Introduction

Qualifications Wales is the independent regulator for non-degree level qualifications in Wales offered by recognised awarding bodies. We work closely with Welsh Government and others to make sure that qualifications, and the Welsh qualification system, are effective for meeting the reasonable needs of learners in Wales.

Our strategic priorities are intended to create a stronger, more robust and more resilient qualifications system that meets the needs of future generations.

These are the key themes underpinning our work over the next few years:

  • a Made-for-Wales focus - including securing a sustainable offer of high-quality bilingual qualifications
  • taking a dynamic evolutionary approach to qualifications so that they remain up-to-date and relevant to modern society
  • undertaking careful change management and stakeholder engagement to promote buy-in and deliver successful reforms
  • using our influence to promote modern and innovative assessment approaches
  • having learner wellbeing at the centre of our decisions

Getting recognised

Awarding bodies who offer qualifications other than degrees can choose to be recognised by Qualifications Wales.

If you want us to regulate all or some of your qualifications, you will need to apply to become a recognised awarding body

In order to get recognition, you will need to demonstrate that you meet our Criteria for General Recognition. If you wish to award GCSE or GCE qualifications, you will also need to demonstrate your ability to meet the Criteria for Recognition to Award GCSE / GCE Qualifications. Further information on our regulatory framework and approach is available here.

Benefits of becoming a recognised awarding body:

  • recognition provides confidence to qualification users that your organisation has the capacity and competence to develop and offer high-quality qualifications
  • you would be able to seek designation or approval for your qualifications, thereby making them eligible for use on publicly funded programmes of learning for learners under the age of 19
  • your qualifications will be listed on the QiW database - a key resource for those wanting to find a suitable qualification
  • certificates for regulated qualifications carry the Qualifications Wales logo

Please note: we only regulate qualifications other than degrees and do not regulate training courses or training providers.

Regulatory Framework and Approach

We are outward-looking, so we engage, communicate and collaborate to strengthen our ability to promote public confidence in the Welsh qualifications system and to meet the needs of learners in Wales.

In carrying out our regulatory duties we aim to make sure that we:

  • invite, listen and respond to the views of learners
  • listen and respond to stakeholder feedback, views and concerns appropriately
  • make sure that the way in which we make regulatory decisions and engage with stakeholders is proportionate to the potential impact of the regulatory action
  • our consultations are transparent and meaningful
  • take a collaborative approach and draw on the knowledge and expertise of stakeholders as appropriate
  • seek to establish and maintain effective relationships with key stakeholders
  • produce clear, informative, targeted and timely communications
  • review the impact of our communications and seek to find ways to improve our approach
  • work with other regulators wherever possible, being mindful of the impact on awarding bodies that are regulated by more than one regulator
  • carry out regulatory impact assessments as appropriate to assess the costs, benefits and risks associated with a policy or course of action

Our Regulatory Framework and Approach sets out in detail how we carry out our regulatory work.

Approval of qualifications

Qualifications Wales may approve qualifications that have been designed to meet the needs of learners in Wales.

The Priority Qualifications List is jointly prepared between Qualifications Wales and Welsh Government setting out qualifications that have been agreed as priorities for approval at a given time.

These may include qualifications for which specific approval criteria have been developed to meet the needs of Welsh learners. Those needs might, for example, be in relation to the Curriculum for Wales or to the specific requirements of the Welsh economy and employers.

The Priority Qualifications List also aims to identify qualifications that may be included on the list going forward. This enables early development of approval criteria for these qualifications and may give you notice of future priorities.

We also have the power to decide that some qualifications on the Priority Qualifications List should be restricted to a maximum number of versions which may be approved at any one time.

Designation of qualifications

Qualifications Wales may also designate a qualification as eligible for use on publicly funded programmes of learning for learners under the age of 19.

Designation means that we regulate the awarding body offering the qualification and that we are content that it is appropriate for the qualification to be offered on publicly funded courses for young people.

Monitoring process

We aim to ensure that our monitoring activities are transparent, accountable, proportionate and consistent, and targeted towards awarding bodies that pose the highest risk to the qualifications system in Wales.

We use a range of monitoring techniques to monitor awarding bodies against our Standard Conditions of Recognition - including:

  • regulatory update meetings
  • statement of compliance
  • statement of compliance follow-up monitoring activities
  • regulatory audits

We give sufficient notice to awarding bodies about our monitoring activities and provide the necessary preparatory information. If we identify shortcomings with individual awarding bodies, we write to them to highlight our concerns and require them to take action accordingly.

Welsh-medium qualifications

At Qualifications Wales we are committed to the Welsh language, and to increasing the availability of Welsh-medium qualifications.   

Wales is a bilingual nation with a strong ambition to increase the use of Cymraeg (the Welsh language). Our  Choice for All  strategy clearly sets out our commitment to Cymraeg and our aim to increase the availability of Welsh-medium qualifications. 

Since we launched our Choice for All strategy in 2020 – which aims to increase the availability of Welsh-medium qualifications – we have been clear that information about these qualifications needs to be widely shared and easily accessible. 

Regulatory requirements 

Condition D9 of our Standard Conditions of Recognition outlines our Conditions and requirements on recognised awarding bodies regarding Welsh-medium qualifications. 

In particular: 

  • an awarding body must make Approved qualifications available in Welsh 
  • an awarding body must make Designated qualifications available to pre-16 learners available in Welsh, in accordance with our Designation Policy, from September 2027 (or any date specified by us)
  • all awarding bodies are required to publish a policy statement setting out the extent to which they make qualifications available in Welsh 
  • where an awarding body makes qualifications available in Welsh, it must promote the availability of, and facilitate access to those qualifications 

To support compliance with these regulatory requirements, we have published Guidance for awarding bodies on Condition D9: Welsh-medium qualifications.  

Achieving our strategic aim will continue to require close collaboration and policy co-ordination across a wide range of stakeholders. We are committed to working together with awarding bodies to not only support them in complying with our rules but strengthening their ability to deliver the Cynnig Cymraeg. 

As part of our work to strengthen support for awarding bodies and improve the information available to learners, schools, and colleges on the availability of Welsh-medium qualifications, we have produced an interactive resource pack to support all awarding bodies to provide y Cynnig Cymraeg - the Active Offer in a proactive way. 

Inclusive qualifications

Qualifications Wales and CCEA Regulation have produced joint guidance on how qualifications can be designed to give all learners the fairest possible opportunities to show what they know, understand and can do.

Consideration of fair access early in the design of a qualification or assessment can help to reduce the need for subsequent modifications or adjustments. For more details, please read our Fair Access by Design guide.

Qualifications in Wales database

A recognised awarding body can apply to have qualifications approved or designated in Wales. To do so, you must create and submit a qualification on our Qualifications in Wales (QiW) database.

We will consider a qualification for approval if it is on the Priority Qualifications List or it meets the policy on the approval of non-priority qualifications; otherwise, we will consider it for designation.

Awarding Bodies Forum 2022

We organise an annual forum for awarding bodies where we provide insights into our work and key priorities.

Specifically tailored for recognised awarding bodies, our latest forum aimed to provide more information about on-going developments in Wales and a fuller insight into our strategic priorities for the next few years.

We had a top line-up of speakers from Qualifications Wales and Welsh Government as part of a busy agenda for the day:

At the event our attendees heard about:

  • roll-out of the 14-16 Curriculum in Wales and how to get involved
  • support we're providing for awarding bodies to promote and facilitate Welsh-medium qualifications
  • post-16 qualifications reform in Wales
  • Commission for Tertiary Education & Research
  • Welsh Government apprenticeship frameworks
  • our approach to digital assessment 

If you were unable to make the event - all the slides are available to download.

Correspondence

Please click here to for all recent letters that have been sent to Responsible Officers, Heads of Centres and other stakeholders.

Data Submissions

We collect data from all recognised awarding bodies for monitoring purposes and to produce official statistics. Information and guidance for submitting data can be found on our data submissions page. Data Submissions | Qualifications Wales

Use of the Qualification Wales Logo on Certificates

The document below explains how and when your awarding organisation should use our logos on certificates issued to learners.  

Qualifications Wales logos should be used on certificates for any qualifications that are regulated by Qualifications Wales.