Frameworks in England and Wales

National qualifications frameworks are recognised systems designed to provide a flexible and simple method for comparing qualifications.

The framework in England is called the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and qualifications in this framework are regulated by Ofqual.

In Wales it is the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW) and qualifications are regulated by Qualifications Wales.

Units and qualifications are allocated a credit and level, corresponding to their national framework. The level indicates the difficulty of the award (ranging from entry levels and then levels 1-8).  Total Qualification Time (TQT) and Credit are also allocated to each regulated qualification in England and Wales.  TQT and Credit measure the average length of time a learner will take to complete a unit (1 credit = notionally 10 hours).

Qualifications sometimes use the following terms in their title, as an indication of their size:

Changes to qualifications in England and Wales

These frameworks replace the previous Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), which was removed in September 2015.

While these changes mostly affect Awarding Bodies like SQA, you may notice some changes to terminology and information about qualifications delivered in England and Wales.

More detail on changes to Qualifications in England (124 KB)

Comparing qualifications across countries

Frameworks also help illustrate relationships between qualifications in England and Wales and those in the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond, which clarifies  opportunities for international progression routes. The RQF and the CQFW are referenced to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), meaning there is now an easy way to compare the level of qualifications of the countries in Europe who have developed their own National Qualifications Framework. For more information read the Qualifications Can Cross Boundaries Leaflet (804 KB)

Case studies and testimonials

As an organisation whose vision is to transform and empower individuals, we were seeking qualifications that would give learners transferable skills with a focus on personal and professional development. Today we are able to successfully fulfil this vision through SQA's qualifications. As an awarding body they have a distinct advantage as their qualifications are underpinned solely by quality and credibility.

In addition to this, their prompt and efficient response to any queries and their first-rate customer service has strengthened our confidence in SQA. We hope to evolve this relationship with SQA by embarking on new projects in the years to come.

Prasitha Menon, APeducation Online AP online logo

I can honestly say that the service that we get from SQA and in particular Theresa McGowan your Business Development Manager is second to none. One of the main reasons we use SQA as our awarding body is because of the quality and professionalism of the EVs.

Alan Appleyard, NSA

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the whole approach you take from a business development point of view. We deal with a number of awarding bodies and most of their business development staff do not always have a handle of what exactly we need from an awarding body.

It is very refreshing to note that not only have you got a good grasp of business development, but you obviously have a background of all aspects of what is involved in delivery of qualifications, from regulatory requirements to practical advice on how they should be delivered.

Your proactive approach and rapid response to our communications is very good and it allows us to determine to take the next stage forward of our own business development. You have a positive professional manner in everything you have done so far and we look forward to continue strengthening the collaborative working relationship for the benefit of both organisations.

Frank Kitcher, Director, Managing Director, ROVE Consultancy, Newcastle