1st4sport Level 3 Sports Performance suite

Qualification codes
601/4158/X (Level 3 Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance QCF)
601/4176/1 (Level 3 Certificate in Understanding Sports Performance QCF)

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 1st4sport Level 3 Certificates in Sports Performance provide students with the opportunity to gain the knowledge, understanding, credit and a qualification in:

  • performing within the elite sports training and competition environment, specifically within their chosen sport (for the Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance)
  • understanding how an elite sports performer needs to operate in, and contribute to, the training environment in their chosen sport (for the Certificate in Understanding Sports Performance).

The qualifications are currently the knowledge component of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence.

They are only available to students who are engaged in this apprenticeship programme.


Pass, Fail.


Students are required to provide evidence to show they can meet all the learning outcomes and assessment criteria of each unit.

For the Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance this will generally be done by direct assessor observation of the learner performing in a real (non-simulated) training or competition environment, or both.

For the Certificate in Understanding Sporting Excellence this will generally be done by the assessor questioning the learner orally. However, other techniques, such as projects, assignments and/or reflective accounts may also be appropriate.

Assessment is carried out by an appropriately qualified assessor and verified by internal and external verifiers.

Assessment tasks and activities chosen should enable students to produce sufficient, authentic, current, valid and reliable evidence that relates directly to the specified criteria. Any assessment tasks and activities created must go through internal quality assurance prior to being used.

As the Certificate for Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance is about the learner demonstrating their competence, most of the evidence should come from observation of their training and competition environments or looking at other forms of evidence from the learner’s real work that show how they meet the standard, or both.

All assessments must be conducted in line with the 1st4sport Level 3 Certificate in Understanding Sports Performance (QCF) Assessor/Verifier Guidance to Delivery and Assessment.

Further information

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 stody programme or an apprenticeship.
  • If they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.

The Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance (AASE) apprenticeship programme, which this qualification contributes to, has been available for from August 2014. There are current students on the programme who will be applying to higher education for September 2016.

This qualification will be completed with the 1st4sport Level 3 Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance (QCF) as part of Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE). Additionally students normally combine this qualification/apprenticeship with other DfE performance table qualifications such as A levels, applied general and tech level qualifications.

Further information can be found at: