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Course structure


The course is divided into 2 parts. Part 1 is taught over 2½ days and covers 4 key areas:

  • Introduction to share plans
  • Design
  • Legal and Regulatory
  • Overseas

Part 2 is also taught over 2½ days and covers 5 key areas:

  • Executive plans
  • Employee plans
  • Tax
  • Accounting and disclosure
  • Administration

Each session is based on lectures, interactive group work, worked examples, case studies and Q&A. All our material will be available to you online. We do not however deliver the course online, it is a “classroom” based course.


You must attend at least 75% of the sessions to be eligible to sit each end of course examination. If there are problems with your attendance once the course starts, you can speak to us and we may be able to make arrangements to assist you.

Course materials

The course material is fully updated each year with the latest developments and new case studies.

A range of course materials will be provided to participants for each session, including case studies and other primary sources of information such as legislation and regulations. A detailed handout, summarising main points, will also be produced for all participants. Handouts will be produced for each training session, to be used as lecture notes to support the training given and for reference afterwards. For the convenience of participants, an electronic version of all course materials will be available on the course website.

Private Study

In addition to session attendance, participants are recommended to spend 60 hours per part to private study. This will be to work through the course studies and course material and to prepare for the exams.

Assessment methodology

Each of the 2 parts will be assessed by a 2 hour written examination.

Each exam is worth 50% of the final grade received. Both exams will consist of multi-choice questions, short answer questions and essay questions.

The examinations are set by the Examining Board and moderated by the ICSA moderator who is responsible for maintaining ICSA standards. For more information on the examinations, please see the student handbook.

We are keen that you feel confident about taking the exams. We will support you in revision practice and pastoral support.

Pastoral support

This is support available during and after attending the course, prior to the exam.

To pass the Certificate

To be awarded the Certificate, you must achieve a Pass result (50% or over) in each of the two exams. The exam for Part 2 must be successfully completed within 3 years of taking Part 1.

The overall grade will be the average of both exams and will be shown on your certificate as a named grade band. This is based on the same grading system as the ICSA’s main qualifying scheme and is as follows:

75% and above - Distinction

65%-74% - Merit

50%-64% - Pass

The date of each examination will be confirmed during the first and last session. If participants fail one exam they can re-sit the examination up to 2 times. However, their mark for that exam will be capped at 50%. If participants fail 2 exams, they will have to re-sit in same exam year. There will be a small charge to re-sit an examination. More information on re-sits is available in the student handbook.

Quality assurance

Tapestry is committed to delivering the highest of standards for both course delivery and course material.

ICSA is responsible for quality assurance of the assessment, through moderation of the exam material and the marking.


An award ceremony will take place after completion of the course. A prize will be presented by the ICSA to the best overall student. On successful completion of the course, you will be invited to take up affiliated membership of the Chartered Governance Institute.

Apply here