must meet criterion B1.

A2. The Centre shall conform to all national and local legislation which apply in its location, and shall hold all registrations, authorisations or approvals which are required for its operation;

Within the U.K., the Centre shall provide evidence of conformity (via policy statements, or official approvals) with:
1. The Equality Act 2010 *
2. The Data Protection Act 1998 *
3. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
4. The Competition Act 1998
5. The Town & Country Planning Act 1990

Outside the UK, an authoritative statement (e.g. from a qualified lawyer, or from a government website) will be needed to confirm what requirements exist, together with evidence of conformity. However, in any case, the Teaching Centre must meet the requirements of UK equality legislation and data protection (starred items above) and provide a policy statement to that effect, detailing how this will be met.

Do note that evidence is required for all points.

A3. Centre management shall be transparent and shall have in place appropriate arrangements for the oversight of its performance as a Centre and its continuing compliance with the Conditions of Centre approval;

Transparency in management means that the way an organisation works is open to scrutiny and that information (other than if confidential for good cause) is readily available to anyone with a legitimate interest. A brief narrative response is expected for this part of A3.

Particular emphasis is placed on the Centre enabling MAEL to meet its responsibilities with respect to its regulators. This includes, but is not limited to:
 Taking all reasonable steps required by MAEL to enable the company to meet its obligations to its regulatory bodies
 Complying with requests from MAEL or Ofqual for information or documentation within 7 days (or else, within that time frame, explain why the information/documentation is not available and state the steps being taken to comply)
 Fully assisting MAEL in carrying out monitoring procedures in accordance with published procedures
 Fully assisting MAEL or Ofqual in any investigation which is necessary for the performance of their respective duties

A statement of intent is sufficient for this part of A3, bearing in mind that this requirement will become part of the contract.

B. The Teaching Centre shall operate with integrity and honesty:

B1. The Centre’s governing body, or owner, employees and associates shall all be suitable persons for the role they fulfil.

In particular, the Centre’s governing body, or owner, employees and associates shall be suitable to operate the Centre, with particular respect to
(a) any criminal convictions held by them,
(b) any finding by a court or any professional, regulatory, or government body that it, he or she has breached a provision of any legislation or any regulatory obligation to which it, he or she is subject,
(c) any instance of bankruptcy or any individual restrictive financial arrangements to which it, he or she is or has been subject,
(d) any occasion on which relevant individuals have been disqualified from holding the directorship of a company or from public office, and
(e) any finding of malpractice or maladministration, in relation to a qualification (whether a regulated qualification or a qualification which is not regulated), to which he or she is or has been subject.

A declaration of freedom from any such situation, or of explanation (clarifying why the situation does not disqualify the individual), is required. A sample form is provided in appendix 7.

The person in charge of the training shall be competent for their role, which would normally imply all of the following:
 Possession of a university degree (preferably but not necessarily in an education-related subject), or a NARIC-recognised alternative qualification;
 Possession of a relevant and approved Montessori Diploma, certificate or credential
 At least three years recent and relevant experience in Montessori education for the age group covered by the qualification
 Previous adult education experience at an appropriate level
 Demonstrable commitment to the Montessori approach, to MAEL training and to the normal tenets of professional behaviour.

A detailed person specification and job description (see samples in appendix 6 herein) shall be made available to any prospective applicant for such a post, prior to appointment.   Appraisal shall take place at annual intervals.  The requirements of this criterion shall be kept in mind when drawing up these documents.

B2. Policies of ethical business management shall be in place and an open and transparent complaints procedure shall be in place;

The Centre’s own policies of ethics and grievances/complaints should be attached. It is acceptable to adapt MAEL’s own policy (see ?page_id=227 and respectively). This response must also include details of any other agreements which the Teaching Centre has entered into, and of any identified conflicts of interest.

Also a copy of the text of the Centre’s prospectus is required, detailing the qualification to be offered.

B3. The Centre shall co-operate in enabling MAEL to fulfil its obligations to regulatory bodies;

A statement of intent is sufficient for this criterion.

B4. Centres shall operate a transparent and fair fees policy;

This must include details of how the fees are communicated to the adult learners (e.g. in the prospectus) prior to enrolment. Details of how learners are advised of when fees are due (e.g. annually, termly or monthly), of the policy on lateness of payment, including any late fee or interest payable.
B5. A procedural statement dealing with actual and potential conflicts of interest shall be provided.
See section 2.3 herein for what is required. The statement must be tailored to the particular circumstances of the teaching centre.
B6. Centres shall respect all terms and conditions, including special conditions, of registration;
A statement of intent is required for this criterion. The statement must clearly state that the TC will adhere to the agreement and make no changes once it comes into effect.
In addition MAEL will expect Centres to ensure (and will check evidence that):(a) each learner taking a qualification which the awarding organisation makes available is registered in a way that permits the learner to be clearly and uniquely identified, using the standard form provided by MAEL, (b) where the identity of a learner has not previously been confirmed to the awarding organisation, or the Centre at which the assessment will take place, arrangements are in place to confirm the Learner’s identity,(c) learners have met all relevant requirements in terms of prior learning and/or experience, including a facility with the English language up to IELTS band 6.

