Back Ground to Reform

Background to reform
In November 2005, ministers agreed the establishment of a Programme Board to oversee vocational qualifications reform by bringing together key strands of work across the UK.
Framework development forms a key strand within the Vocational Qualification Reform Programme. The overall aim of this strand is to develop a jointly regulated credit and qualifications framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
What is the QCF?
The framework is a new way of recognizing skills and qualifications. It does this by awarding credit for qualifications and units (small steps of learning). It enables people to gain qualifications at their own pace along flexible routes.
How will the QCF help me understand the qualifications system?
At present, it is hard to understand all the different types of qualification that learners hold - what level they are, how long they take to complete, what content they cover, and how they compare to other qualifications. The new framework will help present qualifications in a way that is easy to understand and measure.
Testing and trialling the new framework
As the framework represents a big change to current arrangements for qualifications, ministers asked the regulators of external qualifications in England (QCA), Wales (DELLS) and Northern Ireland (CCEA) to test and trial the framework.
The tests and trials involve learners, employers, awarding bodies, sector skills councils, colleges and training providers. Having started in September 2006, they will run through to June 2008. The regulators will write a final report with recommendations on the tests and trials in June 2008. In the light of this report, ministers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will decide whether the new framework should be fully implemented.
Objectives of the tests and trials
The objectives of the framework tests and trials are:
    • to develop and test an operational model of the framework with stakeholders
    • to evaluate whether...