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Using this website

Last updated: 31 July 2009

The QCDA site has been designed to make it easy for you to find the information you want - whether you are an education professional, an employer, a learner or a member of the public. Use the links below to find out more about the features of the our website.

Accessibility standards
Search the QCDA website


Our content is relevant to education professionals, employers, parents and the general public. We have designed the site around a search-dominant model. This means that we anticipate that you have come to the site for a specific reason, and have a word or phrase that you are likely to search the site for. If this is not the case, you have the option to browse through any or all of the navigation routes on the site - see navigation section below.

If you are familiar with our work, you may know the specific content you need. You should be able to find it by simply searching for it using our Google Mini search engine. If you are new to QCDA you may want to look at About QCDA or browse through the "I am interested in..." section detailing the broad range of topics about which we have content.  With our home page re-design, you can now also follow the "find out about" links to some of our most popular content.

If you are a member of the press or are interested in the latest developments at QCDA or in the field of qualifications, you can use the News section. And don't forget, if you get stuck, or indeed if you have any comments, you can always Contact us.


The site is divided into three sections (represented by tabs in the 'header' area of each screen):

  • I am a...
    A way for you to identify yourself, or the particular 'hat' you are wearing as you browse our site

  • I am interested in...
    What topic are you looking for information about?

  • Type of information
    Are you specifically looking for a particular type of information or document - a speech, perhaps, a news release or a guidance document.

We have then subdivided each section into a list of main 'terms' and then subdivided further into a list of 'narrower terms'. As you browse through the site in this way you will be presented with a list (in appearance, just list a search results list) of pages that relate to the browse route you have chosen. You are then free to 'Refine your results' by any of the three sections, the subsequent list of terms and the subsequent list of narrower terms.

In addition, when you click on one of the search result or browse result links, you will be presented with appropriate content which may consist of more than one page. When this is the case, you will see further navigation either on the left hand side of the screen, or at the top of the page (or both).

Wherever you are on the site, there is an active breadcrumb trail on the site, which provides you links to previous sections that have taken you to then page you currently have on your screen.

Home page view

Browse route view

Search / Browse results view


Most content on the site is in plain text. Every page prints out neatly from the 'File' | 'Print' menu, or using the 'Print' button on your browser. Most downloads are in Adobe PDF format and should be viewable in all versions of Adobe Reader. If you do not have Adobe Reader on your machine, this is freely downloadable software available from the Adobe website. A small number of documents are in other formats, such as Microsoft Office formats, or lower common formats such as CSV or RTF. We have made every effort to ensure that you can view all our downloadable content in one format or another.

How to download PDF documents

To download, read or print from PDF files, you will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader software. If you are experiencing problems viewing or saving a PDF file, it might be as a result of the file opening up within your web browser window. A solution is to have PDF files open up in an Adobe Reader window. To do this, follow these instructions:

  • Close all web browser windows and launch Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Change the preferences within Adobe Reader:
    Version 4
    click on File > Preferences > General.
    Within the preferences dialogue box uncheck 'Web Browser Integration' in the bottom right, click OK and close the Acrobat Reader.
    Version 5
    click on Edit > Preferences > General> Options.
    Within the options dialogue box uncheck 'Display PDF in Browser', click OK and close the Acrobat Reader.
    Versions 6 and 7
    click on Edit > Preferences > Internet.
    Within the screen that appears uncheck 'Display PDF in Browser', click OK and close the Acrobat Reader.
  • Relaunch your web browser and attempt to access the PDF once again. The file should download and open up in a separate Adobe Acrobat Reader window. This should allow full access to all the tools associated with Adobe Reader.

To download PDF files to your computer (hard drive or network), right-click (PC) ctrl-click (Mac) on the link, then choose the ‘Save Target As...' option.


One of the features on the site is improved links which direct you to other relevant content you may find useful or more information from other government and non-government sites. You may see one or two sets of links on the right-hand menu. The top box ‘related links’ contains links to other content within QCDA Online. The lower box ‘External links’ contains links to external websites that are relevant to the content you are looking at.  Please note that the QCDA is not responsible for the content contained on these external sites.

Accessibility standards

In order to make this site accessible to the greatest possible number of people, QCDA has been working towards compliance with the government initiative on the Information Age. We are also working towards the W3C WAI "AA" standards.


The common browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. These are freely available at their respective websites so visitors may want to consider upgrading their browsers. Visitors should be aware, however, that QCDA Online is designed to be accessible to all browsers.

Search the QCDA website

The site includes a powerful search engine which helps you find the document or information you need.  There is a Search facility at the top of every page. Simply type in your word or phrase and click Search or hit Return.

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