What is the Qualification and Credit Framework (RQF)?

The Qualifications and Credit Framework (RQF) is a new credit transfer system which has replaced the National Qualification Framework (RQF). It recognises qualifications and units by awarding credits. And since each unit has a credit value and the credits can be transferred, the system gives the learners the ability to get qualifications at their own pace. The RQF is jointly regulated by the England’s regulator Ofqual, Wales’ DCELLS and Northern Ireland’s CCEA.

How Does the RQF System Work?

The RQF system is based on units which have credit value and levels (from Entry Level to Level 8). One credit roughly equals 10 learning hours which allows the learners to evaluate how much time they will need to gain the desired qualification. According to the RQF system, the learners can gain three types of qualifications:
  • awards
  • certificates
  • diplomas

How Credit Points are Awarded?

In addition to developing units, developing and accrediting qualifications, and awarding credits and qualifications, the regulators of the RQF are also responsible for maintaining a unit databank and monitoring the organisations that operate within the RQF in order to ensure that all awarded qualifications meet the regulatory requirements. These are specified in the Regulatory arrangements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework that has been developed jointly by the regulators in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A Comparison between the RQF and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)

Just like the RQF, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) also covers schools, colleges, and vocational training. The SCQF too is based on awarding credit points which reveal the size of qualification and the system of levels which indicates qualification’s difficulty but in contrary to the RQF, the SCQF has 12 rather than 8 levels. Just like in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, one credit point in Scotland roughly represents 10 hours of learning. The SCQF is jointly managed by the Scottish Qualification Authority, Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Universities of Scotland, Association of Scotland’s Colleges and Scotland’s Government.



The government’s Train2Gain programme that funded NVQs and the new equivalents closed in March 2011. Apprenticeships offer a fully funded alternative where the new Certificate or Diploma forms part of the framework along with a Technical Certificate and Functional or Key Skills.

For more information see Funding and About Apprenticeships