Exams body publish revised rules for external qualifications

The Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment (CCEA), in partnership with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and ACCAC in Wales, has published revised arrangements for the regulation of qualifications.

The statutory regulation of external qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland sets out clear principles for regulation, and a revised National Qualifications Framework and regulatory criteria for the accreditation of qualifications.

The revised regulations increase the number of levels in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) from six to nine (Entry level to level 8). Entry level and levels 1, 2 and 3 remain unchanged. Levels 4 to 8 have been aligned with the five levels of the Qualification Assurance Agency’s (QAA) framework for higher education, which will help progression across the two frameworks and improve alignment with the Scottish and Irish frameworks.

Commenting on the changes, Gavin Boyd, Chief Executive of CCEA, said: “We are committed to effective and robust regulation that is clear, and responsive to the needs of learners.

"The revised National Qualifications Framework will sweep away the artificial distinctions made between ‘general’, ‘vocationally related’ and ‘occupational’ qualifications. From now on the regulatory authorities will focus on exactly what level of knowledge and skills a particular qualification represents, and the opportunities for progression it opens up, regardless of how and where it is delivered, promoting access, motivation and achievement in education and training.”

The revised regulations were subject to a full public consultation across England, Wales and Northern Ireland that ended in November 2003.

The regulations come into effect on 1 September 2004.


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