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The Dearing Review; Review of Qualifications for 16-19 year olds, Sir Ron Dearing, published 1986

The report was designed to consider and advise government on ways to strengthen, consolidate and improve the framework of 16-19 qualifications. The aim was to encourage greater parity of esteem between academic and vocational qualifications.

Adult vocational qualifications review: England, UK Commission for Employment and Skills and The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, published on 8 November 2013

The review analysed the system for vocational qualifications in England to identify areas that required improvement and made recommendations for reform. The report called for a system in which employers and unions work in partnership with well-regulated awarding organisations and flexible training providers to design, develop and deliver qualifications that provide growth for employers and progression for learners.

Review of vocational education: the Wolf report, Department for Education and Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, First published: 3 March 2011, updated 26 September 2014

The seminal Wolf Review considers how vocational education for 14- to 19-year-olds can be improved in order to promote successful progression into the labour market and into HE or training. 

Three papers are gathered here; the original Wolf Report, the government response to the Wolf review which was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government and lastly the recommendations and final progress report published in February 2015.

SFA Funding Rules, Skills Funding Agency, various publication dates

The web pages are listed according to funding years. They set out the rules for publicly funded colleges, training organisations, local authorities and employers (FE providers) that offer education and skills training. There are links to documents containing the funding rules which apply to all adult education budget funded provision as well as for apprenticeships.

SFA: register of training organisations, Skills Funding Agency, published on 25th January 2017

The register of training organisations is the SFA’s list of organisations that deliver education and training services or deliver information, advice and guidance (including for the National Careers Service). The training organisations operate in SFA’s supply chain as subcontractors, with an aggregated contract value of £100,000 or more. This is regularly updated so ensure you are looking at the latest version.

General Conditions of Recognition, Ofqual, published 8th June 2016

Originally published in November 2014, this June 2016 edition supersedes previous issues. It newly contains condition D9 which is “Compliance with saving and transitional provisions following cessation of accreditation”. There are also changes as a result of the end of Ofquals role as the regulator of vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland.

Ofqual's Corporate Plan for 2016 to 2019, Ofqual, published 1st April 2016, applies to England

Outlines Ofquals’ comprehensive programme of work, comprising 3 goals and 7 objectives, to fulfil their statutory duties over the period 2016 to 2019. Goal 2, the regulating vocational and other qualifications, is of particular interest to awarding organisations.

Links are also provided to the two previous corporate plans. 

Vocational and Other Qualifications Quarterly, Ofqual, applies to England, Northern Ireland, and Wales

Ofqual publishes these bulletins every quarter. They cover all vocational and other types of qualifications (excluding GCSEs, AS and A levels, and the Diploma and its components) in England, Wales & Northern Ireland. The url links provided here cover the quarters from January 2015 to September 2016. This information is valuable for awarding organisations. It provides market intelligence and information on product availability. It also enables comparisons of market share and provides data on competitor activity.


FE data library: vocational qualifications archive, Skills Funding Agency, published 24th March 2016

An archive of quarterly statistics showing the numbers of vocational qualification achievements from entry level to level 8, from October 2005 to September 2015.

Further education and skills: November 2016, Department for Education and Skills Funding Agency, published on 17 November 2016

Statistics about learner participation, outcomes and highest qualification held in further education and skills, reported for November 2016.

This release provides final full-year information on post-16 learner participation and achievements in further education (FE) and skills for the academic year 2015 to 2016.

There is also a url link to the first quarter statistics (August to October 2016) for the academic year 2016/17

Reliability of assessment: compendium, Ofqual, published 16th May 2013 for England, Northern Ireland, and Wales

Research papers published as Ofqual's 'Reliability Compendium' looking at the reliability of education assessment.

It is Ofqual’s job to make sure that candidates get the results they deserve, and that their qualifications are valued and understood in society. Ensuring examination reliability is a key part of this - making sure that candidates obtain a fair result. This consistency of exam results is referred to as reliability: the repeatability of results from one assessment to the next.