Qualifications and Credit Framework

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The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is the national credit transfer system for education qualification in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The QCF replaces the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) which closed for accreditations at the end of 2010. Students who started qualifications under the NQF will complete them, any student starting a qualification from September 2011 will complete it under the QCF. Scotland has its own system - the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

Every unit and qualification in the new framework has a credit value (where one credit represents 10 hours of learning time). There are three different sizes of qualification:

  • awards (1 to 12 credits)
  • certificates (13 to 36 credits)
  • diplomas (37 credits or more)

In addition, each qualification has a level of difficulty from Entry level at the bottom to Level 8 at the top.

The title of each qualification within this framework contains details of the size (award/certificate/diploma), level of difficulty (Entry to Level 8) and general content of the qualification.

The QCF is a national framework referenced to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The EQF is a meta framework intended as a reference so that qualifications in nation frameworks such as the QCF are understood across member states.

The QCF does not include previous qualifications that are now defunct, such as the GCE Ordinary Level which was replaced by GCSEs in 1988. Officially, defunct qualifications are not part of the QCF and therefore have no level, but are still as valued as their replacement equivalent.[1]

QCF levels for common English and Welsh qualifications (secondary/tertiary)

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