V Certs | FAQs | NCFE

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V Certs FAQs

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What is a V Cert?

'V Cert' is our brand name for our technical award qualifications for schools. We have developed these qualifications in line with the technical guidance provided by the Department for Education (DfE) and have been approved to count on KS4 Performance Tables.

Each V Cert technical award is equivalent to one GCSE, and contains both internally and externally assessed elements.

V Certs are recognised by DfE as Technical Awards.

Which vocational qualifications can my school deliver?

Schools can deliver any existing age-appropriate qualification; see Section 96 for further information. However, if you are looking for qualifications that are included in the Key Stage 4 performance tables then you will need to choose a qualification from the list published by the DfE.

Our V Cert technical awards are on the DfE list and each is equivalent to one GCSE.

What happens if my external assessment is affected by bad weather or another unexpected event?

You should follow the External Assessment Contingency Planning document. If you have any issues, please contact our Assessment Delivery team on [email protected].

What happens if I haven’t received my assessment papers before the scheduled marking window?

All online papers are available via the Portal three working days before the date of the assessment so you can also go on and download/ print these if required. Instructions can be found in Instructions – Digital Materials for External Assessment. Papers for set date/ time assessments are dispatched from our external printers and will arrive around three working days before the assessment. We also make the papers available online the afternoon before the assessment for any late entries or issues with deliveries.

Are V Certs approved for 2026 performance tables?

The Department for Education (DfE) approves qualifications for KS4 performance tables, and our V Cert technical awards are approved up until 2026. 

The full list of technical awards approved for KS4 performance tables can be found on this page on their website. 

Tell me about Performance Points

The list of all qualifications that attract performance points can be found on the DfE website. These are updated every year.

All Level 1/2 V Cert Technical Awards are graded from Level 1 Pass through to Level 2 Distinction*, and are equivalent to GCSE grades 1 to 8.5. See grading table below.

A graph showing the new V Cert grading structure

What are the discount codes for the V Certs?

Qualifications are assigned a discount code by the Department for Education (DfE) to show where one qualification discounts the other because the content of each qualification is deemed too similar.

If a pupil completes 2 qualifications that have the same discount code, although the pupil still gains both qualifications, only 1 of those qualifications will count towards the Key Stage 4 Performance Tables. For example, if a pupil completes both GCSE Physical Education and the V Cert in Sports Studies, only one of these qualifications will count in the Performance Tables.

These are updated by the DfE every year. See the DfE website for further information.

In relation to the early entry policy, which V Cert qualification will count towards the Key Stage 4 Performance Tables?

Qualifications taken from Year 7 onwards can count in the Key Stage Performance Tables once the pupil reaches the end of Key Stage 4.

However, the early entry policy comes into effect from Year 9.

This means if a pupil completes a Level 1 qualification in Year 7 or 8 and completes the Level 2 qualification in Year 9 or 10, then the best result from either the Level 1 or Level 2 qualification will count in the Performance Tables.

However, if the pupil completes both the Level 1 and Level 2 qualification in Year 9 or later, then it is the first entry that will be reported in the Performance Tables.

What if my pupils are studying a V Cert at a local college, who gets the points?

The performance points are assigned to the school where the pupil is enrolled.

What are the occupational competence requirements to deliver V Certs?

Each qualification specification provides guidance on the experience and qualifications needed to deliver and assess the qualification, but it isn’t intended to be exhaustive or definitive. Examples of relevant qualifications and occupational backgrounds are given as benchmarks. 

Other equivalent qualifications or backgrounds may also qualify prospective staff for delivery or assessment roles. Centres must provide sufficient numbers of suitably experienced assessors and internal quality assurers to ensure that qualifications are delivered effectively. Staff recruitment should be made at the discretion of centres, and centres should be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure that all staff involved in the delivery and assessment of our qualifications are suitably qualified. 

Each subject specific qualification specification can be found on the qualification pages.

What does 'Operational End Date' mean?

The Operational End Date is the last date that we can accept registrations for a qualification. The qualifications will be reviewed before this date with the intention of extending the accreditation period, pending further review of the qualifications by the Department for Education (DfE).

You’ll still have 2 years from the operational end date to claim your certificates.

Key dates – Where can I find key dates for assessments?

For the external assessment, please take a look at our external assessment timetable. For the non-examined assessment, please take a look at the tutor guide for the qualification.

Key dates – How do I book learners on to their assessments?

Please refer to our Portal User Guide for support.

External assessment – Can my learners sit the external assessment online?

Yes, learners can sit the external assessment via Surpass. You can find more information on our online assessment support webpage.

External assessment – Are sample assessment materials available?

Yes, please visit the qualification page on our website and you can download these in the ‘assessment materials’ section.

External assessment - I have booked my learners onto the online external assessment but this should be paper-based, can I change it?

Yes, but this must be completed no later than two weeks before the date of the external assessment. You must contact our Customer Support team to make this change.  

