The Association of Colleges (AoC) has backed Ofqual plans to ditch current regulatory arrangements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

A consultation launched in July on the QCF, which was itself launched in 2008, proposed that qualifications should be regulated by Ofqual’s general conditions of recognition.

A number of submissions from FE organisations, including representative bodies and awarding organisations, have now been seen by FE Week (see table).

AoC senior skills policy manager Teresa Frith (pictured), who submitted the response on behalf of the representative body, supported “efforts to reduce the amount of regulation”.

She said: “All qualifications should be valid regardless of their structure but [we] recognise that, in some instances, the QCF regulatory arrangements have not supported this intent.”

Ofqual stated in the consultation that it would not “impose design requirements about how QCF-type qualifications are structured [following the withdrawal of QCF regulatory arrangements]”.


Ms Frith said: “This proposal should provide a welcome degree of flexibility in qualification and unit design.”

But she raised concern that “the removal of regulation might be seen as the removal of QCF, rather than allowing for a greater degree of flexibility to ensure ‘validity’.”

She warned scrapping the QCF regulatory arrangements “could be perceived as removing the ability to create credit bearing, unitised qualifications.

“A renaming of the remaining qualifications framework might be considered to ensure the sector remains clear that such an approach is not being prevented by the proposed changes to regulation,” she added.

Ms Frith said the AoC would like “clear reassurance” that the regulatory reforms would not lead to the complete “withdrawal of QCF from the system”.

Jeremy Benson, Ofqual’s director of policy, said: “This isn’t the end for qualifications based upon the QCF. We expect those QCF qualifications which are good quality and valuable to remain. But where they are found to fall short of our requirements, we would expect them to be either developed or withdrawn.”

Ofqual also asked for comments, through the consultation, on its plans for “QCF-type qualifications” to be “governed simply through our general conditions of recognition”.

Ms Frith said: “This appears to be a sensible way forward which should simplify regulation without removing the possibilities for easy accreditation of prior learning arrangements, unit assessment and the currency of credit. Any funding ramifications would need to be considered however.”

An Ofqual spokesperson said it was still considering responses to the consultation that closed last month.