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Detail of outcome
In line with consultation feedback, we have decided to simplify our proposed approach to describing the size of regulated qualifications. Our revised approach only uses Total Qualification Time and, where appropriate, Guided Learning. We have decided to adopt the remainder of our proposals, with minor drafting changes to clarify meaning.
This means that:
- The existing rules for the Qualifications and Credit Framework will be withdrawn and the QCF Unit Bank closed on 30 September 2015. Functions in our Regulatory IT System that facilitate QCF unit sharing will be switched off at the same time.
- On 1 October 2015, we will be introducing a new Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) for all Ofqual-regulated qualifications, supported by level descriptors ranging from Entry 1 to Level 8, covering the categories of knowledge and skills.
- As part of this, all regulated qualifications must:
- be assigned a level in line with the level descriptors
- have a size, expressed in terms of Total Qualification Time (TQT) and, where appropriate, Guided Learning
- If an awarding organisation decides to assign credit to a qualification or a unit, credit must be calculated as TQT divided by 10
- Qualification specifications must include the level and size of the qualification, and any credit value assigned to it
- If the level of a qualification is changed, that qualification must either be withdrawn, or changed as part of a planned process that includes communication with all users
- If an awarding organisation wants to allow the recognition of prior learning, it must publish its policy and follow it
- We will introduce new guidance on qualification titling, including around the removal of the term “QCF” from existing qualification titles, and the use of the term “NVQ”.
We have published new rules and guidance which implement these decisions:
- a new edition of our General Conditions of Recognition
- Total Qualification Time Criteria
- Qualification and Component Levels
- a new edition of our Guidance to the General Conditions of Recognition
These new rules and guidance come into effect on 1 October 2015, except for our new rules on qualification size and qualification specifications (which require us to publish a separate notice before they come into effect). We will be writing to awarding organisations to set out our proposed approach to phasing in these requirements in due course.
We have also published our criteria for determining whether a qualification is relevant for the purposes of the Education and Skills Act 2008.
This consultation explains how we propose to manage the withdrawal of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) rules, and sets out the small number of new rules we propose to put in place instead. Lifting the rules means that high quality vocational qualifications can be designed around the needs of employers, rather than fitting to the prescriptive QCF rules. Our decision to withdraw the QCF rules was announced in December 2014 after we carried out a review of the QCF and a consultation last year.
We also consulted last year on requiring a more accurate and consistent approach to describing a qualification’s size. The findings from this consultation on Guided Learning Hours have now been published. The consultation we are publishing today sets out the regulations we propose to introduce to put accurate and consistent size measures in place.
Last year’s QCF consultation also proposed that we should introduce a simple descriptive framework to cover all the qualifications that we regulate. We propose that this will be known as the Framework of Regulated Qualifications (FRQ) and will describe general and vocational qualifications taken in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. This consultation sets out the regulations that we propose to introduce to support the effective operation of the new framework.