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5 things to know about our new and improved V Cert qualifications

Following the exciting news that our new suite of V Cert technical qualifications will be ready for first teach in September 2022, I wanted to summarise the key things that you’ll need to know about them – including the main similarities and differences between V Certs and GCSEs. 

1. A technical equivalent to GCSEs

A good starting point would be to answer the question: “what are V Certs?” 

Designed in collaboration with employers and practitioners, our V Cert Technical Awards are vocational equivalents to GCSEs that empower your pupils with industry-relevant skills and knowledge, giving them a taste of what it’s like to complete real-world tasks and projects.  

As Technical Awards, our V Certs complement and supplement the academic curriculum, providing applied knowledge not usually acquired through general qualifications (such as GCSEs). They fulfil entry requirements for academic, technical and applied study post-16 alongside GCSEs, with both counting towards the Open Group of your Progress 8 measures. 

All our V Certs are combined Level 1 / Level 2, to recognise the achievements of pupils of all abilities. They’re graded from Level 1 Pass, Merit, Distinction, through to Level 2 Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction*, which is the equivalent to GCSE grades 8.5-1.

2. Mirroring the GCSE structure

To fit more easily within the rest of your curriculum, our new and improved V Certs better mirror the structure of GCSEs.  

The external examination element of the V Cert now happens at the end of the qualification, as the Department for Education (DfE) has introduced the “terminal assessment rule” for all Technical Awards. This means the exam (EA) can only be taken once the synoptic project (now known as the non-exam assessment or NEA) is complete.  

By structuring our V Certs in a similar way to GCSEs, this also makes them feel more familiar to teachers who haven’t delivered vocational qualifications before. Read more about the structure and qualification content of our V Certs.

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