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Frequently Asked Questions about the regulation of awarding bodies and qualifications in Wales.

The establishment of Qualifications Wales in 2015 brought about a number of changes for awarding bodies that we regulate.

While the transitional arrangements provided for by our legislation meant that the transition from regulation by Welsh Government to regulation by Qualifications Wales was largely straightforward, there are some differences. We are developing a regulatory strategy to take us forward over the coming years, but in the meantime we are keen to be as clear as possible about how we regulate and what this means for awarding bodies.   Over time we will develop a full set of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ so that all awarding bodies can see the answers to questions that are raised. To start off this process, the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) collated a number of questions from its members and we are happy to provide answers to these below. We will add to these as further questions arise: please direct any of these to enquiries@qualificationswales.org

Use of the Qualification Wales Logo on Certificates

  • Q - Can you advise what logo we should use on replacement/duplicate certificates for candidates who achieved full qualifications before Qualification Wales was established? Should we use the Qualifications Wales logo or should we retain a stock of certificates which use the Welsh Government logo for such purposes?

  • A - Where a replacement certificate is issued for a qualification that was awarded in Wales, prior to 21 September 2015, the Qualifications Wales logo may be used on the certificate providing that the awarding body is presently recognised by Qualifications Wales.

  • Q - Can we use the Qualifications Wales logo on unit certificates?

  • A - ‘Where unit certificates are awarded, you should use the Qualifications Wales logo on these certificates providing that the units are derived from qualifications for which you are recognised in Wales (that is, any qualifications that you award in Wales which you have not exempted from your recognition prior to 21 September 2015 or which you have subsequently surrendered, or which are have ‘degree’ in the title).

  • Q - When can we use the Qualifications Wales logo on certificates that are issued to learners outside of Wales, including those issued in international markets?

  • A - Qualifications Wales logos are to be used on certificates for any qualifications that are regulated by Qualifications Wales (and may be used on the certificates of that same qualification where it is awarded outside of Wales). 

  • Q Where can I find the rules about using logos on certificates?

  • A - Condition D9.1 includes specific certificate requirements for ‘Approved’ qualifications when they are awarded outside of Wales.

     

     

    Using regulators’ logos on certificates

Regulatory Action

  • Q - When will Qualifications Wales clarify its policy on imposing monetary fines on awarding bodies?

  • A - Until the Welsh Government has published regulations relating to the determination of the amount of monetary penalties [‘fines’], we are unable to impose them.  Planning for a consultation on this matter is underway. We will keep you informed of developments in this regard.  

  • Q - Which email address should an awarding body use to notify Qualifications Wales of an event?

  • A- Awarding bodies should email incidents@qualificationswales.org with notifications of incidents. 

  • Q - If an awarding body offers a qualification that is regulated by Qualifications Wales to learners in other countries (England, as well as international regions), will Qualifications Wales take regulatory action if a problem arises in any of those countries? 

  • A - Qualifications Wales may only take action in respect of the award of qualifications to learners in Wales.   However, if a problem that arises in other nations brings about, or is likely to bring about, an ‘adverse effect’ on learners taking the qualification in Wales then we could require an awarding body to take action.  For example, if a secure question paper – due to be taken by learners in Wales - was ‘leaked’ in another country, then we could require an awarding body to take action to ensure that learners in Wales took a secure paper.   However, if a learner in another country wished to complain that the qualification, taken outside Wales, was wrongly graded, then we would not have a responsibility to meet the needs of that learner.  If the matter was brought to our attention and gave us concerns that learners in Wales were at risk of having been wrongly graded then, again, we could take action.

IT systems/administration

  • Q - Currently both Ofqual's Register and DAQW contain the suffix '(QCF)' in the qualification titles.   Ofqual is planning to provide a mechanism in the new AO Portal that will provide AOs with a mechanism to easily ‘bulk remove’ this suffix. Will DAQW (or the new QiW) pull these revised titles from the Portal?   If not, will Qualifications Wales put in place a mechanism to either remove the suffix themselves, or enable awarding bodies to change the qualification titles with minimal resource impact?

  • A – Qualifications Wales will establish a mechanism for removing the QCF suffix from titles – there will be no expectation that Awarding Bodies amend the qualification titles.

Regulatory issues

  • Q - Will Qualifications Wales continue to require the QCF requirements to be met?

