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Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009

Section 154: Review of qualifications to which Part applies

463.A “regulated qualification” is a qualification awarded or authenticated by a body which is recognised in respect of that qualification. This section gives Ofqual the power to keep under review all aspects of qualifications to which Part 7 applies irrespective of whether or not they are regulated qualifications. This would allow Ofqual, for example, to review why some awarding bodies were choosing not to seek recognition for their qualifications and whether that was detrimental to the interests of learners.

Section 155: Review of system for allocating values to qualifications

464.This section requires Ofqual to keep under review any system used by the Secretary of State which is:


for allocating values to qualifications to which this Part applies by reference to the level of attainment indicated by the qualifications; and


for the purposes of a qualifications-based performance management system.

465.For example, the Secretary of State’s Achievement and Attainment Tables currently measure the performance of schools with reference to qualifications obtained by pupils at the schools. In future, the School Report Card will provide similar information. The preparation of these reporting mechanisms requires the allocation of values to the qualifications to which they refer, so that the qualifications can be compared fairly and accurately. Ofqual will need to keep under review whether these values accurately reflect the level of attainment indicated by the qualifications – which includes both the depth of the knowledge etc. that needs to be demonstrated to attain each qualification, and how much study would typically be required to attain it. Ofqual is also given powers to collect from the Secretary of State the information it needs to discharge this duty. It will be able to use its powers under section 171(7) to publish a report on its findings (and if it wishes lay this before Parliament), notably whether it thinks that the allocation of values is appropriate.

Section 156: Co-operation and joint working

466.This section allows Ofqual to co-operate or work jointly with another public authority where it is appropriate to do so for the efficient and effective performance of any of its functions in connection with qualifications. This would allow it, for example, to work with other UK regulators of qualifications or with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills on the arrangements for overseeing Sector Skills Councils’ work on vocational qualifications, or with the competition authorities if it had concerns about the effective operation of the qualifications market.

Section 157: Power to provide information to qualifications regulators

467.This section allows Ofqual to provide information to qualifications regulators elsewhere in the UK to support the qualifications functions of the other regulator. This will enable the continued operation of the three-country framework, whereby the qualifications regulators in England, Wales and Northern Ireland work together on the regulation of qualifications across the three countries. Such co-operation will remain subject to restrictions in other legislation relating to the sharing of information, such as the Data Protection Act 1998.

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