Oct 01

Goodbye QCF, hello RQF

- posted by Simon Linard on

The Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) came to a close yesterday (30.9.15). Today the new RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework) starts.

Here's what OFQUAL say:-

 ‘Removing the QCF rules will allow AOs to design qualifications that meet the needs of those who use them and, where certain elements of design are no longer prescribed, enable us more clearly to hold awarding organisations to account for the choices they make.  A new qualifications framework will be one way to help employers, higher education institutions, funding bodies, students and other users to navigate their way through the range of qualifications available and make informed choices’.

It only seems like a short time ago that I was going to the consultation for the QCF (Qualification and Credit Framework), attending briefing events and taking part in training programmes to relay the big changes from the NQF to the QCF. 

The QCF has had its critics, I did see the benefit and haven't had too many issues over the past seven years. This change is now in place (1st October) and we will see some major changes to the way qualifications are regulated and developed after Ofqual announced the withdrawal of rules governing the QCF. 

The QCF rules guided Awarding Organisations (AOs) when they were designing and developing qualifications by setting out the criteria and guidelines that must be met and followed to ensure those qualifications were fit for purpose, a genuine benefit to learners and could be accepted onto the QCF.

Most of the changes will have a greater impact on AOs. Providers, learners and employers will have to adapted to the changes as they get rolled out. This could mainly be terminology there shouldn't be much of a change to the way qualifications are offered. 

So why the change? - Since its introduction in 2008, there have been some concerns that the QCF did not always meet the needs of employers and learners, and that it created a system that encouraged formulaic, generic and ‘one size fits all’ qualifications.

What next? - The replacement for the QCF will be the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), which will begin to be implemented from summer 2015.  Among its many intentions, the RQF has one basic aim that Ofqual believes will give it an advantage over the QCF – simplicity for employers and learners.

Rather than set out guidelines on how AOs should design qualifications in order to be recognised, the RQF will simply describe the qualifications that are available.

How the RQF will work? - Although the RQF will not impose design rules on AOs, that is not to say there will be no structure and no requirements.  There will be.

Each qualification will be required to have a level and size, although qualifications that already have an appropriate level will not have to change.  There will also be a new set of level descriptors – divided into knowledge and skills categories only and ranging from Entry 1 to Level 8 – that point to what a learner will be expected to achieve.

There will be a greater emphasis on prior learning, making it simpler for this to be taken into account when starting a qualification, improving efficiency and minimising unnecessary rework. A significant change is in how the size of qualifications will be measured, with Ofqual stating that all qualifications will have a size, expressed in terms of total qualification time (TQT) and where appropriate guided learning hours (GLH).