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Qualifications regulators consult on changes to rules

Changes proposed to the Conditions of Recognition in Northern Ireland, England and Wales

The three bodies responsible for regulating qualifications in, respectively, Northern Ireland (CCEA Regulation), England (Ofqual) and Wales (Qualifications Wales) have today (Friday 2 August 2019) launched a joint consultation on proposals to revise their respective Conditions of Recognition – the rules governing the qualifications and organisations each regulate.

The consultation responds to feedback gathered through a number of reviews recently undertaken, including Qualifications Wales’ review of its Standard Conditions of Recognition and Ofqual’s call for evidence on the availability of fee information.

Recognising that many of the awarding organisations (AOs) regulated are common to all three countries, and to minimise any burden on them, CCEA Regulation, Ofqual and Qualifications Wales have worked closely together to propose the same, or closely aligned, revisions to their respective Conditions in the vast majority of cases.

A key change proposed by all three regulators relates to the Conditions governing the qualification fee information awarding organisations must provide to purchasers. The regulators believe it is important that the prices charged for qualifications represent value for money, are transparent to all users, publicly accessible and clear to the purchasers of those qualifications, such as schools or colleges. They propose changes to strengthen their rules in this area.

Other proposals in the consultation include revisions to a range of Conditions, including those governing the role of the Responsible Officer, recognition of prior learning and issuing results.

The majority of the proposed changes are designed to improve the clarity and structure of their rules, make definitions easier to access and bring them up to date, for example in respect of data protection law, without changing the expectations placed on the organisations regulated.

The consultation includes a small number of proposals for revisions to the Conditions of just one or two regulators. These have been kept to a minimum and in most cases occur where policy or legislative contexts mean alignment is not possible or does not apply.

The consultation is open for 12 weeks, until 25 October 2019, and awarding organisations, professional bodies, education leaders, schools and colleges who operate across the three jurisdictions are encouraged to give their views to the consultation direct or at our event.

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