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 qualifications are not graded and none of the units are graded. Students pass or fail the units and the qualifications.
The assessment for these qualifications must comply with the current Skills CFA Assessment Strategy (Skills CFA is the former name for Instructus Skills).
The assessment for these qualifications is wholly internal. There is no mandatory synoptic assessment although centres may choose to devise assessments which cover more than one unit. The assessment is internally quality assured by the centre and externally quality assured by NOCN.
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.
- These qualifications are between 282 and 432 GLH. If they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.
Links to the Qualification Specifications are: