Vocational qualifications

Regulated Qualifications Framework

The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) aims to provide a single, simple system for cataloguing all qualifications approved by the government qualifications regulator Ofqual.

Qualifications in the RQF are categorised by their level and size.

Qualifications at any specific level can be very different from one another (for example in terms of their content and purpose) and Ofqual maintains a Register of Regulated Qualifications that provides more detail on each qualification.

Qualification levels indicate the difficulty and complexity of the knowledge and skills associated with any qualification. There are eight levels supported by three entry levels. While most qualifications will be assigned a single level some, such as GCSEs, can span more than one.

Qualification size refers to the estimated total amount of time it could typically take to study and be assessed for a qualification. This can be anything from a matter of hours to several years of study and different students can take different amounts of time to study for the same qualification. Size is expressed in terms of Total Qualification Time. The part of that time typically spent being taught or supervised, rather than studying alone, is known as Guided Learning Hours.

Qualifications can sit at different levels, but require similar amounts of study and assessment time. Equally, qualifications at the same level can take different amounts of study and assessment time.

The RQF replaced the Qualifications and Credit Framework and the National Qualifications Framework in October 2015.

You can check whether any qualification you are taking is in the RQF and get information about the level and  size of your qualification by searching the RQF Register.