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.
- Northern Ireland
Vocational qualifications are either work-related qualifications designed to enable learners 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 learners.
The 1st4sport Level 3 Certificates in Sports Performance provide learners 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 learners who are engaged in this apprenticeship programme.
These qualifications are designed for post-16 learners 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 learners 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 learners), 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.
- 1st4sport Qualifications
Both qualifications comprise nine mandatory units of assessment.
To qualify for the 1st4sport Level 3 Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance learners must successfully achieve 26 credits from all mandatory units.
To qualify for the 1st4sport Level 3 Certificate in Understanding Sports Performance (QCF), learners must successfully achieve 29 credits from all mandatory units.
Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance
- Develop own technical skills to achieve excellence in a sport.
- Develop own tactical skills to achieve excellence in a sport.
- Develop own physical capability to achieve excellence in a sport.
- Develop own nutritional programme to achieve excellence in a sport.
- Develop own psychological skills to achieve excellence in a sport.
- Manage own lifestyle to achieve excellence in a sport.
- Develop own career in a sport.
- Communicate effectively with other people to achieve excellence in a sport.
- Work in a healthy and safe way at training and competition venues
Certificate in Understanding Sports Performance
- Understanding technical skills to achieve excellence in sport.
- Understanding tactical skills to achieve excellence in sport.
- Understanding physical capability to achieve excellence in sport.
- Understanding nutrition to achieve excellence in sport.
- Understanding psychological skills and attitudes in relation to excellence in sport.
- Understanding lifestyle to achieve excellence in sport.
- Understanding how to develop own career in sport.
- Understanding communication and teamwork to achieve excellence in sport.
- Understanding health and safety at training and competition venues
- 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.
Learners 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 learners 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.
Learners must successfully achieve all units in order to achieve the qualification.
Learners will only achieve a pass if they are successful in all nine units.
The recognised centre is required to ensure that learners 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.
For comparison an A level is 360 glh.
1st4sport Level 3 Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance
1st4sport Level 3 Certificate in Understanding Sports Performance
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 learners 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 learners 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 learners normally combine this qualification/apprenticeship with other DfE performance table qualifications such as A levels, applied general and tech level qualifications.
Learners undergo continuous assessment during the programme.
Assessment outcomes are communicated to learners at the time of assessment and reported to 1st4sport at the successful completion of the assessment programme.
1st4sport Qualifications send certificates to centres for distribution to successful learners within 20 working days of a certification request being made.
The results of these qualifications 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.
Learner achievement and certification information is uploaded to the Learning Record Store for learners whose personal data includes a ULN.
Learners can progress from this qualification into further study in the sports performance or sports coaching environment.
The qualifications can lead to higher education in conjunction with other qualifications.
Learners may also progress into a career as a professional athlete or into support roles in the elite sports environment.
Further information can be found at: