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Our mission is to provide accessible, first growth education and wine qualifications for wine and spirit professionals and enthusiasts.

Our Policies


At ‘First Growth Wine School’ each of our students are very important to us. We think you have the right to a fair service at all times. Once we receive your complaint we will deal with it effectively.

A student or prospective student can raise a complaint to our school. All complaints will be taken very seriously and dealt with impartially. Our goal is to assist our students in resolving problems regard bookings, courses or any other related issues.

First Growth Wine School (FGWS) will do its very best to resolve student complaints as quickly as possible, with a time frame of 20 working days or less. This process may take longer, particularly if the complaint go through to senior members of First Growth Wine School. Our school will keep record of the student’s com-
plaints for three years.

 

Complaints Procedure

  1. Students should submit their complaints in writing by email to the Administration Director of First Growth Wine School, Christoforos Christofi, at cchristofi@firstgrowth.eu and adding the word complaint as a reference.
  2. In our school, we are committed to deal with your complaint without any discrimination or prejudice. Your complaint will be confidential at all times.
  3. The students must provide their contact details (address, email address, telephone number), specific details of the compliant and any supporting evidence you may have to resolve your complaint.
  4. Your complaint will be dealt with by the Administration Director of First Growth Wine School. We will acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days and we will do our best to send a final response to you within 20 working days of the date you sent your original complaint. If we can’t do that within this time frame, we will send you an update explaining why and advice when you can expect a final response.
  5. If FGWS can’t resolve your complaint satisfactory, please contact the WSET’s Quality Assurance team directly at qa@wsetglobal.com.

 

Conflict of interest

First Growth Wine School is approved by WSET Awards which is subject to regulation by the UK Government’s regulator, OfQual. As a regulated awarding organisation, FGWS is required to identify, monitor and manage all conflicts of interest which may have an adverse effect on the qualifications offered by WSET and will take all reasonable steps to mitigate such adverse effect where it exists.

This policy is applicable to all members of staff employed by First Growth Wine School and to any individual acting on behalf of First Growth Wine School.

A 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 WSET qualifications. Examples of Conflicts of Interest in the context of an awarding organisation include:

  • An individual whose personal interests or loyalties conflict with the awarding organisation involvement.
  • An individual who receives remuneration for services that conflict with the awarding organisation involvement.
  • An individual whose acts put WSET Awards in a position of non-compliance with its regulatory responsibilities.
  • The undertaking of any assessment of candidates by an individual who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment for any or all individuals concerned.
  • The undertaking of any moderation of assessment of candidates by an individual who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment for any or all individuals concerned.
  • The tutoring of candidates by any individual involved in the assessment process.
  • The delivery of ‘coaching sessions’ to examination candidates by any individual involved in the assessment of candidate scripts or the authoring of examination questions.

 

WSET has processes and procedures in place to manage specific conflicts of interest.

The Director of First Growth Wine School has responsibility for the day-to-day managing of conflicts of interest. First Growth Wine School will notify WSET Awards about any potential and/or real conflicts of interest. Also, First Growth Wine School will seek advice from WSET Awards about how best to proceed.

 

Data protection

First Growth Wine School is required to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This policy sets out principles we will apply when handling individuals’ personal information. By submitting data to First Growth Wine School, individuals authorise First Growth Wine School to process data in accordance with this policy.

Data refers to information held about a student that may be processed by First Growth Wine School in order for it to carry out its function as a wine school. This includes data relating to a living individual who can be identified from that data.

First Growth Wine School has a legitimate interest in collecting and processing personal data including a candidate’s name(s), date of birth, gender and email address for the purposes of examining and awarding WSET qualifications and collecting feedback from candidates.

 

In some cases, additional information (which may include sensitive personal data relating to
health) will be collected to support requests for reasonable adjustments and special consideration.

