Statistics on vocational and other qualifications (excluding GCSEs, AS levels and A levels).

Documents

Vocational and Other Qualifications Quarterly: October to December 2020

Ref: Ofqual/21/6753/1MS Excel Spreadsheet, 506KB

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Background information for Vocational and Other Qualifications Quarterly: October to December 2020

Ref: Ofqual/21/6753/2HTML

Table of revisions

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 12.3KB

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Pre-release access list for Vocational and Other Qualifications Quarterly: October to December 2020

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Main trends for quarter 4 (October to December) 2020

  1. Many assessments were cancelled or delayed in 2020 due to the measures put in place in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The trends seen in this quarter may have been affected as a result.

  2. The number of certificates awarded in 2020 quarter 4 was just over 800,000 certificates, a decrease of 12% compared to 2019 quarter 4. Restrictions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may help explain some of this change. For example, there were a range of mitigations implemented across vocational and technical qualifications, depending on their primary purpose and in some cases carried on as normal if they were unaffected by the pandemic. The decrease in overall certifications seen in this quarter compared to the same quarter last year may be affected by the measures taken particularly if there was no alternative but to delay assessment based on a qualification signalling occupational competence or function as a licence to practice. The impact of centre closures and staff furlough is also likely to have affected the ability of awarding organisations to certificate as many learners as they would normally. However, this decrease may also reflect an overall trend in the decline of the number of certificates awarded in vocational qualifications since 2015.

  3. Quarter 4 2020 saw an increase in the number of certificates awarded for English for Speakers of Other Languages qualifications (all types), which was up 11,470, or 21% from Q4 2019. Most qualification types, however, saw a decrease this quarter compared to quarter 4 2019.

  4. There largest decreases in certificates issued in Q4 2020 were seen in Level 1 qualifications, (down 49,135, or 22% from Q4 2019), followed by Level 3 and Level 4 qualifications. The largest increases were seen in Entry Level qualifications (up 3,670, or 5% from Q4 2019), followed by Level 5 and Level 6 qualifications.

  5. There were notable decreases in the number of certificates awarded in quarter 4 this year compared to quarter 4 last year in most sector subject areas, with the largest decreases seen for Health, Public Services and Care, Preparation for Life and Work, and Arts, Media and Publishing. However, increases in number of certificates were seen in Science and Mathematics, Education and Training, and Business, Administration and Law.

  6. The qualification with the highest number of certificates in Q4 2020 was the TCL Entry Level Certificate in ESOL International Speaking and Listening, which had the second highest number of certificates in Q4 2019. This was followed by the QA Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work, which had the highest number of certificates in Q4 2019.

  7. The awarding organisation with the highest number of certificates issued in this quarter was City and Guilds, followed by NCFE and Pearson. Over the whole year, Pearson had the highest number of certificates issued, followed by City and Guilds and NCFE.

  8. In Q4 2020, City and Guilds saw a 28% decrease in the number of certificates awarded (down 36,300) compared to Q4 2019. Pearson saw a 4% decrease in the number of certificates compared to Q4 2019 and the number of certificates awarded by NCFE remained stable from Q4 2019.

Ofqual consulted on proposals for exceptional arrangements for VTQ grading and assessment in 2020, and published an Extraordinary regulatory framework (ERF) on 22 May 2020. The ERF put in place a framework to facilitate the issue of results in summer 2020 to learners taking vocational and technical qualifications in circumstances where normal assessments were disrupted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Following further consultation, Ofqual published the Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework on 12 October 2020. This framework follows on from the ERF by allowing awarding organisations to adapt their qualifications in 2020 and 2021 in recognition of the fact that, although assessments may take place after summer 2020, learners may have experienced disruption to teaching, learning and assessment because of the pandemic. This arrangement may affect the number of certificates awarded in quarter 4 2020.

Datasets

The dataset used to produce this release is available separately.

Statistics collection

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

User feedback

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Published 4 March 2021