From education to employment

A “Significant Change” In Regulation of Awarding Bodies

A new process that guarantees the accreditation of a range of new qualifications within five days has been introduced by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) working with the regulatory authorities for Northern Ireland (CCEA) and Wales (ACCAC).

The process, which was launched in May, represents “a significant change” in the way in which qualifications and awarding bodies are regulated, according to the QCA. Those awarding bodies that operate under the new system will face less regulatory intervention in the accreditation of their qualifications.

However, only those bodies that display vigorous arrangements for developing qualifications, demonstrate a reputation for good practice, and possess qualifications in the relevant subject or sector areas accredited since October 2003 will be able to sign up.

Strong Interest Expressed in New Process

Edexcel and NCFE have already been accepted to the five-day process, while another 20 bodies have expressed an interest. All recognized awarding bodies already have access to the standard 11-week process, which will continue to run alongside the new system. Both processes will become fully web-based by the end of the year.

Mary Curnock Cook, director of the Qualifications and Skills division at the QCA, believes the new process is an improvement on the 11-week system. “The new five-day accreditation process is more efficient and responsive to the needs of learners, providers, employers and awarding bodies. This is a positive step towards offering greater choice, flexibility and transparency and will enable qualifications to move through the system much more efficiently,” she said.

Transparency of Information

In an effort to improve transparency and make information regarding regulated qualifications more readily available, the names of awarding bodies operating under the system will appear on the regulatory authorities” websites. It is hoped this will act as an incentive for awarding bodies to apply for the five-day process as well as ensuring best practice standards.

While the five-day system will not apply to GCSEs, A Levels, ESOL, Free Standing Maths Units, Adult Literacy and Numeracy, International or Welsh Baccalaureate, Basic Skills, Key Skills and Entry Level qualifications, the regulatory authorities will consider extending the process to other qualifications in the future.

Brandon Cheevers

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