Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency

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Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency
QCDA logo.png
Abbreviation QCDA
Formation 1997
Legal status Government agency
Purpose Exam curriculae
  • Earlsdon Park, Butts Lane, Coventry
Region served England, Northern Ireland
Chief Executive Andrew Hall
Parent organization DCSF
Affiliations Ofqual
Website www.qcda.gov.uk

The Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) was an exempt charity, and an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) of the Department for Education. In England and Northern Ireland, the QCDA maintained and developed the National Curriculum and associated assessments, tests and examinations, advising the minister formerly known as the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and later known as the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, on these matters.

Regulatory functions regarding examination and assessment boards have been transferred to Ofqual, an independent regulator.

Education and qualifications in Scotland and Wales are the responsibility of the Scottish Government and Welsh Government and their agencies. In Scotland, for example, the Scottish Qualifications Authority is the responsible body.

In May 2010 the Secretary of State announced his intention to promote legislation that would abolish QCDA. The newly formed Standards and Testing Agency took on the functions of the agency from 3 October 2011. The QCDA closed in March 2012.[1]


QCDA worked closely with its main strategic partners, including the Department for Education,the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), employers' organisations, the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), the Skills Funding Agency, the former General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) and the Sector Skills Councils (SSC).

QCDA also collaborated with the other public qualification agencies in the UK: the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the former Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC) and the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment in Northern Ireland (CCEA).

QCDA was based in Coventry.


The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCDA's predecessor) was formed on 1 October 1997 through a merger of the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) and the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA). The QCA had additional powers and duties granted to it by the Education Act 1997, which established the role of the QCA. Under Section 24 of this Act, QCA was granted the right to regulate all external qualifications in England.

In April 2004, the QCA launched the National Assessment Agency to take over its role in the delivery and administration of National Curriculum assessments. However, on the recommendation of The Sutherland Enquiry the National Assessment Agency was disbanded and its functions subsumed within the management structure of the QCA.

Formation of Ofqual

On 26 September 2007, DCSF announced that the regulatory functions of the QCA were to become statutorily independent with the creation of a new body, Ofqual.

On 8 April 2008, Ofqual began work as the independent regulator of exams and tests in England, accountable to Parliament rather than to government ministers. The remaining work of the QCA was transferred to the QCDA. The QCA was formally dissolved on 1 April 2010 when the QCDA and Ofqual gained their statutory statuses. The QCA was not 'dissolved', the QCDA was the same body corporate, just with a new name.


  1. ^ "Standards and Testing Agency". Department for Education. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 

External links

  • QCDA website
  • BBC News - Gove's statement on abolition
  • http://www.inca.org.uk Funded by QCDA, INCA is the International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive. It provides regularly updated descriptions of government policy on education in Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA and Wales, and makes particular reference to the curriculum, assessment and initial teacher training frameworks in place. A description for South Africa has recently (October 2009) been added.

The INCA website focuses on education provided in schools and to the 3-19 age range.

Video clips