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NEW Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) to Replace the QCF

NEW Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) to Replace the QCF
1 October 2015 James Dillon

The new Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) replaces the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and provides a single, simple system for cataloguing all qualifications regulated by Ofqual.

Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, has now implemented a change to the Regulatory Framework for the delivery of Qualifications and has issued guidance to Awarding Bodies as to how these changes will have an impact on the Qualifications we offer.

Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)

Ofqual has issued new Conditions of Regulation which Award Bodies must observe and these include, over time, the requirement for all Qualifications to be described by Level and to determine a Total Qualification Time (TQT) for each Qualification.

“It’s like a bookcase in a library, with qualifications indexed by their ‘level’ and ‘size’. Qualifications at any specific level can be very different from one another, for example in their content and purpose. We maintain a register that provides more detail on each qualification”



TQT is defined by Ofqual as: ‘The number of notional hours which represents an estimate of the total amount of time that could reasonably be expected to be required in order for a Learner to achieve and demonstrate the achievement of the level of attainment necessary for the award of the qualification’.

Total Qualification Time (TQT)

TQT is comprised of the following two elements:

  1. The number of hours which an awarding organisation has assigned to a qualification for Guided Learning
  1. An estimate of the number of hours a Learner will reasonably be likely to spend in preparation, study or any other form of participation in education or training, including assessment, which takes place as directed by – but, unlike Guided Learning, not under the Immediate Guidance or Supervision of – a lecturer, supervisor, tutor or other appropriate provider of education or training.

Qualification Level

Qualification Levels indicate the difficulty and complexity of the knowledge and skills associated with any qualification. There are eight levels supported by three ‘entry’ levels. While most qualifications will be assigned a single level some can span more than one.

Qualification Size

Qualification Size refers to the estimated total amount of time it could typically take to study and be assessed for a qualification. This can be anything from a matter of hours to several years of study and different students can take different amounts of time to study for the same qualification. Size is expressed in terms of Total Qualification Time. The part of that time typically spent being taught or supervised, rather than studying alone, is known as Guided Learning Hours. Qualifications can sit at different levels, but require similar amounts of study and assessment time. Equally, qualifications at the same level can take different amounts of study and assessment time. The RQF replaces the Qualifications and Credit Framework, and National Qualifications Framework in October 2015.

How do the Changes Affect Individuals?

All new Qualifications issued from 1st October 2015 have to be described in this way and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is required to ensure all existing Qualifications are described in this way by December 2017. As part of the process of continually improving qualifications, CMI will gradually start to move over to the new way of described qualification required by Ofqual.

In the meantime, this does not have any impact on the credibility and perceived value of qualifications described under the existing QCF framework. If you have any questions or require further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

James Dillon is Business Development Manager at Exponential Training and has over 5 years experience working with current and aspiring Managers, Coaches and Consultants. James works with both past and potential clients in order to help them find the right training & development solutions to meet their specific needs. You can contact James or connect through LinkedIn.


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