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How we regulate

In this section you can find out more about our regulatory aims, codes of practice, regulatory guidance and criteria.

We monitor awarding organisations to make sure the way they operate is fair, consistent and follows our regulations. We also monitor exam fees so that schools, colleges and other centres can be confident they are fair. We want our decisions to be clear and understandable and will intervene when necessary when there is a risk to the fairness of the system or to an individual learner.

Boys painting

National curriculum key stages

The national curriculum is organised into blocks of years called 'key stages'. 'Foundation stage' covers education for children before they reach five (compulsory school age).


Becoming an awarding organisation

In order to offer accredited qualifications awarding organisation must be recognised by the regulators of external qualifications. The regulators check that the awarding body has the necessary systems in place to deliver national qualifications effectively and to appropriate standards.

Developing qualifications

Once an awarding organisation is recognised they can develop qualifications and submit them to the regulator for accreditation (approval). Before beginning the development process awarding bodies should contact Ofqual.

Qualifications accreditation process

Awarding organisations submit their qualifications for accreditation by the regulator via the web based accreditation system. The regulators check that the qualifications meet the required criteria before accrediting them.

Administering examinations

Awarding organisations must comply with the statutory regulations for external qualifications and the relevant code of practice.