RQF qualifications

RQF qualifications

The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) accredits qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. RQF is jointly regulated by the England’s regulator Ofqual, Wales DCELLS and Northern Ireland’s CCEA. Scotland has its own system - the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SQCF)

Taking an RQF qualification means your course and your award is fully recognised in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Every unit and qualification in the RQF framework has a credit value based on the length of time it takes the average learner to complete the learning unit. Each unit and qualification also has its own level, between Entry level and level 8, to show how difficult it is. RQF credits can be transferred to other relevant courses, meaning if you decide to enrol on a higher level or different course, the existing unit(s) you have can be transferred to your new course. 

Levels

The RQF has three entry levels: 1,2,3 plus levels 1 to 8. A rough comparison of levels 1 to 8 to existing qualifications in England is:

1 – GCSEs (grades 3-1: previously D-G)
2 – GCSEs (grades 9-4: previously A*-C), CSE grade 1, O level grade A,B or C
3 – Advanced level (A level) grade A-E, AS level
4 – Vocational Qualification level 4, CertHE, HNC 
5 – Vocational Qualification level 5, Foundation Degree, DipHE, HND
6 – Bachelor’s Degree (with or without honours)
7 – Master’s Degree, Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma, PGCE
8 – Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil or PhD).

Size

All qualifications on the RQF have a 'size' which is expressed in terms of total qualification time (TQT). TQT can be thought of as credits i.e. one credit equals 10 hours of learning. This learning time can be contact time with a tutor or assessor, and non-contact time for assignments and studies. For example, if a qualification has a TQT of 12, it would take approximately 120 hours to achieve.

The following seven qualifications were developed specifically for school support staff:

Qualification

Description

Level 2 Award in support work in schools 

  • Knowledge-based qualification suitable for all support staff roles in schools.
  • Develops the knowledge and understanding that all those working in a school setting will need and covers areas such as safeguarding, communication and understanding the school context.
  • Can be taken by candidates not yet employed in a school, as well as providing initial training or induction for those who are new in post.

Level 2 Certificate in supporting teaching and learning in schools 

  • For school staff who directly support the teaching and learning of pupils.
  • Incorporates units in the Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools and adds competency based units to reflect the role of those supporting pupils’ learning.

Level 2 Certificate in supporting the wider curriculum in schools

  • Developed to meet the needs of those working as midday assistants/supervisors or who support the wider activities of schools such as before and after school clubs.
  • Incorporates units in the Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
  • Shares units with the Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, recognising that teaching assistants may have additional responsibilities.
  • Has fewer credits than the Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, which candidates who progress to a teaching assistant role can gain through the achievement of credit from additional units.

Level 3 Award in supporting teaching and learning in schools

  • Knowledge-based qualification suitable for candidates not yet in a school role but who have the capability to achieve at Level 3; candidates wishing to demonstrate progression and as initial training.
  • Intended to provide the underpinning knowledge and understanding for those with a role in directly working with young people in schools.

Level 3 Certificate in supporting teaching and learning in schools

  • For school staff who directly support the teaching and learning of pupils.
  • Incorporates units in the Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Additional units cover the generic knowledge and skills required to work in a teaching assistant or similar role at Level 3.

Level 3 Certificate in cover supervision of pupils in schools

  • For staff working in the role of Cover Supervisor.
  • Incorporates units of the Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Includes some units that are also in the Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Reflects differences between the cover supervisor and teaching assistant roles by omitting units about actively advancing pupils’ learning and including a unit on providing whole-class supervision.
  • Candidates moving from one role to the other can demonstrate competence in the new role through the achievement of credit from specified additional units.

Level 3 Diploma in specialist support for teaching and learning in schools

  • For staff who directly support teaching and learning of pupils in an area that requires specialist knowledge and skills. Incorporates units in Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Additional optional units cover specialisms which may be a feature of the role at level 3.