1st4sport Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Supporting the Delivery of Physical Education and School Sport (QCF)

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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.

This qualification is a mandatory component of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Physical Education and School Sport, offered in the Active Leisure footprint.The 1st4sport Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Supporting the Delivery of Physical Education and School Sport (QCF) develops knowledge and skills to allow individuals to support the delivery of physical education and school sport (PESS) programmes in a school sport environment. While it is delivered through the medium of PESS, the skills may be used by students aspiring to work in other sporting roles, such as coaching.

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). 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.

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 Supporting Delivery of Physical Education and School Sport supports the mandatory competence and knowledge requirement of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Physical Education and School Sport.

Awarding organisation
  • 1st4sport Qualifications
Qualification code

To qualify for the 1st4sport Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Supporting the Delivery of Physical Education and School Sport (QCF), students must successfully achieve 12 mandatory units. There are no optional units.

Learning is a combination of skills (work-based) and theory. Content has been developed by the Association for Physical Education and is supported by SkillsActive, the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning, and Well-being, and the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

Subject areas
  • Physical education
  • Communication and professional relationships with children, young people, and adults
  • Schools as organisations
  • Understand child and young person development
  • Understand how to safeguard the wellbeing of children and young people
  • Support assessment for learning
  • Plan physical education and school sport programmes
  • Deliver physical education and school sport programmes
  • Review the delivery of a physical education and school sport programme
  • Organise and lead a sports event or competition
  • Preparing for the mentoring role
  • Support gifted and talented learners
  • Facilitate community-based sport and physical activity
  • Level 3

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 12 mandatory units must be passed for a learner to be awarded the qualification.


This qualification is internally assessed in its entirety. 

Students are provided with pre-standardised assessment tools and templates, and centres provided with assessment guidance in order to assess that students work effectively. These tools and templates have been developed to ensure full coverage of the learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

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 the 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
283 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

This qualification is worth 54 credits.

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 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.

In respect of this qualification:

  • Students who have successfully achieved this qualification will have experience of operating in a school environment, planning and delivering physical education and school sport sessions.
  • They will also have an understanding of the teaching profession and possess a foundation knowledge of this area. The qualification would provide a good foundation for students looking to train as a teacher, particularly in this subject area.
  • This qualification is 283 GLH. If it is presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications, normally also as part of an apprenticeship structure 
  • Applicants for higher education may present this qualification 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 Jun 2013
Qualification dates notes

This is a current qualification.

Reporting and certification information

The results of this qualification are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not refect 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

The 1st4sport Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Supporting the Delivery of Physical Education and School Sport (QCF) prepares students for employment in a school sport setting, and provides opportunities for work as a physical education and school sport professional. This could include roles such as a Senior Children’s Activity Professional, a School Sport Volunteer, a School Sports Coach (when held in conjunction with one [or more] sports coaching qualifications), or a School Sports Leader.

The qualification can help students become a qualified teaching assistant (TA) or higher level teaching assistant (HLTA).

Five of the units form part of the Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (QCF) and the Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools (QCF). They also cover the underpinning knowledge and understanding for those working directly with children or young people in schools. Equally, the qualification would provide a sound base from which to enter a teacher training programme or degree in education.