Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) of the Department for Children, Schools and Families in the United Kingdom. In England QCA maintains and develops the national curriculum and associated assessments, tests and examinations, advising the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, on these matters.

QCA oversees the work of the awarding bodies in England, to ensure that their administration, marking and awarding procedures run smoothly. The QCA also has responsibility for vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland.

Education and qualifications in other parts of the United Kingdom are the responsibility of devolved governments and agencies. In Scotland, for example, the Scottish Qualifications Authority is the responsible body.

QCA works closely with its main strategic partners, including the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) , employers' organisations, the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) and the Sector Skills Councils (SSC).

QCA also collaborates with the other public qualification agencies in the UK: the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC) and the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment in Northern Ireland (CCEA).

QCA is based in Piccadilly, London. The organisation plans to re-locate to Coventry in 2009.

On 26 September 2007, DCSF announced that the regulatory functions of the QCA were to become statutorily independent with the creation of a new body, Ofqual.

On 8 April 2008, Ofqual began work as the independent regulator of exams and tests in England. The government will be bringing in legislation to establish Ofqual as the regulator of qualifications.

Until this legislation is passed, they will operate as part of the QCA. Afterwards, the regulator will be accountable to Parliament rather than to government ministers.

The work of QCA will then transfer to a new agency, the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA).

History

QCA was formed on 1 October 1997 through a merger of the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) and the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA). QCA has additional powers and duties granted to it by the Education Act 1997, which established the role of the QCA. Under Section 24 of this Act, QCA was granted the right to regulate all external qualifications in England.

In April 2004, QCA launched the National Assessment Agency to take over its role in the delivery and administration of National Curriculum assessments.

Responsibilities and areas

QCA maintain and develop the national curriculum and associated assessments, tests and examinations as well as accrediting qualifications in colleges and at work. They also regulate awarding bodies and exams to ensure they are fit for purpose.

External links

* [http://www.qca.org.uk/ QCA website]


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