Understanding our rules

Find out about Ofqual's rules for the qualifications and assessments we regulate


Ofqual is England’s statutory regulator for:

  • qualifications
  • early years foundation stage profile and national curriculum assessments (which together we refer to as ‘national assessments’).

Using our powers under the Apprenticeships, Skills Children and Learning Act 2009, we have set a range of rules for regulated qualifications, as well as guidance which supports those rules.

We have also set out separate rules for national assessments.

This page will help you understand which of our rules and guidance apply to you, and to the qualifications and assessments you offer.

Rules and guidance for qualifications

For regulated qualifications, we have set a range of both general and qualification-specific rules:

  • general rules apply to all the qualifications and organisations we regulate. All regulated awarding organisations have to follow them.
  • qualification-specific rules apply to specific kinds of qualifications. Only the awarding organisations that offer (or want to offer) these qualifications have to follow them.

We have also published general and qualification-specific guidance designed to help awarding organisations comply with our rules. Again, qualification-specific guidance only applies to awarding organisations that offer (or want to offer) the relevant qualifications.

General rules and guidance

Qualification-specific rules and guidance

Rules and guidance for national assessments

Published 19 November 2014
Last updated 1 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect release of Ofqual Handbook
  2. We have added more information about the upcoming launch of a new, online format for our rules and guidance.
  3. Added new rules for Ofqual-regulated apprenticeship end-point assessments
  4. Updated following launch of beta version of Ofqual handbook.
  5. Updated following withdrawal of rules for key skills qualifications, and changes to qualifications covered by our specifications under section 96 of the Equality Act 2010
  6. Updated following withdrawal of our rules for adult literacy and numeracy qualifications
  7. Added a link to National Assessment framework.
  8. Updated to reflect withdrawal of requirements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)
  9. 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
  10. Added a link to the 'Regulatory Documents List'.
  11. First published.