Moderation and grading – What is the tolerance linked to moderation of the NEA?

In line with JCQ guidelines the tolerance is 6%, details on moderation outcomes can be found on the website in our moderation pages.

Moderation and grading – What is the moderation process for the NEA?

More information can be found on our preparing for moderation webpage.

Moderation and grading – If a centre’s awarded marks and a moderator’s awarded marks are different for the NEA, what will happen?

Guidance on marks awarded can be located on the moderation pages of the website.

Moderation and grading – When marking do centres need to annotate what they are giving marks for, or just give a numerical score?

Centres do not need to annotate the learner work, although if this assists your marking please do. When the NEA is released there will be a proforma to use for assessor feedback and comments - this should be completed at task level to indicate how assessment decisions were made. Centres must share this feedback with learners once the NEA has been completed to allow for any internal appeals to take place. Moderators will use this to support the moderation of learner work.

Moderation and grading – Can you provide grade boundaries for the qualification?

Grade boundaries will be set each academic year once all results have been moderated and examined. This is in line with GCSE qualifications.

Moderation and grading – Will you provide a grading calculator?

There will not be a grade calculator issued for this qualification due to grade boundaries changing each session.

Moderation and grading – Can centres see a copy of the final grading sheet?

Centres will be able to see which mark has been awarded on results release day. Guidance on marks awarded can be located on the website in our moderation pages.

Moderation and grading – Is the overall grade compensatory?

Yes, every mark counts! The scaled marks awarded for the NEA and EA are added together and aggregated to award the overall grade for the qualification. Providing the total combined NEA and EA marks equate to at least the marks required for a L1 Pass, the pupil will achieve the qualification.

Moderation and grading – Will there be grade boundaries published for the NEA/EA?

The NEA assessment will be numerically marked by centres, rather than graded. Centres will have access to administration and standardisation training to support the application of the mark scheme. Setting the grade boundaries and awarding learner grades is completed by NCFE as part of our awarding processes. As the grade boundaries are set by us as part of the awarding process, we won't know the boundaries in-year so will not be able to provide indicative grade boundaries ahead of time.

Moderation and grading – How do teachers apply the mark scheme?

The live synoptic project marking grid/centre pack details the indicative content that could be included in the pupil response. This is a guide and is not an exhaustive list of what must be included. Learners may make all, some or none of the points included in the indicative content, as its purpose is as a guide for the relevance and expectation of the responses. Learners must be credited for any other appropriate response.  

Moderation and grading - Where can I find more details on the JCQ sampling strategy?

You can find more details on our moderation review webpage. Basic rules are outlined in the table below. 

Number of learners at the provider 

Sample size 

Up to 5 










Over 200 


Moderation and grading - How can we view the learners that have been selected for moderation once the marks have been submitted?

You can view this through the ‘upload learner evidence’ section in the Portal. There you’ll be able to select ‘sample learners’ and this will display the list of learners selected for moderation which require evidence to be uploaded. The Portal user guide has further detail on how to do this. 

Moderation and grading - Is there a checklist available that confirms what evidence needs to be submitted for moderation?

Yes, the evidence upload checklist is contained in the live assessment materials pack which can be downloaded from the Portal. 

When will results be released and will they be embargoed?

Yes, on Monday 19 August 2024, you’ll be able to access the assessment results for your learners as well as your learners’ overall grades on the Portal (see Portal User Guide for more information). These are embargoed until 22 August 2024 when you can share results with your learners.   

Where do I find the moderation report on results day?

From 19 August, you’ll be able to view the final moderation report via the NCFE Portal. This will include feedback from the Moderator on areas where your learners have performed well and areas for development.  

Do I need to claim certificates for my Level 1 / 2 Technical Award learners?

No, you will not need to claim certificates for your Level 1/2 Technical Award learners.  

When would I expect to receive my learners’ certificates?

Learners will be auto certificated 6 weeks after results release date. This means you’ll be able to view their e-certificates on 2 October 2024 on the Portal and will receive a physical copy of the certificates around 4 weeks after this date. 

What post-results services are available to me?

If you or your learners have queries about grades received, please view our post-results services for more information on enquiries about results, access to scripts, a review of marking and more. Please note that any post-result requests require the consent of the learner. Therefore, you can’t submit any requests before 22 August when your learners will receive their results.  

Can my learners re-sit their assessments if they are not happy with their results?

No, there are no resits for single assessments, early attempts at either assessment, or the chance to combine multiple attempts across more than one series. Learners can retake the qualification in full, but no assessment results from previous attempts at the qualification can be carried forward. Learners complete both assessments in a single series, and this provides their qualification outcome.   

Although there are no resits, these qualifications give learners a platform for further study if they do go on to continue that subject in further education - they'll have subject-specific knowledge which gives them a head start and helps set them up for future success.  