 

A candidate’s personal data will only be collected from First Growth Wine School in the context of examination registrations and/or certification claims. It will not be used by First Growth Wine School other than for the administration of the examinations process, conducting assessments and certifying results. First Growth Wine School has the following procedures in place to safeguard data collected by it as an awarding organisation:

  1. All First Growth Wine School staff, students and educators have access to this policy.
  2. First Growth Wine School is required to inform students of how their data will be processed for the purposes of registration and certification of a WSET qualification.
  3. Forms which require the collection of personal or sensitive personal data include a data protection statement informing individuals about how their data will be processed.
  4. Data collected by First Growth Wine School is not used for marketing purposes or shared with third parties.
  5. No personal data is disclosed to anyone outside of First Growth Wine School without the prior written consent of the individual.
  6. Access to personal information on the FGWS database is restricted to authorised users.
  7. All records are kept accurate and up-to-date as far as practicable.
  8. Where First Growth Wine School sends email correspondence to multiple recipients, recipients will be blind-copied.

First Growth Wine School has appropriate measures in place to ensure the data held on our systems is secure. In the event of an unauthorised use of data or data loss, the individuals concerned will be notified and a recovery plan implemented. This will include a risk assessment and review of operating procedures. This policy must be made available to candidates upon request. It is provided that First Growth Wine School students will be able to access any right as provided by the GDPR.

 

Diversity and equality

First Growth Wine School fully supports the principles of Equal Opportunities. We are fully committed to ensure that all candidates for our qualifications are treated fairly and on an equal basis.

Equal Opportunities are assured by:

  • the selection, recruitment and training of those working for First Growth Wine School;
  • consideration at an early stage in the development of new schemes or qualifications;
  • ensuring that the format and content of all syllabi, examinations and other do not discriminate against anyone which is the responsibility of WSET Awards by whom we are approved to teach WSET qualifications;
  • ensuring there are no barriers to entry to units and qualifications, which we deliver and/or offer, for disabled people, women or men, or people from different racial groups, other than those directly related to the integrity of the units or qualifications. Details of how the effect of any barriers will be mitigated will be recorded, including using access arrangements or including reasonable adjustments;
  • clarifying the responsibility of all members of staff and/or consultants, who are involved in the delivery of WSET courses within First Growth Wine School, to comply with this policy;
  • anonymous assessment of examination candidates wherever possible;
  • promoting practices and procedures that give equal opportunities to everyone;
  • being required to have equal opportunity policies in place;
  • the variation of any conventional rules and regulations for the conduct of examinations which might inhibit the performance of candidates with specific needs, provided that the standard, quality and integrity of the assessment is not compromised.
  • making every effort to ensure that there is equality of opportunity in its assessment process, regardless of the candidate’s gender, age, racial origin, religious persuasion (prayer room available upon request), sexual orientation or disability;
  • ensuring, to the best of our ability, that any documentation produced does not contain language or images which may be regarded as offensive or stereotypical, and that they reflect the diversity of contemporary society.

FGWS is an equal opportunities organisation and will consider applications from any organisation or individual who can demonstrate that they meet our approval criteria.

This policy is published on our website and will be provided to any student on demand.

FGWS will comply with all current and relevant legislation and this policy will be monitored and re-viewed annually. At the time of writing relevant Cypriot legislation includes, but is not limited to:

The Constitution of Cyprus

The Law against Racial and other discrimination of 2004

The Law of equal treatment of Men and Women in the workplace and education of 2002

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Laws of 1981-2004

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, centres and other stakeholders.

All relevant issues identified as suggesting our provision or services have unnecessary impact on learners will be reported back to the Administration Director, Christoforos Christofi, 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 in-stance for advice.

 

Reasonable adjustments

First Growth Wine School seeks to conduct the courses and 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:

  • Changing standard assessment arrangements, for example allowing candidates extra time to complete the assessment activity;
  • Adapting assessment materials, such as providing materials in large text format;
  • Providing access facilitators during assessment, such as a sign language interpreter or
    reader;
  • Re-organising the classroom or assessment room, such as removal of visual stimuli for an autistic

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.

