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If your organisation wants to offer regulated qualifications in Northern Ireland it must be recognised as being suitable to operate as an awarding organisation.

Regulated qualifications are published on the Register of Regulated Qualifications which assures users (learners, schools, colleges, etc) that your organisation has successfully completed independent checks with regards to integrity, governance, resources and competence.

The process of recognition is undertaken by:
- the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) for non-vocational qualifications - Ofqual for vocational qualifications


You’ll need to meet certain criteria, such as integrity and governance, in order to be recognised. You’ll be required to supply supporting documents with your application that show how you meet these criteria.

How to apply

Application forms are available on both the CCEA and Ofqual websites. You can use the same form for vocational or non-vocational qualifications - just indicate which body you want recognition from.

Completed application forms should be submitted to Ofqual, which will forward them on as appropriate.

No application fee is payable.

In order to stay recognised you’ll need to declare your compliance with the recognition criteria once a year.

Once you are recognised as an awarding organisation, you must also have your qualifications accredited.

An external qualification will qualify for accreditation if it is provided for learners who are:

  • attending grant-aided schools
  • under 19 years of age and in full time further education
  • over the age of 19