NCFE Level 3 Sport and Physical Activity suite

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

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.

Countries
  • England
  • Wales
Purpose

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.

These qualifications:

  • 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
Education context

These qualifications are designed for post-16 students 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 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.

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 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.


These qualifications form part of a study programme. Study programmes normally include substantial academic or applied and technical qualifications, together with non-qualification activity including work experience, and the study of English and mathematics where students do not hold a GCSE graded A* – C in these subjects.

Awarding organisation
  • NCFE
Qualification codes
601/8877/7 (NCFE Level 3 Introductory Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity)
601/8878/9 (NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity)
601/8881/9 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma (540) in Sport and Physical Activity)
601/8882/0 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma (720) in Sport and Physical Activity)
601/8883/2 (NCFE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity)
Structure
  • Each qualification has three mandatory units, and students must choose a number of optional units:
  • Introductory Certificate: three mandatory units
  • Certificate: three mandatory units + three optional units
  • Diploma (540): three mandatory units + six optional units
  • Diploma (720): three mandatory units + nine optional units
  • Extended Diploma: three mandatory units + 15 optional units
Subject areas
  • Sport and exercise science(s)
  • Outdoors
  • Working in sport and leisure
  • Sports coaching
  • Sport and physical activity
Levels
  • Level 3
  • EQF Level 4

Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales, though many may be offered on a three-country basis.

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

Grading

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 *
  • Distinction
  • Merit
  • Pass
  • Not Yet Achieved
Assessment
  • 100% of the qualifications are internally assessed
  • The internal assessment is internally assessed and externally quality assured via a portfolio of evidence
Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

The internal assessment contributes to 100% of the overall qualification grade.

Resit arrangements

Students who are not successful can resubmit work within the registration period.

Guided/notional learning hours
NCFE Level 3 Introductory Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity (601/8877/7): 180 hours
NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity (601/8878/9): 360 hours
NCFE Level 3 Diploma (540) in Sport and Physical Activity (601/8881/9): 540 hours
NCFE Level 3 Diploma (720) in Sport and Physical Activity (601/8882/0): 720 hours
NCFE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity (601/8883/2): 1080 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

Total Qualification Time (TQT)

  • Introductory Certificate: 210 TQT
  • Certificate: 420 TQT
  • Diploma (540): 630 TQT
  • Diploma (720): 840 TQT
  • Extended Diploma:1,260 TQT
UCAS Tariff points

NCFE Level 3 Introductory Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity

Grade Points
D* 28
D 24
M 16
P 8

NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity

Grade Points
D* 56
D 48
M 32
P 16

NCFE Level 3 Diploma (540) in Sport and Physical Activity

Grade Points
D* 84
D 72
M 48
P 24

NCFE Level 3 Diploma (720) in Sport and Physical Activity

Grade Points
D* 112
D 96
M 64
P 32

NCFE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity

Grade Points
D* 168
D 144
M 96
P 48

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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.

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
Timing of assessments/results for learners

Students are assessed throughout their programme of learning and may submit their portfolio of evidence at any point.

Grades are provided on a rolling basis.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Sep 2016
Qualification dates notes

This suite of qualifications is current.

Reporting and certification information

The results of these qualifications are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

View the results available through ABL.

Certification of these qualifications is reported on the basis of the number of certificates achieved over a 12-month period. Data is provided to Ofqual.

Progression information

Students who achieve these qualifications could progress to:

  • NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training
  • NCFE Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Personal Training
  • NCFE Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Outdoor Programmes
  • NGB outdoor coaching or instructor qualifications
  • NGB coaching awards
  • apprenticeships in various sectors in sport and physical activity
  • advanced apprenticeship in sports development or fitness
  • degree in sport and exercise science
  • degree in outdoor adventure or leadership
  • degree in sport and leisure

Students can progress from a Certificate to a Diploma, but centres must carefully consider which qualification they want to register the student onto, as the registration fee will be applied for both qualifications.

Further information

Please refer to the relevant qualification specification on the NCFE website for further information about these qualifications.

www.ncfe.org.uk/