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Ofqual - Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation

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Accreditation requirements of 'IGCSE' qualifications for pre-16 students

On June 7 2010, the Government announced it was lifting restrictions that stopped state schools from offering IGCSE qualifications in key subjects.

The Regulators in England, Wales and Northern Ireland welcome innovation and choice in qualifications and therefore we have set out guidance on new submissions for accreditations for these qualifications.

It is important to emphasise that no qualifications carrying the title IGCSE have been accredited by the regulators (Ofqual, DCELLS and CCEA) and there are no existing criteria for this qualification type.

The awarding organisation University of Cambridge International Examinations has an accredited range of qualifications titled Cambridge International Certificates, which are referred to as ‘Cambridge IGCSE’ qualifications. Many of these qualifications can be used by state schools.

The announcement from the Government provides the opportunity for University of Cambridge International Examinations and any other awarding organisation to develop or submit similar qualifications for accreditation so that they may be made available to state schools.

The regulators have agreed that the following arrangements will be employed during the review of all submissions for accreditation of qualifications in a subject at Level 1/2 of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) where GCSE qualifications currently exist:

Accreditation tools:

Proposals should be submitted as Other General Qualifications (OGs) via the Web Based Accreditation System (WBA) or, after 25 October 2010, via the new Regulatory IT System (RITS).

The three countries’ regulators will continue to accredit submissions against the General Criteria as contained in the Statutory Regulations of External Qualifications (2004) with reference to other Level 1/2 qualifications (including GCSE) in the same subject to make judgements about content (in terms of volume and demand) and assessment (level of demand).

No requirements will be placed on submissions that arise from Programmes of Study, GCSE Qualification Criteria or Subject Criteria, (for example, the requirement for Controlled Assessment and limits to the weighting of internal assessment).

Title of qualifications:

The title ‘IGCSE’ will not be accepted for accreditation purposes at this time. There are no criteria for this title and it could therefore be confusing to users, creating an expectation of consistency with GCSE requirements that may be unfounded. The title ‘certificate’ would be accepted and awarding organisations are free to propose other titles.

The title should contain information about the subject studied and, where the skills requirements are less than that expected at GCSE, an indication of the skills covered, e.g. Level 2 Certificate French Reading and Writing.


Where skills requirements intrinsic to the subject are not evident in the submissions but cannot be easily excluded from the qualification title, e.g. practical skills in science, awarding organisations must ensure coverage of those skills in the assessment or ensure that the title accurately reflects what is being assessed.

For further information about the accreditation of qualifications, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Regulatory Information Technology System (RITS)

The Regulatory Information Technology System (RITS) allows you to upload documents for accreditation and monitoring, and submit details of regulated units and qualifications.

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