Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF)

 What is the Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF)?

The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is a new credit transfer system which has replaced the National Qualification Framework (NQF). It recognises qualifications and units by awarding credits. And since each unit has a credit value and the credits can be transferred, the system gives the learners the ability to get qualifications at their own pace. The QCF is jointly regulated by the England’s regulator Ofqual, Wales’ DCELLS and Northern Ireland’s CCEA.

How Does the QCF System Work?

The QCF system is based on units which have credit value and levels (from Entry Level to Level 8). One credit roughly equals 10 learning hours which allows the learners to evaluate how much time they will need to gain the desired qualification. According to the QCF system, the learners can gain three types of qualifications:

  • Awards
  • Certificates
  • Diplomas

How Credit Points are Awarded? 

To gain an award, it is necessary to have 1 to 12 credit points which equals 10 to 120 hours of learning. Learners who have 13 to 26 credits (130 to 260 hours) are awarded certificates, while those who have 37 credits or more are awarded diplomas. The QCF system gives awards at any difficulty level from 1 to 8 which is due to the fact that it reveals the size of qualification and not its difficulty level. The latter is indicated by the title of qualification which, however, also reveals the size of the qualification and its subject.

How are Quality of Units and Qualifications Ensured?

How is Quality of Units and Qualifications Ensured? In addition to developing units, developing and accrediting qualifications, and awarding credits and qualifications, the regulators of the QCF are also responsible for maintaining a unit databank and monitoring the organisations that operate within the QCF in order to ensure that all awarded qualifications meet the regulatory requirements. These are specified in the Regulatory arrangements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework that has been developed jointly by the regulators in England, Wales and Northern Ireland


Register of Regulated Qualifications

What is the Register of Regulated Qualifications?

The Register of Regulated Qualifications is a list of accredited awarding institutions and organisations with their qualifications but it also includes as a list of recognised organisations that meet the standards set by the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). The Register is managed and operated by the Ofqual for the regulators of England (Ofqual), Wales (DCELLS) and Northern Ireland (CCEA). In 2010, the Register has replaced the National Database of Accredited Qualifications (NDAQ).

What Information Does the Register of Regulated Qualifications Contain?

The Register contains information similar to its predecessor, the NDAQ, but there are some differences. The users of the Register will still be able to see the title of the qualifications and their numbers, the structure, rule of combinations, the units that make up the qualifications, etc. But in contrary to the NDAQ, the Register does not give detailed information about accredited awarding organisations. Instead, it offers links to the awarding organisations’ websites.

How Can the Users of the Register Find Out More about the Awarding Organisations?

The Register includes names of the awarding organisations and contact information for the users who would like to find out more about them. As mentioned earlier, the Register offers a direct connection to the awarding organisations’ official websites via links.

What are the Benefits of the Register of Regulated Qualifications for the Users?

The main purpose of the Register is to provide the learners with all the necessary information about accredited qualifications. This also includes the ability to compare the levels between different qualifications and help the learners determine which option allows them to achieve the desired qualification.

Where Can the Register of Regulated Qualifications be found?

The Register can be found at the official Ofqual website.

How to Use the Register of Regulated Qualifications?

The register is very easy to use. For example, to find information about a particular qualification, you choose an organisation that is offered by the Register and enter the qualification type, and the register will display qualifications according to the entered search criteria. In addition to the ability to search for qualifications, the users also have the ability to search for the awarding organisations, units and diplomas.

Is the Register of Regulated Qualifications Open to Everyone?

Yes. The Register can be accessed by everyone free of charge at the official Ofqual website.


How frequently is the Register of Regulated Qualifications Updated?

According to the Ofqual who runs the Register, the latter is updated with new information every evening.

Unique Learner Numbers (ULN)

What is a ULN?

The ULN is a 10-digit number used to match a learner's achievement in to their Personal Learning Record (PLR). ULNs are mandatory for all students entered for an exam at a state-funded school/college in England However ULNs are not mandatory for private candidates.

Obtain a ULN via your provider

If you wish to take part we are able to obtain a ULN on your behalf

What is a Personal Learner Record (PLR)

You will need a ULN to access the Personal Learning Record (PLR) of anyone over the age of 14 who is in education or training. The PLR is an online, a lifelong record of individuals' achievements, which can be shared with other parties eg employers, colleges and universities.


www.accreditedqualifications.org.uk/qualifications-and-credit-framework   www.gov.uk/government/collections/learning-records-service

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