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)