|Non-ministerial government department overview|
|Preceding Non-ministerial government department||QCA|
|Type||Non-ministerial government department|
|Jurisdiction||England and Northern Ireland|
|Headquarters||Spring Place, Coventry Business Park, Herald Avenue, Canley, Coventry, CV5 6UB
|Annual budget||£18.4 million (2013/14)|
|Non-ministerial government department executives||Glenys Stacey, Chief Executive
Amanda Spielman, Chair
The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) is a non-ministerial government department that regulates qualifications, exams and tests in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland.
Ofqual's role is to maintain standards and confidence in qualifications.
Area of governance
It regulates exams, qualifications and tests in England and NVQs in Northern Ireland. Wales and Scotland are regulated by each respective national government. However, the Scottish Qualifications Authority SQA is also accredited by Ofqual. Ofqual collaborates closely with the UK Department for Education on general qualifications, such as GCSEs and A levels, and with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on vocational qualifications such as NVQs and BTECs. In Northern Ireland it regulates NVQs on behalf of the Department for Employment and Learning. It should be noted that Ofqual is the authority which regulates and accredits British examination boards offering GCSEs and GCE A levels while it is the JCQ which regulates administration of actual GCSE and A Level examinatons.
Modular VS Linear Controversy
The Conservative Party under Prime Minister David Cameron initiated reforms for A Levels to change from the current modular to a linear structure. British Examination Boards (Edexcel, AQA and OCR) regulated and accredited by Ofqual responded to the government's reform announcements by modifying syllabi of several A Level subjects. However, the Labour Party and in particular the Member of Parliament Tristram Hunt announced that it will halt and reverse the reforms and maintain the modular A-Level system.
Rising numbers of students taking GCSEs and GCE A Levels over the past decades has lead to an increase in the quantity of examination results being enquired for re-marking and reported to Ofqual.
Ofqual's remit and responsibilities are established in law by the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 and the Education Act 2011. As a Non-ministerial department Ofqual is accountable to Parliament, through the Education Select Committee. It is not accountable to Government ministers and as such is independent from Ministerial Government. Whereas Ofqual regulates and accredits British examination boards (e.g. Edexcel, AQA, OCR etc.) and their GCSE and GCE A-Level specifications; the examination board CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) which offers international GCSEs and GCE A-Levels predominantly for schools outside the United Kingdom operates independently without British governmental intervention. Therefore, although CIE qualifications are accredited by Ofqual, they are not regulated by it and thus may differ significantly in subject content and exam structure from UK GCSEs and GCE A-Levels.
Currently, Ofqual's Chief Executive Officer is Amanda Spielman who has been Ofqual's Chair since 2011 and was reappointed in 2014 for a further 5 year office period. Other notable members of staff include Professor Julius Weinberg and Dr. Mike Cresswell.
It has four directorates:
- Strategy, risk and research
- Vocational qualifications
- General qualifications
- Gov.uk, Gov.UK Government, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, Retrieved 6 February 2014
- "About us". Ofqual.
- "Ofqual External Verification". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Changes to A levels - The Department for Education". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Labour pledges to halt A-Level reforms". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009". Office of Public Sector Information. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
- "Education Act 2011". Parliament of the United Kingdom.
- "Gove welcomes reappointment of Amanda Spielman as Chair of Ofqual".
- "Our Board". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- Official website
- Ofqual consultations
- The Register of Regulated Qualifications
- Ofqual's channel on YouTube
- Ofqual on Twitter