Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS)
What is the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS)?
The Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS) is a department of the Welsh Government which amongst other also acts as the regulator of general and vocational qualifications in Wales. The DCELLS, however, is not responsible for regulating university degrees.
What Does the DCELLS Do?
The DCELLS regulates general and vocational qualifications in Wales. It does that by accrediting and monitoring the qualification programmes in order to ensure their compliance with the DCELLS criteria. The DCELLS also develops qualification frameworks and works with awarding bodies in order to make sure that they maintain the quality standards in awarding qualifications and assessments. Other responsibilities of the DCELLS include:
- making sure that all learners have an access to quality education and that their qualifications are correctly valued
- evaluation of awarding organisations
- recognition of awarding organisations
The DCELLS works closely with the England’s regulator, the Ofqual and Northern Ireland’s Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA). Together with the mentioned regulators, the DCELLS runs an accreditation system which ensures that all qualifications which are awarded by recognised awarding bodies meet appropriate standards and quality criteria.
How Does the DCELLS Regulate Qualifications?
The DCELLS regulates qualifications in two ways:
- accreditation and
Through accreditation of qualifications, the DCELLS ensures that the qualifications are of high quality and meet the appropriate standards before they become available to the learners. In order to make sure that the available qualifications maintain high quality and appropriate standards, the DCELLS monitors the awarding bodies after they have been accredited.
As the Wales’ regulator of general and vocational qualifications, the DCELLS is responsible for ensuring that all accredited units and qualifications meet specific criteria. Before accrediting units or qualification, the DCELLS carefully reviews the submitted proposals for accreditation in order to make sure that the unit or qualification programme has relevant content and appropriate methodology for assessment. Once the unit or qualification is accredited, it is listed in the Register of Regulated Qualifications. The DCELLS’ and awarding organisations’ job, however, does not end at accreditation of qualifications.
Once the proposed qualification has been accredited by the DCELLS, the latter looks closely at the qualifications quality and administration and has the power to withdraw the existing accredited qualification if the latter no longer meets appropriate standards and quality.