  • A - Qualifications Wales has removed the requirements for the Qualifications and Credit framework and the ‘Operating rules for using the term ‘NVQ’ in a QCF qualification title August 2008’. The Conditions of Recognition have been updated to incorporate changes to qualification titling, qualification size, qualification level, qualification specifications, credit and recognition of prior learning.

     

  • Q - Will Qualifications Wales adopt the same approaches to TQT and credit that Ofqual has recently introduced?  

  • A. Qualifications Wales will introduce the concept of Total Qualification Time in order to ensure consistency between qualification data in Wales and in England and to reduce the regulatory burden on awarding bodies. Condition E7.3 has been expanded to introduce a requirement to record and provide evidence for the determination of Total Qualification Time, similar to the equivalent requirement made by Ofqual.

 

  • Q - Will the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) be adopted in Wales?

  • A – Qualifications Wales will not adopt the terminology of the Regulated Qualifications Framework and will continue to align to the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales. Qualifications Wales has removed the requirements for the Qualifications and Credit framework and the ‘Operating rules for using the term ‘NVQ’ in a QCF qualification title August 2008’. The Conditions of Recognition have been updated to incorporate changes to qualification titling, qualification size, qualification level, qualification specifications, credit and recognition of prior learning. 

 

  • Q - Will Qualifications Wales require vocational qualifications it regulates to be based solely on NOS?

  • A - While Qualifications Wales recognises the value of National Occupational Standards in the design of vocational qualifications we do not, at present, have any designation or approval criteria for qualifications that require them to be based on NOS. Our strategy for the review and reform of vocational qualifications focuses on a programme of Sector Reviews.   Following each Sector Review, we may consider whether to develop approval or designation criteria for qualifications in that sector: these may include a requirement to relate to NOS where they exist but a separate decision will be made in each case. In the meantime, Awarding Bodies may continue to submit vocational qualifications for designation where they meet the criteria for designation which may be found here: http://qualificationswales.org/media/1642/qiw-guidance-awarding-bodies-english.pdf

     

  • Q - What type of evidence of support for a qualification will Qualifications Wales require Awarding Bodies to provide?

  • A – Please refer to the quick guide on creating and submitting a single qualification. Annex 3 of this guide outlines the evidence that Qualifications Wales requires to support a qualification: http://qualificationswales.org/media/1642/qiw-guidance-awarding-bodies-english.pdf

     

  • Q - Will Qualifications Wales operate a shared unit bank or will Awarding Bodies be required to develop and own their units as per the new system operated by Ofqual?

  • A - There is no intention for Qualifications Wales to hold a shared unit bank.

 

  • Q - Does Qualifications Wales intend to work with other regulators?

  • A - We are reviewing the ways in which we may work appropriately with other qualifications regulators and, where appropriate, will publish any agreements between us. We have already agreed and published a memorandum of understanding with Ofqual. Qualifications Wales only has responsibility in relation to qualifications that are awarded to learners who have taken the majority of their assessment in Wales.

     

  • Q - Where a centre offers SQA qualifications and Qualifications Wales recognised qualifications, has there been any discussion between the regulators about how they might share information and data to avoid over-burdening a centre

  • A - We are reviewing the ways in which we may work appropriately with other qualification regulators in order to fulfil our obligation to be proportionate in our work.  Sharing information effectively is one way in which we can fulfil that obligation.

General Conditions

  • Q - Can you clarify how Qualifications Wales interprets Condition A1.3? Will this be applied at an awarding body level or on an individual qualification basis?

  • A - Qualifications Wales will interpret condition A1.3 at an awarding body level, not on an individual qualification basis.

Funding

  • Q - Will a separate funding application be required when developing Qualifications Wales regulated provision, or will the new QiW system talk directly to funding agencies?

  • A - Qualifications that we have approved or designated are eligible for use on publicly funded programmes of learning for learners under the age of 19. These qualifications are listed on QiW. The Welsh Government or other funding agencies may impose further funding requirements or constraints: these will not be indicated on QiW.

Sectoral Reviews of Vocational Qualifications

  • Q- Which sectors will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales using the sectoral review approach

  • A -Sectoral Review is the key method by which we are approaching the review and reform of vocational qualifications in Wales.  The first sector being considered is Health and Social Care.  The next sectors – to be commenced later in 2016 – will be Construction and IT.  We are liaising with Welsh Government as we consider the sequencing of future sector reviews and aim to publish later this year, a forward look and provisional timescale for subsequent sector reviews.  We will keep you informed.