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Supporting Teaching and Learning Qualifications for the Qualifications & Credit Framework


The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is a new and more flexible way of recognising achievement through the award of credit for units and qualifications. The QCF replaces the current National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and, like its predecessor, will be regulated by OFQUAL. All vocational qualifications will need to be redeveloped to meet the QCF regulatory principles by the time the NQF closes for business at the end of 2010.

Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), and sector bodies like the TDA, are expected to take the lead role in the vocational reform agenda through the development of a sector qualification strategy and the setting up of a process for approving qualifications intended for their sector.

The TDA is responsible for leading the development of qualifications for those roles that occur only within the school workforce; other SSCs are responsible for leading on the development of qualifications for other roles such as administration, catering etc.

The change from NQF to QCF does not invalidate previously achieved qualifications and there is no expectation that anyone will have to redo their qualification as a result.

Credit and Level

Qualifications and individual units on the QCF will have a credit value (which indicates the time taken to complete) and a level (which gives an indication of its difficulty).

There are three sizes of qualifications in the QCF:
" Awards (1 to 12 credits)
" Certificates (13 to 36 credits)
" Diplomas (37 credits or more).

One credit represents ten hours of learning. This time may include classroom-based and practiced-based learning, independent study and research, and includes the time taken for assessment.

Qualifications and individual units will also be assigned a level, from entry level to level 8. For reference, GCSEs (at A*-C) are at level 2, A levels are level 3 and a PhD is level 8. Qualification titles will clearly indicate the time taken to complete and the level of difficulty of individual qualifications.

Qualifications for those supporting teaching and learning in schools will be available at levels 2 and 3 of the framework; functional mapping undertaken by the TDA to support the development of National Occupational Standards (NOS) showed that teaching assistant roles existed at both these qualification levels. Progression from level 3 is through the award of Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) status and/or the achievement of a Foundation degree.

Benefits for Learners

The QCF allows learners to adopt a more flexible approach towards achieving qualifications. Qualifications can be completed at a learners own pace through the achievement of individual units; as units can be shared between qualifications, learners will be able to transfer credit for units already achieved to avoid having to repeat learning should they change roles. The TDA is working closely with CWDC and other sector bodies responsible for different parts of the childrens workforce to develop units that will be shared across our respective qualifications. This will support the transfer and progression of staff across the childrens workforce.

Benefits for Schools

The flexibility which is on offer to learners will also benefit schools. The QCF will enable schools to plan accredited CPD opportunities for staff which match the needs of staff and the priorities of the school and which can contribute to larger qualifications for those who want this. The TDAs sector qualification strategy establishes a single, progressive framework of qualifications for all those supporting teaching and learning within the QCF.

Development of QCF Qualifications

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