Schools, colleges and children's services – guidance

Apply to have your qualifications regulated

Who and what Ofqual regulates, how to apply to be regulated and what happens when you want to stop being regulated.

Who and what Ofqual regulates

Ofqual regulates certain qualifications, end-point assessments and the organisations which offer them. We don’t regulate training courses. The difference between a training course and a qualification is that a qualification:

  • tests someone’s knowledge, skills or understanding of the subject
  • is only awarded to someone who has demonstrated a specified level of attainment
  • awards a certificate to anyone who completes it successfully

What does it mean to be regulated by Ofqual?

Qualifications, apart from GCSEs, AS or A levels, do not have to be regulated by Ofqual. However, if you want your qualification to be studied in publicly funded schools and colleges, you will need to be regulated by us.

Being regulated means being recognised by Ofqual to offer certain types of qualifications. If you want us to regulate your qualifications, you have to apply to become a recognised awarding organisation - an Ofqual-approved provider - of those qualifications. We have a thorough process we use to decide whether you should become a recognised awarding organisation. This is to make sure that the standards of qualifications are maintained.

We won’t regulate any qualifications that we don’t recognise you for and these won’t appear on our register of regulated qualifications.

A regulated qualification is always a regulated qualification. This includes when it’s taken by students in a different country or when it’s privately funded.

Recognition explained - a short video guide to the process

Recognition explained

Apply for recognition

Make sure you do the following before you click the link to apply:

  1. Decide which qualifications you want to offer - including the appropriate levels and qualification types.
  2. Check that you can comply with all our rules for the qualifications you want to offer.
  3. Read our ‘Criteria for Recognition’ and the ‘Application for recognition: supporting information’ to make sure you understand how we will assess your application and the information you’ll have to provide.
  4. Double-check your application before sending it to us. Check you’ve answered all the questions and included all your supporting information.

If you are ready to start your application, complete our online application form.

Do not use this form if you are already recognised by Ofqual - you need to apply to offer more qualifications instead.

Apply for recognition.

After you apply

We’ll review your application against our ‘Criteria for Recognition’ and decide whether to recognise you.

It may take up to 60 working days for us to decide the outcome of your application.

For more information see ‘Application for recognition: supporting information’.

Apply to offer more qualifications

If you want to offer more regulated qualifications, then you’ll need to be recognised to offer them. Complete an enquiry form and we will contact you. You should explain in the enquiry form how the new qualifications you wish to offer are similar or different to your current qualifications. We’ll then reply to you to confirm whether you will need to complete a partial or full application.

Offer fewer qualifications

If you want to stop offering some or all of your regulated qualifications, you’ll need to ‘surrender’ your recognition for them.

End your recognition

To stop being regulated by Ofqual and to end recognition of all your qualifications, you will need to ‘surrender’ your recognition completely.

Surrender your recognition

To start the process to partially or completely surrender your recognition, email us at recognition@ofqual.gov.uk to tell us which qualifications you wish to surrender. We will contact you to discuss the next steps including the final dates your qualifications will be available to learners.

Once you have surrendered recognition for a qualification, we’ll remove it from our register of regulated qualifications, and you must stop using the Ofqual logo for it.

Surrender is a voluntary, formal process set out in section 147 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009.

End-point assessments for apprenticeships

An end-point assessment is a test of knowledge gained during an apprenticeship. It:

  • is designed to test knowledge of all areas of learning covered in the apprenticeship
  • is taken at the end of an apprenticeship
  • assesses whether an apprentice has developed the knowledge, skills and behaviours identified by employers for a particular occupation

We will regulate end-point assessments as qualifications. For more information on end-point assessments, read ‘Regulation of new apprenticeship end-point assessments