Using Units & Qualifications
Once your organisation has achieved centre recognition you will be able to work with a member of the Curriculum Development team to put together a 'framework' or package of units that you can offer to your learners. Qualifications and/or units can be selected from sectors approved as part of the centre recognition process.
Centres can use either existing units or submit new units for approval to be added to their framework. Agored Cymru encourages centres to look for suitable existing units before submitting new units.
Addition of existing units
Existing units can now be added to frameworks via the Agored Cymru website. A new 'Unit Basket' function has been developed to allow centres to create a collection of units for addition to frameworks. You can add, view, save and remove units from your unit basket as appropriate before submitting to Agored Cymru. When the units have been approved a confirmation of approval for the units will be sent.
Please follow link below for instructions on how to use the unit basket
Agored Cymru will no longer accept any addition forms for existing units.
Please note that units which are part of an Agored Cymru Qualification, can be awarded as “free standing” units. If the units are delivered on a ‘free standing basis’ they will count towards a learner achieving a qualification. For this reason, our systems add the whole qualification to your framework to allow learners to achieve the full qualification if all the required units have been awarded..
If you add a unit which is part of a QCF qualification, our system will alert you to this fact, and inform you of the qualification(s) involved.
Adding qualifications to your framework is a very simple process click here for details.
Submitting a new unit
If you need to write new units you should follow the guidelines and submit the unit on the template provided. Your development contact will be able to help you. Contact an Agored Cymru Curriculum Development Officer Submitting a new unit for approval (flow chart for unit approval http://www.agored.org.uk/getfile.aspx?fileid=386)
There are a number of key stages that should be followed when considering writing and submitting a new unit for approval:
- Establish that there is a need for a new unit to be written. This will entail a detailed search of the Agored Cymru unit database to confirm that a suitable unit does not already exist. It is important to talk to the Business Development team so that they can also search other databases to see if your requirements can be met by existing provision. A new unit will not be accepted by Agored Cymru if it is similar or has a large overlap with an existing unit. A detailed rationale of the need for a new unit is part of the submission documentation to Agored Cymru.(Unit Template Form http://www.agored.org.uk/getfile.aspx?fileid=378)
- Check whether you have approval for the subject area and level of unit to be developed.
- Identify whether the unit is required in Welsh, English or Welsh and English.
- Write new units using the correct format and language, following the guidelines for writing credit-based units issued in documentation published by QCA, WAG and CEA. (QCF unit writing guidance http://www.agored.org.uk/getfile.aspx?fileid=368). Interactive flowchart for writing units (http://www.qcda.gov.uk/resources/qcf_writing_interactive/QCFinteractive1.html)
- Map units to relevant standards e.g. National Occupational Standards, Language standards etc. (www.ukstandards.org.uk)
- Internally verify proposed new units prior to submission to Agored Cymru. This will ensure that units are well constructed and correctly written and confirm that it fulfils a specific need within the centre.
- Submit new units using the correct and current submission form available on the Agored Cymru website. (Unit Template Form http://www.agored.org.uk/getfile.aspx?fileid=378)
Sending a new unit for approval
New unit submissions are completed using the document above and submitted via e-mail to Agored Cymru. On receipt of the submission document an initial scrutiny, focusing on format/construction will be carried out by business team personnel to ensure that they meet the requirements detailed in the Regulatory Authority guidance. If the requirements are met the submission date is logged and the unit(s) are sent for consideration by specialist readers. If the requirements, particularly those related to compliance with unit writing guidelines are not met, the unit will be returned to you for correction and re-submission.
Approval of new units
The new unit is then forwarded to two specialist readers, who will have expertise in a specific subject / sector, or where applicable, in a certain type of provision e.g. Basic Skills or Independent Living Skills. Specialist readers are primarily drawn from experienced external verifiers or quality reviewers, however it is occasionally necessary to find subject specialist from outside this group.
Specialist readers are required to make comments and recommendations regarding the unit content, level, credit value and title as well as the prescribed or optional assessment methods. Guidance on unit construction is given to specialist readers.
Where unit content relates to specific vocational sectors, guidance will be sought from the relevant Sector Skills Council. In some cases there are 'approval/governance' panels run to confirm the vocational content of the unit e.g. NLIAH governance panel. The Centre's mapping to relevant standards such as National Occupational Standards will be checked for accuracy and relevance.
Comments made by specialist readers, which may either be in the form of recommendations or conditions, are reviewed by quality team personnel.
Notification specialist reader comments
If all comments regarding the new unit are positive and both specialist readers recommend that the unit is approved 'as is', it is, subject to final scrutiny by a member of the Business Development team and then allocated a code prior to you being notified of its approval.
If recommendations and / or conditions are made by one or both of the readers these are forwarded to you for consideration. Usually recommendations or conditions made by readers are accepted, but this is an iterative process where you can explain why comments may be inappropriate. The final decision on any 'negotiation' is made by Agored Cymru. Similarly, the unit is subject to final scrutiny by the Business Development team before it is allocated a code and the centre is notified of its approval. New units are usually approved for a period of 5 years, or the life of the relevant National Occupational Standards after which their content will be reviewed.
If readers have identified serious failures with the specialist content of the unit it is referred back for further work. Responses will be sent to you within 30 working days of receipt of a correctly prepared submission.
Approved units are then published on the Agored Cymru Unit Library and if appropriate submitted for inclusion on CQFW.
Basic Skills - HD2, HD3 & HD4
Employability Skills – HC4, HC6
Welsh Language provision - FN357
ESOL - FN22
Education for sustainable development and global citizenship (ESDGC) - EA62
Health, Social Care & Child Care
Charges will also be waived where a centre can demonstrate a clear link between the proposed new units and regional priorities/targets. Please contact your Business Development Officer to discuss this further.
Please note no charge will be made for new units submitted for inclusion in Access to HE pathways.