The authority will police and regulate all qualifications using public money, from cradle to grave, with the exception of university awards.
Created in the closing days of the Conservative administration, the QCA brings together the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and the National Council for Vocational Qualifications. This was a move recommended by Sir Ron Dearing, SCAA's former chairman.
The new quango's immediate priority will be to scrutinise the 16,000 vocational qualifications and reduce their number in the interests of accountability. In the coming months, it must also handle consultations on 16 to 19 education and lifelong learning The new body is keen to be seen as a true merger rather than as a takeover by the academically orientated SCAA.
The chief executive of the new authority, Dr Nicholas Tate, held the same position with the SCAA. But the NCVQ never managed to attract the same levels of public regard as its rival, and is unrepresented among the senior posts of the QCA.
The chairman is Sir William Stubbs, formerly chief executive of the Further Education Funding Council. His deputy is Sir Dominic Cadbury, exective chairman of Cadbury Schweppes and chairman of the Confederation of British Industry's Education and Training Committee.
Board members are: Professor Robin Alexander, Warwick University; Geoffrey Ashton, head of Standish Community High School, Wigan; Anne Duke, Southwater county infant school, West Sussex; Dr Philip Evans, head of Bedford School; Dr Philip Hunter, chief education officer in Staffordshire; Pat Lee, head of retail training at Tesco; Ian McAllister, chief executive of Ford; Patricia Morgan-Webb from Clarendon College, Nottingham; Sir George Quigley, chairman of Ulster Bank; Heather Rabbats, chief executive of Lambeth; and Professor Ted Wragg, of Exeter University.
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