Please note:  MAEL qualifications’ assessment procedures are only available in the English language and this is an explicit term.   Learners need to have achieved at least IELTS band 6 (i.e. above CEFR level B2) standard, although exceptionally learners at band 5 may be accepted with extensive prior experience in the field.

Written assessment responses will only be accepted in standard (UK) English. Practical demonstrations (e.g. the practical examination or classroom observation) may be conducted in BSL or ASL or an equivalent (provided an independent translator is present who is financed by the adult learner) or in the vernacular language provided that the language is understood by any assessor or verifier present.

B6. Centres shall commit to meet any requirements of accrediting or regulatory bodies from which the Centre has recognition (but which are not mandated by MAEL.)

A statement of intent is sufficient for this criterion.
C. Resource Sufficiency: Teaching Centres shall maintain sufficient human and physical resources to fulfil their obligations (both to their learners and to MAEL):

C1. Sufficient staff are employed;

State how many staff are expected to be employed, and what their essential qualifications and experience will be. Provide a narrative explaining how this will be sufficient.

C2. Teaching shall be situated in suitable premises;

The premises shall be:
1. Safe (including their maintenance at a suitable temperature, of a sufficient size e.g. around 2.5 m2 of uncluttered space per learner, adequately lit, free from excessive noise, clean and generally fit for purpose)
2. Have guaranteed availability
3. Have access to a model Montessori classroom for the appropriate age-range
4. Have suitable storage of and access to all Montessori equipment (see C5.) for the age-range
5. Be equipped with comfortable & appropriately sized furniture
6. Have ready access to toilets and clean drinking water
7. Meet current requirements for disabled access
8. Have essential electrical equipment e.g. TV & DVD player) available

C3. All persons associated with the Centre shall be demonstrably competent for their role;

An appropriate job description must be submitted for the main lecturer. Either a c.v. of the post holder, or an account of how their qualifications will be checked, will be required. MAEL will need to be assured that all staff lecturing on Montessori topics are appropriately qualified and experienced.
C4. Financial viability shall be assured;

Centres will need to provide a cash flow projection showing (as a minimum) how the course will be self-sufficient throughout a course, and that income will exceed expenditure by a reasonable amount.

It is also necessary to indicate (through escrow accounting or an insurance policy) that a 100% refund can be made to learners if a course fails for any reason.

C5. A full range of suitable teaching materials shall be available;

The range will include at least all materials illustrated in the MAEL modules.  If not available immediately, plans and a timescale for their purchase will be submitted.   Lists of materials may be obtained from MAEL on request.

It must also be made clear how learners will access academic books and resources.

C6. Suitable placements for teaching practice, which are monitored regularly, shall be available;

The Centre should operate the minimum standards check (see section 3.3 herein) before placing adult learners on work experience.   Full instructions must be provided and an agreement (see sample in appendix 7) signed by all parties, prior to commencement of teaching practice.

C7. Centres must maintain the suitable and sufficient resources itemised in C.1 & 5-6
A narrative account of how this is planned is expected.


D. Delivery competence: the Centre shall deliver teaching courses, and administer all approved assessments, with demonstrable competence

D1. Teaching Centres must operate and monitor an equality policy;

The policy, including procedural details on how it will operate, must accompany the application.

D2. Teaching Centres must take all reasonable steps to safeguard learners’ interests in any case of non-delivery of a course or assessment;

Should any course be discontinued, it is incumbent upon the TC to make suitable arrangements for all continuing adult learners, who are enrolled, to complete the assessments. If a course is discontinued for any reason, the Centre must guarantee to refund all fees paid to date by any continuing learners. It is recommended to use either escrow accounting or an insurance policy to cover this eventuality.

D3. Teaching Centres must have an approved grievance/complaints policy;

See criterion B2. here also.

D4. Teaching Centres must follow MAEL guidance on delivery of assessment, where available;

A statement of intent is sufficient for this criterion.

D5. Teaching Centres must co-operate with moderation procedures.

A statement of intent is sufficient for this criterion. See details of the moderation processes in section 4.2 herein.
D6. Teaching Centres must ensure that learners fully understand the nature of the arrangement with MAEL and the implications of the moderation process;

Indicate how this is done (e.g. in the prospectus or Learners’ Handbook). The intent of this point is that learners are told that any marks or grades awarded are provisional and may be subject to revision, firstly by the TC itself as part of the internal verification and secondly, by MAEL a start of the external moderation process. Explain how this will be conveyed to learners.
Sample wording could be “Coursework will be marked promptly and feedback provided in writing. All grades given are not final but may be modified following the initial verification process carried out by the …………….. teaching centre and also the external verification carried out by MAEL. Final grades will then be issued.”

It is expected that prospective learners will be interviewed and many of these points (e.g. English proficiency) can be checked then.

D7. Teaching Centres must accept guidance from MAEL.

A statement of intent is sufficient for this criterion.


Page reviewed 22.5.2021