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Understanding Ofqual’s rules

Find out about Ofqual’s rules for the qualifications and assessments we regulate


Ofqual is England’s statutory regulator for:

  • qualifications
  • early years foundation stage profile and national curriculum assessments (which together we refer to as ‘national assessments’).

We have set a range of rules for regulated qualifications, as well as guidance which supports those rules. We have also set out separate rules for national assessments.

This page will help you understand which of our rules and guidance apply to you, and to the qualifications and assessments you offer.

The Ofqual Handbook – rules and guidance for qualifications

For the qualifications we regulate, we have set a range of both general and qualification-specific rules and guidance, which collectively we refer to as the Ofqual Handbook.

General rules and guidance

These apply to all the qualifications and organisations we regulate. All regulated awarding organisations have to follow them.

Additional rules and guidance for specific qualifications

These apply to specific kinds of qualifications. Only the awarding organisations that offer (or want to offer) these qualifications have to follow them.

Ofqual Explains

Ofqual Explains is a series of videos about our regulatory framework which we launched in December 2018.

The videos, hosted on our Youtube channel, are designed to aid understanding and awareness of our rules and guidance, but do not form part of our statutory regulatory framework.

Rules and guidance for national assessments

Published 19 November 2014
Last updated 10 December 2018 + show all updates

  1. Added information about our new video series, Ofqual Explains
  2. Updated to reflect release of Ofqual Handbook
  3. We have added more information about the upcoming launch of a new, online format for our rules and guidance.
  4. Added new rules for Ofqual-regulated apprenticeship end-point assessments
  5. Updated following launch of beta version of Ofqual handbook.
  6. Updated following withdrawal of rules for key skills qualifications, and changes to qualifications covered by our specifications under section 96 of the Equality Act 2010
  7. Updated following withdrawal of our rules for adult literacy and numeracy qualifications
  8. Added a link to National Assessment framework.
  9. Updated to reflect withdrawal of requirements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)
  10. Updated to include documents published to support our new Regulated Qualifications Framework, and our criteria for determining whether a qualification is ‘relevant’ for the purposes of the Education and Skills Act 2008
  11. Added a link to the ‘Regulatory Documents List’.
  12. First published.

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