Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)
What is the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)?
The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) is the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and the regulator of vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. It is responsible for ensuring that all qualifications and assessment meet high quality standards by monitoring awarding organisations, assessments and examinations and taking the necessary action to ensure that the qualifications meet the needs of learners, higher education institutions and employers. The Ofqual is responsible to the Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Brief history of Ofqual
In 2007, Ed Balls who was at the time the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families announced replacement of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) with a new independent regulator and in April 2008, the new regulator started its interim work. The Ofqual was officially established with the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 when it was named as the regulator for qualifications, examinations and assessments. It started its work as an independent regulator on 1 April 2010.
The Ofqual Board
The Ofqual Board is responsible for compliance of the regulator with its statutory responsibilities. It also provides direction and leadership to the organisation. The current Chair of the Ofqual is Amanda Spielman. Other members of the Ofqual Board include Glenys Stacey who joined the Ofqual as Chief Executive in March 2011, Sandra Burslem acting as Deputy Chair, Ray Coughlin, Neil Watts, Dame Denis Holt, Maggie Galliers, Tim Balcon, Philip Fletcher, Barnaby Lenon, Anne Heal, Professor Julius Weinberg, Roger Taylor and Tom Taylor.
What Does the Ofqual Do?
The main “job” of the Ofqual is to ensure that the learners are provided an access to high quality qualifications which meet appropriate standards. This is achieved by monitoring the awarding bodies and taking action whenever and wherever there is a risk to quality. The Ofqual also makes sure that the qualification by awarding organisations are of comparable quality with other qualifications in the UK and overseas, that the candidates have an equal access to qualifications and assessment, and encouraging a debate about topics such as standards of qualifications.
The Ofqual in Northern Ireland
In addition to regulating qualifications, examinations and assessments in England, the Ofqual is also responsible for regulating vocational qualifications such as art in Northern Ireland. The Ofqual staff that is based in Belfast works closely with the Northern Ireland Government departments and organisations in order to make sure that all vocational qualifications meet the needs of the learners and employers.
Ofqual Contact Information
The Ofqual can be contacted via email and telephone from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Both the email and telephone number can be found on the official Ofqual website. Its headquarters are on the B4101 road in Coventry near the Canley railway station in London, while the Ofqual office for Northern Ireland is located on 6 Murray Street in Belfast.