1st4sport Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Sports Development

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This QIP covers a vocational qualification which is not listed on the Department for Education (DfE) 16 – 19 performance tables for England.

This qualification is not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables because it is not designed to meet the requirements of the Key Stage 5 performance tables.

  • England
  • Wales

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 qualification is aimed at students who are already employed or in a long term work placement as an Assistant Sports Development Officer, Sports Development Officer, or relevant associated role. They might be new members of staff who require an induction into the job role, or existing members of staff who need further training and development. Students must have the opportunity to demonstrate competence in the workplace over time, therefore it is not suitable for students in full-time education, but may be delivered through a school or college engaging with local employers.

Education context

This qualification is designed for post-16 students and falls under the oversight of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

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. A significant number of students will undertake these qualifications post-19.

This qualification has 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 1st4Sport Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Sports Development supports the achievement of the competence element of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sports Development, a mandatory outcome for achievement of the programme.

Awarding organisation
  • 1st4sport Qualifications
Qualification code

To qualify for the 1st4sport Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Sports Development (QCF), students must successfully achieve all five mandatory units and four optional units.

Learning is a combination of skills (work-based) and knowledge. Content has been developed by SkillsActive, the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning, and Well-being, through consultation with a range of employers in the sector footprint.

Subject areas
  • Working in sport and leisure

Mandatory units (students must achieve all of these units)

  • Manage own resources and professional development
  • Contribute to strategic development in sport and active leisure
  • Provide leadership in sport and active leisure
  • Promote equality and diversity in sport and physical activity
  • Ensure the health, safety, welfare, and security of customers and staff

Optional Unit Group 1 (students must achieve one of these units)

  • Facilitate community-based sport and physical activity
  • Support the development of sport and physical activity in education

Optional Unit Group 2 (students must achieve a minimum of two units from this group, with an additional unit being chosen from either Optional Unit Group 1 or 2)

  • Lead and motivate volunteers
  • Recruit, select, and keep colleagues
  • Involve, motivate, and retain volunteers
  • Develop productive working relationships with colleagues
  • Allocate and monitor the progress and quality of work in own area of responsibility
  • Provide learning opportunities for colleagues
  • Contribute to the prevention and management of abusive and aggressive behaviour
  • Recognise indications of substance misuse and refer individuals to specialists
  • Support the efficient use of resources
  • Apply for external funding for sport and physical activity
  • Manage information for action
  • Contribute to evaluating, developing, and promoting services
  • Plan and organise services
  • Manage a project
  • Work with others to improve customer service
  • Level 3

This is a Level 3 qualification regulated to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).¹

Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6/7.

¹ The QCF was a credit-based transfer system which recognised qualifications and units by awarding credits. It has now been withdrawn for all new qualifications and replaced by the RQF and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales.


This qualification is awarded on a Pass/Fail basis. All mandatory units and four optional units must be passed for a learner to be awarded the qualification.


This qualification is internally assessed in its entirety. 

Internal quality assurance is required for all centres, and external quality assurance is conducted at regular intervals by subject-specific external quality assurers deployed by 1st4sport Qualifications.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

The internally assessed element forms 100% of the overall grade. There is no external assessment.

Resit arrangements

The recognised centre is required to ensure students who are unsuccessful in any aspect of assessment are offered a maximum of two opportunities to resit the appropriate assessment component within their period of registration (three years).

All reassessments must be conducted in accordance with the assessment specification.

Guided/notional learning hours
277 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

There is a range of GLH, dependent on optional units undertaken from 277 to 281 hours.

Students will achieve a minimum of 64 credits through completion of this qualification.

UCAS Tariff points

Unknown qualification

Grade Points


Key issues for UK HE admissions

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing vocational 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 this qualification may be school or college leavers, however, some may be more mature students who are likely to have other relevant experience alongside the qualification.
  • 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.

This qualification would prepare a learner for admission onto a related degree programme in sports development. Students will learn key knowledge and skills to support their development into this industry area. This qualification is normally taken as part of an apprenticeship and has been available for a number of years and universities can expect applicants from 2017.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

Students undergo continuous assessment during the programme.

Assessment outcomes are communicated to students at the time of assessment and reported to 1st4sport at the successful completion of the assessment programme.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Jan 2012
Qualification dates notes

This qualification is due for review in advance of 31 December 2017.

Reporting and certification information

The results of this qualification are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualification. HEPs will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.

View the results available through ABL.

Progression information

This qualification can lead to a related degree programme in Sports Development in conjunction with other qualifications such as A levels, applied general qualifications or tech levels 

It can also lead to paid or voluntary employment in Sports Development in a sports or community setting. Students operating in a role at this level, can access CPD opportunities through the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). In addition, the skills and knowledge developed through this qualification may be used to enable students to progress to other management qualifications.

Employment roles the learner may consider could include:

  • duty officer, shift supervisor, assistant manager
  • sports/leisure centre general manager