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 suite of qualifications provides students with a structured and challenging individualised learning programme that supports their development and progression in line with their future career plans.
They are the substantial qualification component of the study programme and designed to give students the skills, knowledge, and understanding of the sport and physical activity sector. They act as a stepping stone to a range of occupations often through the route of higher education.
- The NCFE Level 3 Introductory Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity is for students who wish to gain a brief understanding of the sector and develop general knowledge over a short period of time. This qualification will provide the student with an introduction to the career opportunities in the sport and physical activity sector.
- The NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity is for students who are looking to develop general knowledge and interpersonal skills to support them into higher education when taken as a programme of study.
- The NCFE Level 3 Diploma (540) in Sport and Physical Activity is designed as a one year, full-time course covering the skills, knowledge, and understanding to support progression either into employment or onto further study.
- The NCFE Level 3 Diploma (720) in Sport and Physical Activity is designed as part of a two year programme, usually in combination with other qualifications to support the aspirations of the student. This qualification will also support students who want to progress into higher education, ultimately leading the student into employment.
- The NCFE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity is designed as a full, two year programme for students who wish to develop their skills and knowledge of the sector. This qualification supports students interested in progressing to higher education.
- focus on the study of the sport and physical activity sector
- offer breadth and depth of study, through a choice of four specific pathways
- provide opportunities to acquire a number of practical and technical skills
The objectives of these qualifications are to:
- allow students to gain an in-depth understanding of the sport and physical activity sector
- give students the opportunity to investigate career opportunities in the sport and physical activity sector
- allow students to choose content which relates to their own interests, aspirations, and progression choices
All units are graded.
Each unit of the qualifications is graded using a structure of Not Yet Achieved, Pass, Merit, and Distinction.
The final grade for the qualifications is based on a structure of Not Yet Achieved, Pass, Merit, Distinction, and Distinction*.
The final grade is calculated by combining the UMS scores for each unit. The total UMS is then converted into a grade based on fixed thresholds.
Please refer to the qualification specifications for further information on grading.
Grades in descending order:
- Distinction *
- Not Yet Achieved
- 100% of the qualifications are internally assessed
- The internal assessment is internally assessed and externally quality assured via a portfolio of evidence
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.
This suite of qualifications has been developed in partnership with employers, universities, and other subject experts to ensure the content is current and relevant.
Level 3 criteria require students to analyse, draw conclusions, interpret, or justify, which are all examples of higher level skills. This means that evidence provided for the portfolio will also demonstrate the development and use of higher level learning skills.
Students may combine the Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity with other qualifications, e.g. A levels or other vocational qualifications.
Suitable degree courses may include:
- degree in sport and exercise science
- degree in outdoor adventure or leadership
- degree in sport and leisure
Please refer to the relevant qualification specification on the NCFE website for further information about these qualifications.