What is the QCF?
What is the QCF?
The Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) was introduced on 1 January 2011. It is a framework recognising the achievement of learners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The framework is regulated by the Welsh Government, working in collaboration with Ofqual and CCEA.
Learners’ achievement is measured in units of credit and in qualifications, which are designed to be flexible and transferrable, and allow attainment in small steps, within and across awarding organisations. Some QCF qualifications will be offered by more than one awarding organisation and some units of credit may appear in more than one qualification
All QCF units and qualifications are given a level (Entry to Level 8) to reflect the degree of difficulty, the complexity of the application and the amount of autonomy required to achieve them
What do QCF qualifications look like?
All QCF qualifications are made up of units. The rules of combination for each qualification set out the units the learner must achieve in order to complete the full qualification.
Qualification titles all follow a common pattern that includes the level, size and subject as well as the name of the Awarding Organisation offering the qualification e.g Agored Cymru Level 2 Emergency First Aid at Work (QCF).
There are three sizes of qualifications available in the QCF:
- Award (1 – 12 credits)
- Certificate (13 – 36 credits)
- Diploma (37+ credits)
Learners achieving units from a qualification but not completing the rules of combination will receive a credit transcript as a record of their achievement, allowing them to complete the qualification later if appropriate.
How are QCF qualifications developed?
Qualification development is monitored by the regulator(s) and must comply with their requirements.
All proposals for qualifications must be supported by the proof of need/demand.This can come from a range of organisations such as:
- sector skills councils (sector qualification strategies or action plans)
- external bodies e.g. Colegau Cymru, NTFW, WCVA etc
- professional bodies
- Welsh Government
- qualification/unit review process
Proof of need must be linked to national/regional priorities. These are a crucial part of the qualification development process.
Awarding organisations must also undertake research to identify
- potential learner numbers
- any existing QCF units that could be used in the development
- that there is no replication/duplication of existing qualifications.
Please remember that this process only applies to the development of QCF qualifications. If your centre wishes to develop a Quality Assured Lifelong Learning (QALL) unit please follow the normal process for unit development.
For further information please contact – Rachel Mooney, Senior Manager Qualification Development.
Can more than one awarding organisation offer the same qualification?
Yes. Where qualifications constitute a recognised licence to practice, for example, it is expected that several awarding organisations will offer exactly the same qualification. The main part of the title, rules of combination and units for these qualifications will be exactly the same, but assessment methods and charges may differ.
Learners can achieve QCF units with a range of different organisations/centres
, and these can be accumulated to meet the rules of combination for qualifications.
Where can I find details of all the QCF qualifications available?
The Ofqual register of qualificationsallows you to search for:
- units within qualifications (don’t forget some units may appear in a number of different qualifications)
- awarding organisations offering particular qualifications.
How long is a QCF qualification available for a centre to offer?
Every QCF qualification has a review date which is identified when it is submitted. Qualifications must be reviewed by the identified date to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of learners and employers. Timescales for review dates will vary according to the subject/content of the qualifications. All qualification review dates are published on the Agored Cymru website. The review is a collaborative process involving awarding organisation(s), representatives from centres who have offered the qualifications, and employers and organisations involved in the development of the qualification. The review can recommend one of the following actions:
- to extend the qualification
- to amend and extend the qualification
- to expire/withdraw the qualification.
If the decision is taken to expire/withdraw the qualification, dates for last registration and last award will be identified and circulated to centres, allowing adequate time for curriculum planning.
Where can I find a full list of Agored Cymru QCF qualifications?
How do I add an Agored Cymru QCF qualification to my framework?
Adding qualifications to your framework is a very simple process click herefor details.
Do I have to do anything different when offering a QCF qualification?
The main difference between offering Agored Cymru units and qualifications is the requirement to follow the rules of combination. The rules of combination may include mandatory and optional units. In some qualifications there is a requirement to achieve a number of credits from different groups, in others there are mandatory units that must be achieved.
Some qualifications have been approved for specific age groups or have assessor/assessment requirements.
This information is clearly set out in the qualification guide provided for each qualification, which should be examined carefully as part of the course planning process. Please make sure that all staff involved in the delivery of an Agored Cymru qualification use the current qualification guide taken from the website, as information may have been updated.
If you have any questions/concerns about the rules of combination you should contact your External Verifier or a Business Development Officer.
Units from QCF qualifications can also be delivered, assessed and certificated independently, for example as part of a CPD package for employees.
What are the quality assurance requirements for Agored Cymru QCF qualifications?
Agored Cymru policies and procedures apply to ALL provision. To view policies and procedures please consult the Centre Handbook. There may be some additional quality assurance requirements for individual qualifications, these will be clearly indicated in the qualification guide.
How can I find out which QCF qualifications are eligible for public funding in Wales?
All vocational qualifications eligible for public funding are included on the Database of Approved Qualifications in Wales (DAQW)
What is the difference between a unit in a QCF qualification and a unit that is on the Quality Assured Lifelong Learning (QALL) pillar of CQFW?
All units approved by Agored Cymru must meet the same standards. This means that you can be confident that any unit you offer meets the standards set by regulators regardless of whether it is in a QCF qualification or on the QALL pillar of CQFW.
Units included in the QALL pillar are not combined into qualifications or rules of combination. They are assessed independently. They are developed for a range of reasons, for example:
- to augment or underpin QCF qualifications and units
- to meet the requirements of new roles and activities
- for bespoke provision that has been developed collaboratively between an organisation and an awarding organisation
- commissioned by a national organisation in Wales, such as the Care Council for Wales.
New QALL units are scrutinised to make sure they comply with regulatory standards and are put forward by awarding organisations for inclusion on the CQFW.
Quality assurance processes validate learners’ achievements on the QALL pillar in exactly the same way as the QCF pillar, to ensure that credit is awarded fairly.
What are the benefits of QALL provision?
The benefits of QALL provision are that it provides:
- a way of measuring inherent or acquired skills in the workforce, or in adults who aspire to return to the workforce;
- a way for new learners, or learners lacking confidence in their own ability, to acquire recognition for their capacity to learn, thus providing a confidence boosting route into further learning, training or qualifications;
- a way of reducing the duplication and cost of mandatory training. By assessing the knowledge and skills acquired, there is a reduction in the need to repeat training, a cost saving for employers, and evidence of transferable skills for employees;
- a way of giving value to training for employees and encouraging a more positive attitude to training, where training may not have been valued, or may have been resented as time away from work;
- a mechanism for assessing the impact and cost effectiveness of training on production or performance by the team leader, line managers or supervisors;
- a way of meeting employers’ specific training needs, while giving the employee recognition for the training and promoting progression to further training and / or qualifications;
- a tool for workforce development, to assess the effectiveness of training and CPD which provides evidence for appraisals and the grading of posts;
- formal recognition for the diversity and quality of learning and training provided by the third sector – museums, housing associations, libraries, TUC, archives etc;
- recognition, choice and progression opportunities for learners who wish to progress professionally or apply to Higher Education;
- a method for developing knowledge and competence against Wales-specific standards and legislation
- the development of objective standards for Wales for evolving or blended roles.
Benefits of QALL – taken from NIACE DC TOOLKIT 2011
Where can I find out more about CQFW and QCF?