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National Qualifications (The QCF)

The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is a national framework regulated by the English, Northern Irish and Welsh regulators (Ofqual, CCEA and DfES). It is made up of units of assessment, with an appropriate credit value. IQ is a nationally regulated Awarding Organisation and can combine these units of assessment into qualifications on the QCF, for its centres to offer.

The framework goes from entry level to level 8 signifying the different educational levels of difficulty and each unit has a credit value indicating its notional hours of learning (ie 1 credit equals 10 hours of learning). The units can be made up into 3 sizes of qualification; an Award, a Certificate or Diploma.

  • The Award is equal to a credit value of between 1 to 12 credits,
  • the Certificate is equal to a credit value of between 13 to 36 credits and
  • the Diploma is equal to a credit value of 37 credits and above.

IQ names its qualifications using the educational level and the QCF size requirements, for example:

The QCF credit framework and this naming convention allows for learner comparability, transferability and progression. All QCF units and qualifications link back to the National Occupational Standards as set by the Sector Skills Council, ensuring the sector is developing appropriate, skilled and required learners.

QCF qualifications may be eligible for public funding, but this does not mean they will be funded - such decisions depend on Government education and skills policy.