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
Our General Conditions of Recognition set out the main rules all awarding organisations must follow. They are supported by more the detailed rules and guidance in the following 5 documents:
- Additional Certificate Requirements - rules about information which must be included on qualification certificates
- Logo Requirements - rules about the use of the Ofqual logo
- 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)
- Guidance to the General Conditions of Recognition - guidance to help awarding organisations understand how to comply with our rules
The Ofqual Handbook
On 12 October 2017, we published a preview version of the Ofqual handbook, a new online resource that includes all of our general requirements and guidance. We are trialling this new format until the end of the year, and encourage everyone to use it, and provide feedback on it.
We have set additional, qualification-specific, rules for the following qualifications:
- 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)
- functional skills qualifications
- English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualifications
- project qualifications
Some of our rules are set out in formal documents we call ‘Regulatory Documents’. All current Regulatory Documents are set out in our Regulatory Documents List.
Rules about adjustments to assessments for disabled people
All of these qualifications must also comply with rules we set about adjustments to assessments for disabled people. These rules, which we set using our powers under the Equality Act 2010, also apply to the following qualifications:
- Cambridge international certificates
- Cambridge pre-university qualifications
- entry-level certificates in GCSE subjects
- free-standing mathematics qualifications
- international baccalaureate diplomas
- principal learning qualifications
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: 12 October 2017
- Updated following launch of beta version of Ofqual handbook.
- 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
- 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.