The world of Further Education can be confusing enough without adding a load of acronyms to the mix. You are probably quite familiar with QCF, as this has been around for a long time now. It has actually now been replaced with RQF, but before we go into more detail about that let’s run through what QCF was and why it has been replaced.
What was QCF?
Qualification Credit Framework (QCF) was introduced by Ofqual back in 2010 (wow, was it really 10 years ago?!). It was designed to allow all vocational qualifications to be regulated, in the form of a ‘credit’ system.
Many of the Health & Social care courses, such as the Level 2 Diploma in Health & Social Care (Adults) have QCF within the course title so you may have seen the acronym there. Alternatively, if you completed your CAVA assessor qualification prior to 2010, you may have the following listed on your certificate: Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (QCF).
How did the QCF work?
So now you understand what QCF means, let’s have a look at the system itself:
- Each vocational qualification has a credit value.
- Every vocational qualification comprises of units (a mixture of mandatory and optional).
- Each unit within each vocational qualification has a specific amount of guided learning hours (GLH) assigned to it.
- Each unit within the vocational qualification is worth a specific amount of credits.
- In order to meet the credit value for the vocational qualification, the learner picks optional units. These credits add to the mandatory units to make up the total.
We hope that makes sense, we know it is a lot to take in at a time! You may be wondering why we are even bothering to mention QCF as it was scrapped a long time ago. Even though this has now been replaced by the RQF, whilst the qualifications were being transferred over there was still an overlap. So technically you could register onto QCF qualifications up until the 31st December 2017. Also, for those of you who are struggling to find a QCF qualification hopefully you will now understand why – they have been replaced!
The replacement – the RQF
Another acronym, but trust us, it is an important one. The Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) was, according to Ofqual, designed to be a ‘simple and descriptive framework’. It is used to manage all qualifications regulated by Ofqual – including the QCF and the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
The idea was to replace both the QCF and NQF with one framework to help standardise all qualifications, making it easier to measure them. The one thing that was still missing from the RQF was how to link general and vocational qualifications together. That is where we said goodbye QCF, hello TQT.
What is TQT?
Total Qualification Time (TQT) is pretty much what it states – the minimum number of hours a typical learner will take to complete the respective qualification. It takes into account both the study time the learner has with and without their assessor.
In essence, it has replaced Guided Learning Hours (GLH) which was used to measure the size of the QCF qualifications. According to Ofqual, GLH had ‘not always been based on a common approach and were excessive in some cases’. They have not been totally scrapped though, as they now form part of the TQT.
We really hope that has helped to clear up all of the confusing acronyms. Just to summarise, here are the key ones to be aware of:
- QCF = the old Ofqual framework used to store and manage the vocational qualifications they regulate
- RQF = the new Ofqual framework used to store and manage the vocational qualifications they regulate
- GLH = the old measurement of the size of qualifications on the QCF
- TQT = the new measurement of the size of qualifications on the RQF
If you have any further questions on any of the frameworks or information included in this blog, please feel free to contact our expert team for help and advice.