Learners must retain option for unit-based learning

9 December 2014

Responding to the news that the QCF is to be scrapped next summer, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“Adults make the most of opportunities when they can learn flexibly and in ways that match what they want and need to learn. This announcement by Ofqual does not prevent qualifications retaining the accessibility, affordability and flexibility of unit-based delivery but it does remove the requirement. We will work with Awarding Organisations and learning providers to make sure that they recognise the demand and the power of a unit-based offer, particularly up to Level 2. We know through our work that this has been particularly effective for unemployed people and offenders and will work with adults who want and need to get back into learning.

“The unit-based approach is also illustrated by our current work with 16 pilot projects delivering the Citizens’ Curriculum. This is showing how a unit-based approach is a powerful way to tap into learners’ motivations and helps them progress and develop their skills and confidence to play a fuller part in society. We expect this to work even better as the Skills Funding Agency moves, over time, to support more non-regulated learning and outcome-based funding.

“Our work on the Skills Funding Agency’s Unit Delivery Research programme also shows that employers and the self-employed benefit from a unit-based approach. It allows them to target training on identified business needs, to see the impact of a unit before committing to funding full qualifications and recognise the award of credit as a testimony to employee achievement.

“We will work closely with Ofqual and Awarding Organisations to support these changes in the interests of learners who face massive barriers to get back into learning. We will also contribute to the very important technical consultation on the rules which will be needed to ensure that there is consistency between qualifications from different Awarding Organisations. This is vital because people, learners and employers need to remain confident that the qualifications they are buying and studying for are high quality and will be recognised.”