V Certs FAQs
What is a V Cert?
V Certs is our brand name for the new generation of our qualifications for schools. We developed these new qualifications following government changes to GCSE-equivalent qualifications which came into effect at the end of the 2012-13 academic year. V Cert qualifications have been developed in-line with the Department for Education (DfE) technical guidance to be equivalent to one GCSE. V Cert qualifications are graded and contain both internally and externally assessed elements. Each V Cert qualification is equivalent to one GCSE. V Certs are recognised by DfE as Technical Awards.
Which vocational qualifications can my school deliver?
Schools can deliver any existing age-appropriate qualification; see Section 96 for further information. However, if you are looking for qualifications that are included in the Key Stage 4 performance tables then you will need to choose a qualification from the list published by the DfE. Our V Cert qualifications are on the DfE list and each is equivalent to 1 GCSE.
Why should I do a V Cert?
V Certs provide project and theme based learning and assessment which gives you flexibility for teaching and learning options. They have exemplar internal assessments for the internal units can be customised by you. V Certs have no mandatory staff training which means flexibility to organise departmental CPD. They meet all regulatory and DfE requirements for rigour and balanced assessment. V certs are equivalent to one GCSE in the school performance tables count as part of the “other approved qualifications” element of Progress 8 are between 120-150 Guided Learning Hours (GLH) so fit neatly into GCSE timetables. They are supported by a network of External Quality Assurer and examiners. They aid development of pupils’ Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS). V Certs allow pupils to further develop and demonstrate Literacy and Numeracy skills.
How are V Certs assessed?
Current Level 1 V Cert qualifications are internally assessed and External Quality Assured. Level 2 V Cert qualifications have all been developed to have internally assessed units and one externally assessed unit. There is a requirement moving forward that all V Certs at Level 1 and Level 2 must have external assessment.
How are V Certs graded?
The qualifications are graded Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction*. Pupils can achieve a Pass, Merit or Distinction for each unit at both Level 1 and 2.The unit grades are aggregated to form the final overall qualification grade. A Distinction* grade will be awarded to learners who have consistently achieved a Distinction grade in every unit which demonstrates the learners’ exceptional knowledge, understanding and skill at either Level 1 or Level 2. Each qualification specification details how the qualification grade is aggregated. Please see the qualification specifications for each subject on the V Cert Qualifications page.
Do V Certs have an external assessment?
Current Level 1 V Certs don’t have an element of external assessment. Any new Level 1 qualifications submitted for consideration for the 2017 list will have an element of external assessment. Level 2 V Certs do have an element of external assessment. The external assessment is on one unit of the qualification. Please refer to the relevant Qualification Specification to identify the unit that is externally assessed. The external assessment will test learners on their knowledge, understanding and skills. The unit content must be delivered to learners prior to them sitting the external assessment. Please see section 2 of the qualification specification for subject specific information on the external assessment.
When can pupils sit the external assessment?
There are 2 marking windows throughout the year. For guidance on conducting external assessments please refer to the Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment for V Certs.
Will pupils be able to resit the external assessment if they do not achieve or wish to revise/redraft their work?
Pupils are entitled to one resit for the external assessment. To enter a learner for a resit, centres must enter their learners for the chosen marking window. Only one resit opportunity is allowed.
Will pupils be able to resit an internally assessed unit if they do not achieve or wish to revise/redraft their work?
Pupils are entitled to one resubmission per unit for the internally assessed units. This will need to be assessed, graded and internally Quality Assured. The centre will be required to resubmit the unit grade to us for further quality assurance.
How many External Quality Assurer visits do I get?
You are entitled to 2 free visits per academic year from your External Quality Assurer. You can request additional visits from your Customer Support Advisor however these are chargeable.
What happens if my external assessment is affected by bad weather ie I have to close my centre due to adverse weather conditions?
As the external assessments take place within a marking window, it would be down to the school to rearrange the session that was affected. All external assessment sessions would still need to take place within the marking window. If you have any concerns about this please contact the External Quality Assurance team.
What happens if I haven’t received my assessment papers before the scheduled marking window?
You should contact your Customer Support Advisor as soon as possible or call 0191 239 8822.
Tell me about Performance Points
The list of all qualifications that attract performance points can be found on the DfE website. These are updated every year, usually in November/December.
What are the discount codes for the V Certs?
Qualifications are assigned a discount code by the Department for Education (DfE) to show where one qualification discounts the other because the content of each qualification is deemed too similar. If a pupil completes 2 qualifications that have the same discount code, although the pupil still gains both qualifications, only 1 of those qualifications will count towards the Key Stage 4 Performance Tables. For example, if a pupil completes both GCSE Art and Design and the V Cert in Art and Design, only one of these qualifications will count in the Performance Tables. These are updated by the DfE every year and should be checked at RAISEonline. See our Subject Areas page and check the relevant subject pages for further information.
In relation to the early entry policy, which V Cert qualification will count towards the Key Stage 4 Performance Tables?
Qualifications taken from Year 7 onwards can count in the Key Stage Performance Tables once the pupil reaches the end of Key Stage 4. However, the early entry policy comes in to effect from Year 9. This means if a pupil completes a Level 1 qualification in Year 7 or 8 and completes the Level 2 qualification in Year 9 or 10, then the best result from either the Level 1 or Level 2 qualification will count in the Performance Tables. However, if the pupil completes both the Level 1 and Level 2 qualification in Year 9 or later, then it is the first entry that will be reported in the Performance Tables.
What if my pupils are studying a V Cert at a local college, who gets the points?
The performance points are assigned to the school where the pupil is enrolled.
What are the occupational competence requirements to deliver V Certs?
Each qualification specification provides guidance on the experience and qualifications needed to deliver and assess the qualification but it isn’t intended to be exhaustive or definitive. Examples of relevant qualifications and occupational backgrounds are given as benchmarks. Other equivalent qualifications or backgrounds may also qualify prospective staff for delivery or assessment roles. Centres must provide sufficient numbers of suitably experienced Assessors and Internal Quality Assurer to ensure that qualifications are delivered effectively. Staff recruitment should be made at the discretion of centres, and centres should be aware that it’s their responsibility to ensure that all staff involved in the delivery and assessment of our qualifications are suitably qualified. Each subject specific qualification specification can be found on the qualification pages.
Does Direct Claim Status (DCS) apply to V Certs?
DCS does not apply to V Certs as the assessment methodology is different for these qualifications. It may be something that we consider in future.
How can I get started delivering V Certs?
Please refer to the our Guide on getting started with V Certs.
What does 'Operational End Date' mean?
The Operational End Date is the last date that we can accept registrations for a qualification. The qualifications will be reviewed before this date with the intention of extending the accreditation period, pending further review of the qualifications by the Department for Education (DfE). You’ll still have 2 years from the operational end date to claim your certificates.
Are there any resources I can use?
We offer a number of free downloadable resources that will help you deliver any of our V Cert qualifications. All support material for the qualification can be found under the Support Material tab for each qualification.
Are there any other qualifications which are recognised on the performance tables?
We also have 5 other Level 1 qualifications in the creative sector which are recognised in the Key Stage 4 Performance Tables. The qualifications listed below will continue to attract performance points until the end of 2015 and will eventually be replaced by new Level 1 V Certs. They are: Level 1 Award in Creative Craft using Art and Design (500/5959/2/Art), Level 1 Award in Graphic Design (500/8454/9), Level 1 Certificate in Interactive Media (500/8053/2), Level 1 Certificate in Performance Skills (500/9177/3) and Level 1 Certificate in Music Technology (501/1234/X).