Awarding bodies/QCF

What is a qualification?

A qualification gives a reliable indication of someone’s knowledge, skills or understanding and is only awarded to someone who has demonstrated a specified level of attainment awards a certificate naming the qualification to anyone who completes it successfully
Training courses are not deemed to be qualifications as such because they only certify that someone has attended a course. Training courses usually don’t make any assessments or carry out examinations about someone’s knowledge, skills or understanding. Therefore, training courses are not generally “regulated” as it is not a qualification.
A regulated qualification is any qualification that is offered that is ‘recognised’.
What does ‘recognised’ mean?
If a qualification is to be regulated, the entity has to apply to become a recognised awarding organisation – an Ofqual-approved provider – of those qualifications.


In March 2015 Ofqual published a consultation about the rules and guidance that were proposed to put in place when the withdrawal the Regulatory Arrangements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (the QCF rules) would take place.
The consultation set out the draft Conditions, requirements, guidance and criteria which would apply to all qualifications, general and vocational, when the QCF rules are withdrawn.
Ofqual reviewed the responses to the consultation and the decisions made by Ofqual have been informed by those responses. Subsequently, Ofqual have decided to introduce a simple, descriptive framework, the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) to replace the QCF (and the NQF – National Qualifications Framework). The RQF will help people understand better how qualifications relate to each other, by setting consistent measures of size (how long, typically, a qualification takes to study and be assessed for) and level of difficulty. The RQF will include all qualifications that Ofqual regulates. Unlike the QCF, it does not set qualification design rules. The RQF was introduced in 2017.


This is the current position in 2021:

In the UK, the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is the “credit” transfer system which has replaced the old National Qualification Framework (NQF). It recognises qualifications and units by awarding credits. And since each unit has a credit value and the credits can be transferred, the system gives the learners the ability to get qualifications at their own pace. The QCF is jointly regulated by the England’s regulator Ofqual, Wales’ DCELLSand Northern Ireland’s CCEA.

There are 120 of these Awarding Bodies listed at the National Database of Accredited Qualifications. Some specialise in specific subjects. Others specialise in types of qualifications, such as ‘A’ levels and NVQs (National Vocation Qualifications).

An Awarding Body does not always provide courses that lead to a qualification. Often an Awarding Body will provide an approval process for independent training providers who, if they meet the criteria, are able to award qualifications that are accredited by that Awarding Body.

A qualification from an Awarding Body is always clearly identified as being at one of 9 Levels. These begin with ‘Entry Level’ and then run from Level One through to Level Eight. They have approximate equivalence with Academic Qualifications. Level Five is commensurate with a Bachelors degree and Level Eight is equivalent to a Doctorate degree.

Click on the logo’s to view thew websites of our two primary awarding bodies that\ we work with,…..