Proposals to strengthen how we regulate Technical Awards in performance tables

Ofqual has today (21 October 2019) published a consultation on proposed new rules that will strengthen the regulation of Technical Awards listed in Key Stage 4 performance tables. The proposals are intended to enhance the qualifications’ validity and better align our regulation with the Department for Education’s (DfE) performance table requirements.

Qualifications used for accountability purposes, through their use in performance tables, bear significant pressure and our recent research has identified issues that could have an impact on standards. Our proposals aim to address these issues and strengthen our approach to regulating these qualifications, while still allowing for appropriate differences in their design and delivery.

The proposed rules will cover:

  • Qualification purpose
  • Qualification design
  • Assessment design and delivery
  • Grading
  • Standard setting

Sally Collier, Chief Regulator, said:

These proposals demonstrate our commitment to regulate vocational and technical qualifications with the same seriousness and focus as we do general qualifications. We have worked closely with the Department for Education to strengthen our regulation in respect of these important performance table qualifications, while ensuring an appropriate degree of flexibility in their design. As a result, users of these qualifications can continue to be assured that they are a reliable and valid assessment of the knowledge and skills acquired by students.


Key dates

  • A submission window will open in 2020 for awarding organisations to put forward qualifications for review
  • This will be for qualifications delivered in schools and colleges from September 2021, and awarded in summer 2023. DfE has confirmed that it intends to lift the current moratorium on adding new qualifications to the Key Stage 4 performance tables from 2023, subject to the outcome of Ofqual’s consultation
  • Submissions will be reviewed by Ofqual and the DfE against respective requirements – the proposed new rules (Ofqual) and Technical Guidance for Key Stage 4 Performance Table qualifications (DfE)
  • Ofqual will provide advice to the DfE on the validity of each qualification submitted
  • DfE will make a final decision about which of the qualifications submitted will be listed in the 2023 Key Stage 4 performance tables
  • Qualifications accepted for inclusion in the performance tables will then be regulated by Ofqual on an ongoing basis against the Qualification Level Conditions proposed in this consultation

The consultation is open until Monday 2 December 2019.

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