Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Ofqual Part 2.

In my previous blog on this subject I was unable to verify (although I suspected) that WJEC the Welsh Examination body was actually regulated by Ofqual and not as you  would have expected, a body under the control of the Welsh Government. This is not in fact the case the WJEC is actually regulated by the DfES or the Department of Education and Skills in Westminster (if you believe Ofqual)  This information is not easy to find on Ofqual's website but this what it says:
The Register of Regulated Qualifications contains details of Recognised Awarding Organisations and Regulated Qualifications in England (Ofqual), Wales (DfES) and Northern Ireland (Ofqual for vocational qualifications and CCEA for all other qualifications).
So let's look at this in more detail Ofqual is responsible for regulating awarding organisations in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland period. Ofqual are:
" independent of government and report directly to parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly "
Apart from NVQ's other awarding bodies in Northern Ireland are regulated by their own body the CCEA
The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) was established on 1 April 1994 and is a non-departmental public body reporting to the Department of Education in Northern Ireland.
But what happens in Wales?, our Awarding bodies are apparently regulated by the Department of Education and Skills in Westminster, but where is the transparency and independence? Northern Ireland have their own CCEA, England have Ofqual which is an independent body answerable to Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly but no mention anywhere of the DfES being answerable to the National Assembly for Wales.

If on the other hand you believe the Welsh Government the WJEC is regulated by DCELLS (Leighton Andrews' Education Department) which states:

We (DCELLS) regulate general and vocational qualifications in Wales.  To do this we:
  • Recognise and monitor awarding organisations to make sure they operate fairly and consistently, and follow our regulations. We often do this jointly with the regulators in England (Ofqual) and Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA);
  • Work with awarding organisations to maintain standards in qualifications and assessments and to ensure that the public has confidence in the qualifications system;
  • Develop qualifications frameworks;
  • Support the provision of Welsh medium qualifications;
  • Ensure access for candidates with particular needs.
There is no mention anywhere on the WG website of the  DfES being responsible for regulation of awards in Wales.

It really makes you wonder whether DCELLS have in all practical sense handed over responsibility for regulation of awards to Ofqual and that is why we have the problem of 'raised barriers' and lower grades in English GCSE, both in England and Wales?

I wish someone somewhere would clarify how this system actually works, if of course there is someone who understands it! Perhaps its one for opposition education spokespersons to unravel during questions to Leighton Andrews.


Anonymous said...

DfES is the Dept of Education and Skills in the Welsh Government. Try this link and then head to "Qualifications and their regulation" at the foot of the page

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Yes I had seen it but I disagree the Education Dept of the Welsh Government is DCELLS not DfES (try googling DfES see what you get)