First Growth Wine School rents classrooms for the courses and assessment that provide very easy access for all students like: accessible hotel entrance, automatic entrance doors, wheelchair parking bays, lift/elevator accessible for a wheelchair, accessible toilets. The spaces closer to the speaker can be preserved for people with hearing or visual impairment. A sign language interpreter can be arranged upon request as well as materials in large text format depending on the student’s needs.

First Growth 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
  • Agree the specific arrangements for the examination, or for marking with WSET® Awards, which will vary according to individual circumstances.

Please submit any Requests for Reasonable Adjustments at least 6 weeks before the date of the examination. First Growth Wine School 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.

 

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:

  • Performance in an examination is affected by circumstances beyond the control of the candidate. This may include recent personal illness, accident, bereavement or examination room conditions;
  • Alternative assessment arrangements which were agreed in advance of the assessment proved inappropriate or inadequate;
  • The application of special consideration would not mislead the end-user of the certificate.

First Growth Wine School must be notified in writing within 5 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.

Where a candidate is unable to attend an examination due to recent personal illness, accident or bereavement, the First Growth Wine School will endeavour 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 First Growth Wine School 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 First Growth Wine School does not offer aegrotat awards and that all assessment requirements of WSET® qualifications must be met. It is also a First Growth Wine School 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.

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 First Growth Wine School as soon as possible, and complete the “Request for deferral” form submitting written 3rd party evidence to support their application. Failure to attend due to work commitments does not qualify under our “extenuating circumstances”. First Growth Wine School will not charge an unused paper fee for applications where approval from WSET® Awards is granted.

 

Malpractice and maladministration

First Growth Wine School will ensure that their programme 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 First Growth Wine School 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.

Maladministration relates to a failure by the First Growth Wine School 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.

The headings below list categories of maladministration by the staff of First Growth Wine School and malpractice by First Growth Wine School 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 First Growth Wine School and their candidates on the WSET®’s 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 First Growth Wine School in breach of invigilation rules or the Code of Conduct;
  5. Fraudulent use of WSET® certificates;
  6. Insecure storage of examination papers;
  7. Unauthorised amendment, copying or distribution of examination papers;
  8. Change of examination location or altered facilities so they no longer meet the required standards;
  9. Failure to administer examination in line with the assessment requirements;

 

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 First Growth Wine School 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 First Growth Wine School. 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 ‘Unauthorised 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’.

FGWS will report any potential case of malpractice by candidates, educators, invigilators or centre staff to the Centres Co-ordinator 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 First Growth Wine School personnel are involved, FGWS should follow its own procedures and keep WSET®Awards informed of the steps taken to resolve the situation.

The First Growth Wine School 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 policy statements document, and are aware of, and comply with, this policy. The main Contact agrees to co-operate fully with WSET® Awards in any investigation of alleged malpractice at First Growth Wine School including the removal and / or suspension of staff from their WSET® duties during such investigation

 

Cancellations and refunds

Full payment must accompany the booking form as we do not accept provisional bookings and
places will only be confirmed once payment is received. Bookings will only be accepted on valid booking forms with a fully completed and signed declaration.

 

Payment methods: cheque, cash or BANK transfer.

Cancellations of confirmed places are not accepted.

Course fees will be refunded in full if First Growth Wine School changes a course date or cancels a course if enrollments do not reach the required minimum numbers – notification will be made in the 7 days prior to the planned start date of the course.

Examination dates are fixed to the course onto which you book and any transfer to an alternative date will incur an administration fee of 50 Euro + VAT per student.

*All transfer requests must be made in writing or by email cchristofi@firstgrowth.eu at least 12 working days before the original examination date.

All bookings are processed on the understanding and basis that you have read and agreed to the booking terms and conditions.

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