How to prepare for External Quality Assurance reviews for our Quality Assurance (QA) Model

NCFE has 11 QA groups and all of our qualifications (except T Levels) fall within one of these groups:

  • Arts and Media
  • Business, IT and Sales
  • Dental
  • Engineering and Manufacturing Operations
  • Functional Skills
  • Health, Childcare and Education
  • Hospitality and Catering
  • Music and Performance
  • Pharmacy
  • Preparation for Life and Work
  • Retail and Commercial Enterprise
  • Sport, Exercise and Fitness
  • Travel and Tourism

Conflict of Interest

Upon registration of learners you will be allocated an EQA, thereafter you must declare any Conflicts of Interest via a web form, before delivering the qualification. It is important that you read through our Centre Conflict of Interest – Customer Guidance within Mandatory Policies and Fees – Guidance and Forms. This will provide you information on the types of conflicts you may encounter at your centre as well as guidance on the process.

Allocation of EQA

For each QA group, you’ll be allocated a dedicated EQA who’ll complete up to 2 EQA reviews for all of the qualifications delivered within that group.  Please ensure you know what qualifications sit within each QA Group and work with your EQA to prepare the necessary documentation required for a successful and efficient visit. Our 10 Easy Steps to External Quality Assurance gives a step-by-step guide to external quality assurance reviews and what you can expect.

By having one dedicated EQA for all qualification in the QA group you’ll be able to build positive relationships with your EQA and streamline the external quality assurance process minimising the impact on your time to prepare for EQA reviews.

Arranging the EQA review

Your EQA will be allocated once you have registered your learners, so ensure you do this early in your delivery to ensure that you and your learners receive the best support from us.  You should agree with your EQA the date for your review well in advance of your learners requiring certification.

Your EQA will email your Programme Contact to arrange a review date and will let them know what to prepare in advance.  It is important that you let your EQA know who’ll be responsible for coordinating the EQA review for all qualifications in the QA group so that we’re contacting the most appropriate person.  This maybe the Quality Manager, Centre Lead or Lead IQA.  To check who your Programme Contact is, you can view your EQA Report in the Portal or contact [email protected]Don’t forget to inform us of any changes to your Programme Contact because if we don’t have the correct contact details, you’ll not receive our important emails.

If you need to cancel a planned visit, please refer to the guidance provided in our ‘cancelling a planned visit’ section.

Preparing for your EQA review

In order to get the most out of your EQA review, it will be necessary for delivery staff involved in all qualifications within the QA group to organise and plan together so that the required documentation for all qualifications are presented and available for the review. You’ll need to let the EQA know who will be the point of contact for your qualifications within the QA group and they’ll be responsible for coordinating this to the relevant delivery staff in your centre. 

This communication and organisation is important for centres that deliver over multiple sites to ensure work from all qualifications is available for the EQA review.

Your EQA will send you information via email to ensure you’re well prepared prior to the visit date and the following documents and forms will support you in your preparation:

During the EQA review

During the external quality assurance visit, your External Quality Assurer will sample a range of learner portfolios from the qualifications you deliver in each QA Group.

We really value feedback and an external quality assurance visit is a great opportunity for you to tell us what you think of the product. All feedback will inform product evaluation and help our Product Development team ensure the product is meeting its intended purpose.

We’ll send a survey to your product contact after each EQA review as we are keen to hear your thoughts on the overall experience.  This will give you the opportunity to tell us what you value about our EQA service as well as letting us know what we can do to make your experience even better.   All feedback will inform decisions about our EQA process.


To encourage best practice, we offer a reward system called Direct Claim Status (DCS).  DCS allows you to claim certificates on demand instead of us requiring the certificate claim to be signed off by your External Quality Assurer. Your EQA will need to see a sample of previously certificated learners and current learners, therefore please ensure you retain a sample of learner portfolios ready for the EQA review.

For further information please refer to our Direct Claims Status (DCS) page.

Supporting Documentation

To support you in your preparation for your External Quality Assurance Review we have provided the following supporting documentation.