Awarding organisations: understanding our regulatory requirements
Find out what regulatory requirements apply to your awarding organisation and your qualifications.
All awarding organisations must continually meet Ofqual’s regulatory requirements - the rules we set to make sure qualifications are valid and fit for purpose.
There are 2 main types of requirements. Those that apply to:
- all awarding organisations and all regulated qualifications
- specific types of regulated qualification
We also sometimes place additional requirements on individual awarding organisations; we call these special conditions. For example we might choose to apply a special condition to make sure an awarding organisation follows through on commitments they made when applying to be recognised by us.
Requirements for all awarding organisations and all regulated qualifications
All awarding organisations must meet certain rules, regardless of what qualifications they offer. Most of these are set out in our General Conditions of Recognition, but some more detailed requirements are in supporting documents:
- Additional Certificate Requirements - rules about information which must be included on qualification certificates
- Logo Requirements - rules about the use of the Ofqual logo
Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)
In September 2015, we introduced our new Regulated Qualifications Framework. We did this by publishing new General Conditions of Recognition which require all awarding organisations to take a consistent approach to determining the level, and describing the size, of all regulated qualifications.
These new General Conditions are supported by:
- Qualification and Component Levels - rules and guidance that awarding organisations must use when assigning a level to a qualification (or a component of a qualification)
- Total Qualification Time criteria - criteria that awarding organisations must use when describing the size of a qualification (or a component of a qualification)
We have also published guidance to the General Conditions of Recognition. This is designed to help awarding organisations understand how to comply with our requirements.
There are also additional rules that apply to:
- all qualifications of a particular type (for example, all GCSEs graded 9 to 1)
- individual qualifications (for example, functional skills English)
These qualifications have qualification-specific requirements:
- new A levels and AS levels (taught from September 2015)
- A levels and AS levels
- GCSEs graded 9 to 1
- GCSEs graded A* to G
- advanced extension awards (AEA)
- level 1 and level 2 certificates (international GCSEs)
- entry-level qualifications
- functional skills qualifications
- key skills qualifications
- English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualifications
- principal learning and project qualifications
- Cambridge international certificates
- Cambridge pre-university qualifications
- International baccalaureate diplomas
- Welsh baccalaureate qualification core certificates
Many of these rules are set out in formal documents we call ‘Regulatory Documents’. All current Regulatory Documents are set out in our Regulatory Documents List.
The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 requires us to set and publish criteria which awarding organisations must use when deciding whether a qualification is ‘relevant’ for the purposes of the Education and Skills Act 2008 (that is, whether young people might take that qualification to discharge their duty to participate in education or training).
We have published our criteria in Criteria for determining whether a qualification is relevant for the purposes of the Education and Skills Act 2008.
Regulating national assessments
Our role is to make sure that the:
- assessments are valid and fit for purpose
- assessments are fair and manageable
- standards are properly set and maintained
- results are used appropriately
We have 2 legal objectives relating to national assessments:
- promote assessment arrangements which are valid, reliable and comparable
- promote public confidence in the arrangements
Published: 19 November 2014
Updated: 2 February 2017
- Updated following withdrawal of our rules for adult literacy and numeracy qualifications
- Added a link to National Assessment framework.
- Updated to reflect withdrawal of requirements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)
- Updated to include documents published to support our new Regulated Qualifications Framework, and our criteria for determining whether a qualification is 'relevant' for the purposes of the Education and Skills Act 2008
- Added a link to the 'Regulatory Documents List'.
- First published.