These qualifications are not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables because they are not designed to meet the requirements of the Key Stage 5 performance tables.
Vocational qualifications are either work-related qualifications designed to enable students to gain the skills required to perform a particular job, or qualifications that may be taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the DfE performance tables, if approved for teaching to 16-19 year olds by the Secretary of State for Education in England under Section 96, where this is in the best interests of individual students.
The LRN Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (CEF C2) and the LRN Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (IELCA CEF C2) are designed for those who would like to improve their English language skills at Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR) Level C2, or those who have to meet a higher education requirement.
The LRN Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (CEF C2) is recognised by the Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR), ASEP Greece, Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Españolas (CRUE), the Ministry of Education (Romania), the Ministry of Education and Science (Lithuania), and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (Dubai).
The LRN Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (IELCA CEF C2) is recognised by UK HEPs, Maritime & Coastguard Agency UK, Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR), Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Espanolas (CRUE) the Ministry of Education (Romania) the Ministry of Education and Science (Lithuania) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (Dubai).
These qualifications are designed for post-16 students and fall under the oversight of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). A significant number of students will undertake these qualifications post-19.
Following its 2012 review of post-19 qualifications the ESFA removed 1,800 qualifications from public funding and a further 1,000 in 2014. In March 2014 the government published a Reform Plan for Vocational Education.
These qualifications have not been subject to the same reforms as Applied General and Tech Level qualifications (which are specifically designed for 16-19 year old students). However the ESFA has implemented a new set of business rules for the approval of qualifications for funding, based on the 2013 Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications in England. These rules recognise that adults may have different needs, aspirations and ambitions to younger people and include that qualifications should be:
- relevant to individuals and employers and affordable for all sizes of business and for individuals
- rigorous and based on a robust future-looking occupational standard designed and assessed by the sector
- recognised as worthy of investment, giving a clear signal of the economically valuable skills, knowledge and understanding required in an occupation now and in the future.
Regulation of vocational qualifications
The regulation of vocational qualifications is the responsibility of the respective regulators in each UK country – Ofqual (England), CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland) SQA (Scotland) and Qualifications Wales (Wales). The regulatory approach undertaken for vocational qualifications is different from A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification criteria for vocational qualifications, as there currently are for GCSEs, AS and A levels. Vocational qualifications must comply with the regulator’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.
The LRN Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (CEF C2) and the Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (IELCA CEF C2) are based on the CEFR in that they reflect the level of language ability as defined by the CEFR. These qualifications are part of a wider suite of ESOL provision offered by LRN which ranges from A1 (Entry 1) to C2 (Level 3). These qualifications will be delivered in FE, HE, and by training providers. Delivery can take place on a full or part-time basis.
- Learning Resource Network
Both LRN Level 3 Certificates in ESOL International are single unit qualifications, which comprise four components (reading, listening, writing, and speaking). Candidates must attempt all four components of the assessment.
- English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
- Level 3
Level 3 qualifications which are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales, though many may be offered on a three-country basis.
Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 / 7.
Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (CEF C2) is graded Distinction, Merit, Pass, or Fail.
Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (IELCA CEF C2) is graded Pass or Fail.
Aural examination, e-assessment, multiple choice examination, oral examination, and written examination. Each of the assessment components is externally set and externally marked.
Students must achieve a Pass grade to gain the qualifications.
Each assessment skill, i.e. writing, speaking, listening, and speaking, contributes 25% to the overall grade of the qualifications.
None. If a candidate fails the qualifications, they must retake the entire qualification.
Guided learning hours (GLH)
3 hours 21 minutes
Total assessment time (TAT)
2 hours 53 minutes
Total qualification time (TQT)
327 hours (GLH+SS+TAT)
LRN Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (CEF C2)
LRN Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (IELCA CEF C2)
There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing qualifications that are not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables for England:
- Some of these qualifications are occupational, and may not be designed specifically for progression to HE.
- Applicants holding these qualifications may be school or college leavers, however, some may be more mature students who are likely to have other relevant experience alongside these qualifications.
- These qualifications may have been taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
- If they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.
Higher education providers can expect to receive applications from UK and overseas students holding LRN Level 3 Certificates in ESOL International (CEF C2) and (IELCA CEF C2) probably in conjunction with other qualifications.
Assessments are available all year round on demand. However, centres wishing to enter their candidates for an examination must give LRN 30 days notice. LRN will issue its results between four to six weeks upon receiving the candidate results from the test centre. Results are made available to LRN centres throughout the year. These will be available to the centres via LRN Portal.
These are current qualifications.
The results of these qualifications are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualifications. HEPs will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.
For 2016 to current date:
- Registration – 5,500 (CEF C2), 1,000 (IELCA CEF C2)
- Certification – 5,325 (CEF C2), 950 (IELCA CEF C2)
The reporting of certificates is through quarterly reporting to Ofqual.
These qualifications have been designed to reflect the wide variation in students' origins, levels of education, and career aims. Progression opportunities may, therefore, take a variety of paths. It may be appropriate for some students to progress to:
- a key skills or functional skills qualification
- vocational qualifications
- Access to Higher Education Diploma