Statistics on vocational and other qualifications (excluding GCSEs, AS and A levels, the Diploma and its components).


Vocational and other qualifications quarterly: April to June 2018

Ref: Ofqual/18/6421/1MS Excel Spreadsheet, 560KB

Background information: VQ quarterly April to June 2018

Ref: Ofqual/18/6421/2PDF, 466KB, 8 pages

Table of revisions

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 9.86KB

Pre-release access list



Main trends for quarter 2 2018

  1. 1.5 million certificates were awarded in 2018 Q2, an increase of 3.9% on the same quarter of 2017.
  2. The rise is mostly due to an increase in the number of certificates in Vocationally-Related Qualifications. This increase has been offset by the large decrease in the number of certificates in QCF Qualifications.
  3. The general declines in the number of certificates over 12 month periods may be caused by a tightening in the availability of funding. This is notable for Level 2 qualifications. Some of this decline has been offset by the large increase in the number of certificates in Level 3 qualifications. This change could be driven by changes in performance tables as Applied General qualifications (Level 3) grow in popularity.
  4. The decline in the number of certificates in Functional Skills is likely due to the changes in funding rules by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and revised guidance from DfE that post 16 students who have a grade D/grade 3 in English or maths must now be entered for GCSE resits rather than Functional Skills. In addition, colleges are also incentivised to enter students with grade E/grade 2 for GCSE English and maths as they gain more credit for distance travelled by improving a GCSE grade than for Functional Skills attainment.
  5. Large increases in the number of certificates were seen in Occupational Qualifications (164%) and Vocationally-Related Qualifications (121%). This is likely caused by awarding organisations re-assigning the qualification type of QCF qualifications to Occupational Qualifications or Vocationally-Related Qualification. Following the closure of the QCF unit bank and introduction of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), Ofqual decided that inclusion of the term ‘QCF’ in qualification titles after 31 December 2017 would be an indicator of non-compliance with Ofqual’s titling rules. As well as amending qualification titles, awarding organisations are therefore likely to be re-assigning the qualification type. A concession to the inclusion of the term “QCF” has been given to Applied General qualifications that have similar titles but differing assessment (pre-existing and newly introduced with 40% assessment) allowing differentiation between them.
  6. The sector subject area with a notable increase in the number of certificates was Leisure, Travel and Tourism.
  7. The sector subject areas with notable decreases in the number of certificates were Information and Communication Technology; Languages, Literature and Culture; and, Retail and Commercial Enterprise.
  8. The decline in the number of certificates in Information and Communication Technology is due to the sharp drop in the number of certificates in BCS Level 2 ECDL Certificate in IT Application Skills compared to Q2 in 2017, most likely due to its removal from performance tables. The decrease in certificates for this subject area is mitigated by an increase in certificates to several qualifications offered by The Learning Machine which have been included in performance tables.
  9. The qualification with the highest number of certificates this quarter was QA Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work (RQF), followed by Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Sport and TCL Entry Level Certificate in ESOL International - Speaking and Listening (Entry 3).
  10. A number of qualifications have high numbers of certificates this quarter, including new level 3 qualifications, which were not available to certificate in the same quarter in the previous year. Many of these are first aid qualifications. This is due to the First Aid Awarding Organisations Forum (FAAOF) review of the Emergency First Aid at Work qualification and that these should be re-levelled from Level 2 to Level 3 in England.

Geographical coverage

The data cover regulated qualifications in England.


The dataset used to produce this release are available separately.

Statistics collection

All our published vocational and other qualifications publications are available at a single collection page.

User feedback

We welcome your feedback on our publications. Should you have any comments on this statistical release and how to improve it to meet your needs please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page