Three new rules are to be applied to English and maths QCF qualifications:

1 – Size

QCF English and maths qualifications will only be approved for funding if they are of the following size:

at entry and level 1 – 3 credits or more (Awards and Certificates)

at level 2 – 13 credits or more (Certificates)

This rule will streamline the number of qualifications we fund, retaining small Awards which are helpful to engage and support lower level English and maths and learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, but removing less meaningful very small Awards. It will also ensure that there are substantial qualifications available at level 2 and this should prevent learners simply collecting small qualifications without progression taking place.

It is important to note that the opportunity to undertake units of approved QCF English and maths qualifications remains available to all learners so that smaller steps of learning and achievement can continue.

2 – Recognition

QCF English and maths qualifications will only be approved for funding if the awarding organisation provides evidence of demand from 5 providers on our Register of Training Organisations who have a current contract to deliver. This will need to be in the form of letters of support. We will expect each provider to confirm demand for at least 50 publicly funded learners.

3 – Assessment

Qualifications at level 2 will be subject to awarding organisation set assessment and not internally assessed portfolios of evidence.

The rule will give us further assurance of the qualification’s fitness for purpose and enable better alignment of these qualifications with Functional Skills at level 2 and current GCSEs. This will also provide us with assurance around the comparability of quality and standards and help to refocus the offer as robust ‘stepping stones’ to established English and maths qualifications at level 2, particularly GCSE.

The new business rules will be confirmed in the updated version of our Technical Guidance for Awarding Organisations, which is due to be published in early June.

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