I know we’ve only just got our heads around the move from NVQs to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) but we will soon have to move with the times again and get used to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).
The RQF will replace the QCF from 1 January 2018 but anyone who has enrolled to do a QCF qualification before this date can continue their study. I appreciate that if you are a social care employer or manager you already have a lot on your plate so we aim to provide you with as much information about the transition as we can between now and then. Another bit of good news is that the changes being made at the moment are mainly for awarding organisations and learning providers rather than employers and learners.
However, I thought that it might be a good time to give you a bit more information about what is and what isn’t changing.
What is changing?
The biggest change is that the new framework gives awarding organisations the flexibility to create, review, refresh or replace existing qualifications. The rules and structure of the QCF have disappeared which allows them to focus on outcomes, the purpose of the qualification and innovation.
Ofqual likes to describe the RQF as similar to a library bookcase, it allows you to index qualifications based on their level and size, which should make it easier to understand. The higher the qualification, the greater the complexity and difficulty of the skills and knowledge associated with the qualification. There are eight levels in total which are supported by three entry levels as not all qualifications can be assigned to a single level. The ‘size’ is based on the estimated amount of time it is believed it will take a learner to study, complete and be assessed for the qualification.
Something that I think will be welcomed with open arms is that unlike previous systems, there is no set deadline for completing qualifications, learners can finish them at their own pace. I’m hoping that this will mean that more people will opt to do a qualification as it can fit around their busy schedules without the pressure of a deadline.
What is staying the same?
A range of high quality qualifications will still be available to meet the learning needs of those working in social care. In social care familiar levels and titles will stay for familiar qualifications, such as the awards, certificates and diplomas at levels 2, 3, 4 and 5. Qualifications can still be made up of units, so that learners can progress step by step.
Social care employers will still be able to claim money from the Workforce Development Fund for RQF qualifications.
We are continuing to work with awarding organisations to make sure qualifications meet the needs of employers, learners, and most importantly; those accessing care and support. You can find a list of approved RQF qualifications on our website and you can search all regulated qualifications using the new Government register.
2018 will be a year of great change for us all but I think it is a change for the better due to the greater emphasis on what the qualification outcomes mean in practice. Exciting times!