QCF ‘needs fixing, not ditching’

Ofqual has been urged not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” after its boss hinted the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) could be scrapped.

Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) chief executive Stephen Wright said he would like to see the brand and good elements of the QCF retained after Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacey said it had been “found wanting” at the FAB conference in Leicester on Tuesday (October 14).

Her comments have been seen as an indication the QCF had already been written-off by the qualifications watchdog despite a consultation on its future having only ended on Thursday (October 16).

Mr Wright said: “When we consulted members the biggest thing that came out was not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. QCF is not perfect, but needs fixing, not completely ditching.”

A spokesperson for NOCN said: “We do accept that change is necessary to create greater flexibility for the new employer-led requirements and to deal with what we see as important issues of ‘un-intended’ consequences deriving from the funding arrangements.

“But reliance on the General Conditions of Recognition as a replacement for an employer-recognised framework is inadequate to meet the needs of our economy and will in our view undermine public confidence in vocational qualifications.”

Ms Stacey, said: “However well-intentioned the QCF may have been, we have looked at the reality on the ground and we have found the QCF wanting.

“We know and have heard about how difficult its introduction was, that some awarding organisations were forced to shoehorn good qualifications into the QCF.

“That’s not to say that all QCF qualifications are not fit for purpose, there are strong qualifications in there. But in many cases the QCF rules have done the opposite .”

Ms Stacey also revealed that the requirement for qualifications to be accredited by Ofqual before they are regulated would be lifted from November 3, a move the watchdog consulted on earlier this year.

“Why? Because we have found that accreditation itself, a check at the start of the qualification, is not an effective way of securing a valid qualification as it runs,” she said.

“It’s easy to assume at the moment that an accreditation process provides a vital seal of approval for a qualification but it does not.”

See page 12 for an expert piece on qualifications reforms by former Ofqual accreditation manager Jim Proudfoot

OCR policy director Paul Steer welcomed plans to lift the accreditation requirement, but said: “There is also a need for clearer public communications around the proposals, making it clear to the public that vocational qualifications will continue to be subject to high levels of regulation.”