Credit where it's due

15th July 2011 at 01:00

I was disappointed to see the article "SFA concedes errors in implementation of bite-sized learning" in last week's FE Focus. The article gives the impression of a formal interview; this was not the case. The Skills Funding Agency had agreed to discussions of aspects of QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework) implementation with the intention of moving away from the perennial negativity that seems to accompany any reporting of the framework.

The implementation of the QCF was a complex project involving a range of partners, and was taken forward within a relatively short period of time. The Ofqual report on the QCF clearly illustrates some of the challenges that such a project faced.

We recognise that aspects of implementation could have worked better. But that must not take away from the achievement of putting the QCF in place, populating it, and supporting nearly two million learners in accessing it. Having done all of that, we now need, as the Ofqual report says, to build on the lessons learned from implementation.

It is a shame that the subhead to the article mixed up Ofsted with Ofqual, while the article itself implied that we take issue with Ofqual's report, when we do not. The point we make is that the demand for "bite-sized" learning and credit accumulation and transfer will not appear overnight.

Wouldn't it be good if we could celebrate the achievement of the QCF, alongside honestly recognising that the journey to it was at times both challenging and overly complex?

None of us should underestimate the work undertaken by providers, awarding organisations, Sector Skills Councils, Ofqual and others to get to where we are now - and this is not the end of journey. But then again, maybe positive headlines are just not so eye-catching.

Janet Ryland, Head of learner offer and Qualifications and Credit Framework, Skills Funding Agency.

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