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An introduction to Ofqual Simon Perks – Policy Manager

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Presentation on theme: "An introduction to Ofqual Simon Perks – Policy Manager"— Presentation transcript:

1 An introduction to Ofqual Simon Perks – Policy Manager

2 Outline Role of Ofqual –Legal basis –What we regulate Education and qualifications in England –Education context –Awarding Organisations –Qualifications Market –Qualification Content Regulating Awarding Organisations and their Qualifications –Regulatory model –Risk Based Approach –Taking Regulatory Action

3 Role of Ofqual

4 What is Ofqual? Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation Set up by the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 Regulate within a statutory framework

5 What does Ofqual regulate? Qualifications in England taken at school and by adults, but not higher education qualifications Vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage Assessments in England

6 Ofquals statutory objectives The Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009: The qualifications standards objective The assessments standards objective The public confidence objective The awareness objective The efficiency objective The Education Act 2011: Drafted and implemented by the current government Designed to give us more powers and make our existing ones easier to use Allows us to be tougher in protecting the standards of qualifications and confidence in them – including issuing fines if things go wrong

7 Why do we need to Regulate? We want: Students, parents, teachers and employers to be confident that qualifications and assessments are appropriate and of a high quality Integrity and efficiency across the qualifications system

8 Education and qualifications in the UK

9 Education and qualifications in England Education in England –We have compulsory education to 16 and high participation to age 18 –New legislation is being introduced to raise the participation age. Compulsory participation in education, training or work up to 18 soon –Participation in higher education has climbed rapidly in the last 10 years. By age 30 around 45% –Universities are autonomous organisations who decide their own entrance requirements, but commonly express their entry requirements in terms of qualifications needed. –Adult Education is less structured but uses Further Education Colleges and private training providers as well as work based learning programmes There is a market in qualifications not a state monopoly –Qualifications are designed, developed and awarded by regulated Awarding Organisations. They are a mixture of private companies, charities (some organisations have evolved from universities) and sector specialist organisations. Many operate internationally. –Schools, colleges and training providers pay awarding organisations for registrations on qualifications

10 The role of Awarding Organisations Ofqual itself doesnt award qualifications Schools and colleges might award attendance certificates for short courses But the vast majority of recognised qualifications that learners achieve are issued by awarding organisations, separate and distinct from their school, college of training provider About 15 million certificates issued annually (5 million GCSE, 2 million A level, majority of rest Vocational) Ofqual Awarding Organisation 1 Awarding Organisation 2 Awarding Organisation 3 School 1School 2College 1 Training Provider 1 Learners

11 Qualifications market in the UK Compared to other countries there is generally less direct government control, resulting in greater diversity in qualifications and more choices to be made by schools and students –There is no universal end of school examination run by the government –But there are some nationally defined qualifications with an assumption that students will work towards GCSEs at 16, A Levels at 18 –Schools and students have choices on the subjects they study and which awarding organisations qualification to work towards in those subjects. –There can be multiple awarding organisations offering the same qualification (for example five awarding organisations offer GCSE English to 16 year olds, each with slightly different syllabuses). –Different Vocational qualifications find favour in specific sectors –Because qualifications are awarded independently from schools, colleges and training providers they support mobility and have national portability –A key part of the regulators role is to secure the standards of qualifications

12 So who decides the content of a qualification? For qualifications that are the same across Awarding Organisations, there are qualifications criteria that set out the design and content of the qualification: –GCSEs –A levels –Functional skills For other qualifications unique to individual Awarding Organisations they determine the design and content with reference to relevant Users of the qualification: –Employers and industry bodies –Universities and other education providers –Licensing authorities Where qualifications are similar but not identical, we expect Awarding Organisations to be clear about what they offering And qualifications frameworks can help users compare and contrast

13 Comparing qualifications Ofqual uses owns the qualifications framework overseeing levels and titling requirements across regulated qualifications

14 Regulating Awarding Organisations and their Qualifications

15 Our Regulatory Approach Control Entry –Organisations »Published Recognition Conditions; high expectations –Qualifications »Accreditation; a detailed check against requirements (not all qualifications, targeted plus sample) On-going Assurance –Organisations »Self assessment, annual compliance statement (Board level) »Monitoring visits –Qualifications »Published requirements (conditions and criteria) »Monitor awarding processes code of practice and some qualifications outcomes »Track success (or not) of each organisation at accreditation Manage Exit –Organisations »Surrender of recognition »Completing or Handing off of learners/qualifications –Qualifications »Managing the withdrawal of a qualification »Operational and Certification end dates

16 Regulating awarding organisations We recognise awarding organisations –Applicant organisations have to meet our Criteria for Recognition –Once recognised they have to meet our General Conditions of Recognition (regulations) on an on-going basis Similar to licensing but recognition is voluntary –Awarding organisations can operate without Ofqual recognition –But qualifications from regulated organisations have access to public funding and Ofqual checks give greater assurance to users

17 General Conditions of Recognition We set General Conditions of Recognition which all awarding organisations must meet The General Conditions of Recognition –Set the outcomes we expect awarding organisations to achieve –Cover awarding organisation requirements (governance and behaviours) and qualification requirements (design, development, delivery and awarding) –Puts the accountability for delivery with the awarding organisations not Ofqual The General Conditions of Recognition do not: –prescribe the processes awarding organisations must have –set curriculum expectations –set assessment methodologies

18 Risk based monitoring Checking awarding organisations are meeting our regulations We target resources where it is most needed We monitoring on the basis of risk: –There is a high likelihood of something going wrong –There is a high impact if something did go wrong We monitor awarding organisations whole though visits/audits and the standards of the qualifications they deliver

19 Qualifications Monitoring To ensure that standards are maintained and qualifications are fit for purpose, we carry out a risk-based programme to monitor qualifications across awarding organisations. Scrutiny Check and confirm that awarding organisations are safely delivering qualifications. This can involve looking closely at new qualifications or monitoring the delivery of qualifications by the awarding organisations as they are being carried out. End to end reviews – from question paper setting to awarding. Comparability This also involves looking closely at qualifications, evaluating assessment practices and comparing student work, across particular sets of qualifications. Cross sectional reviews.

20 Taking Regulatory Action When awarding organisations dont meet our Conditions we may: –ask them to address the issue and monitor its progress in doing so –publish evidence that Conditions are not being complied with –giving a direction (enforceable by the courts of law) –place a cap on the fees they can charge for their qualifications –fine the awarding organisations –withdraw their recognition

21 Working with others

22 Contact us If you would like more information Simon Perks – (0044) Policy Manager – June Marshall – (0044) Stakeholder Manager -

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