From education to employment

Ofqual strives for overhaul to youth education standards

Ofqual, regulators of qualifications and examinations in England and Northern Ireland, released its first ever three-year Corporate plan on Friday.

The in-depth programme aims to guarantee that all of the correct standards are being adhered to, in order to help serve the future’s generation better.

Chief regulator Glenyis Stacey said: “Our plan to improve qualifications will result in increased confidence in the exams system, and young people better prepared for their futures.”

Ofqual’s programme comes as some industry spectators express concern over the current A-level system.

John Wood, chairman of the Independent Schools Association, argues that by handing over the reins to academics, A-levels could soon just serve as a direct stepping stone for entry into universities. The struggle for power over the direction and purpose that A-levels should take is at a current high between the Government and academics.

Wood said: “It is absolutely right that syllabus development and the oversight of A-levels should not be the preserve of the exam boards alone.”

In order to ensure the confidence and trust that both Ofqual and Wood talk about in the current education system is achieved, there needs to be equal emphasis on the importance of vocational qualification and A-levels.

Ofqual’s corporate plan intends to show that our country appreciates the need for fair and just opportunities for today’s youth. Whether a school leaver aspires to be a plumber, a builder, a lawyer or a doctor, equal standards and opportunities should be in place for all.

The regulatory body has revealed that, in terms of the vocational side of FE, it will be concentrating on qualifications and credit framework, functional skills qualifications and qualifications for English for Speakers of Other Languages. With regards to A-levels, Ofqual will focus on government plans to engage higher education in the design process, the modular approach and controlling grade inflation to ensure fair outcomes.

In the face of change, Ofqual believes its three-year plan will be a positive step for the future of young people.

Stacey explained: “We are working in a time of significant change for qualifications. We are clear in our role. Where the Government decides to make changes we will continue to advise on the best way to implement these without undue risk to standards or delivery.”

Natasha Spencer

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