When will the non-examined assessment (NEA) brief be available?

The NEA briefs for 2024-25 will be released on 1 October 2024. 

Why are the NEA briefs being released later this year than they were in 2023?

In 2023, we released our NEA assessment brief on 1 September to give you and your colleagues time to familiarise yourselves with the requirements and context of the brief ahead of delivering the live assessments to learners.  

Throughout the first NEA assessment, we received feedback from teachers, and we’re using this valuable insight to make some improvements to support the NEA process in 2024-25. We’re working on:  

  • making changes to address concerns with the scalability and manageability of the assessments for centres by reducing the volume of evidence required (for example annotated photographs or videos)  
  • applying lessons learned to make improvements to tutor and provider guidance, reducing the complexity of instructions.  

Due to our continuing work on these changes, we’ve decided to reschedule the release date of the next NEA date. This will now be released on Tuesday 1 October 2024, rather than in September. We’re confident that this still provides you with adequate time to familiarise yourself with the assessment brief and timetable your NEA delivery accordingly.  

We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused by the delay, however, this will allow us to deliver the best possible experience for you during this year's NEA.   

How do I access the non-examined assessment (NEA)?

When the NEA brief is available, you can access this in the Portal.  

To access the live NEA, you’ll need to follow the below steps:  

  • log in to the Portal  
  • go to the 'Bookings' tab and click ‘View Assessments’  
  • search for a batch number or product code to find students on the relevant qualification/assignment  
  • select all learners  
  • scroll to the bottom and click ‘View Bookings’  
  • click on the desired component and a drop-down will appear  
  • click the material link to download it.  

A screenshot showing how to book controlled assessments via the NCFE Portal

Where can I find the regulations for the NEA?

The Regulations for the conduct of the NEA can be found in the subject specific tutor guidance documents. You can download the tutor guidance documents from the ‘support materials’ tab on the qualification pages. These will be available from 1 October 2024. Please ensure you’re using the latest version downloaded from the website. 

Are example responses for the NEA available?

Yes, please visit the qualification page on our website and you can download these in the ‘assessment materials’ section.

Is additional time allowed for the NEA?

The allocated time for each NEA can be found within the tutor guidance for each qualification. If a learner receives additional time as a reasonable adjustment for external assessments, this can also be applied to the NEA. You’ll need to complete and submit a reasonable adjustment form.

Can learners have additional resources to help them complete the preparation and research task, such as textbooks or notes?

The 2 hours of preparation and research time is to support the completion of the whole NEA – this 2-hour time period is entirely open book where learners can access their teaching and learning materials, textbooks, internet and other published materials. From this, they should develop a research support pack which can be used as their source of information when completing the NEA. 

Learners should approach their research and support pack on an individual basis. Supervisors must not direct learners or provide templates or writing frames for learners to complete. 

Can learners use the internet for task completion?

Unless stated, learners are not permitted to use the internet for completion of NEA tasks. Learners should only have internet access when the brief states it is allowed.

What formats are acceptable for the internet browsing history for the NEA?

Each learner must produce a list of their browsing history for each task which allows internet access. It’s the responsibility of the supervisor to make sure all learners begin each task and session with a clear browsing history. At the end of the supervised session, internet browsing history should be obtained by selecting the relevant history tab in the browser toolbar.  A learner’s browsing history should be clearly attributable to the individual learner who completed it. Acceptable formats include a screen shot of the learner’s history, an IT - based report or a typed/written list of websites accessed during the session see the example below:

Record of internet browsing history

Learner Name: XXXX XXXX 

Learner number: 106xxx 

Qualification: NCFE Level 1/2 Technical Award in Food and Cookery (603/7014/2) 

Assessment series: Summer 2024 

Website accessed

Task number

Date accessed



Task 1

18 January 2024


Are learners allowed to use templates/writing frames to complete NEA tasks?

Learners should only be provided with the NEA brief; no other resources can be provided. Centre staff should not provide any additional resources or support, such as a template/writing frame or set of questions that could be seen to assist learners.  

What should we do if the specification doesn’t include or state something which is required for the NEA tasks?

The specification is not a list of everything which could be included in the NEA tasks – it is an overview of the vital components and content which should be included in teaching the qualification. In industry, there will be differences in what process and/or equipment is used, so tutors will need to apply the specification to context and include specific detail regarding what could be used in the industry.

Can learners be given access to normative data for NEA task completion?

Learners should have access to normative data.

What should we do if a learner is absent for a planned task?

If a learner is absent from one or more supervised sessions, they should be given the opportunity to make up any missed time. The length of the assessment window will allow centres to implement their contingency plan should such issues arise. 

Which software or equipment are learners allowed to use to complete the NEA tasks?

Where no specific recommendations are provided, learners should select the software or equipment which is capable of allowing them to access all elements of the specification and undertake the assessment effectively. Tutors should refer to the guidance and NEA brief for further information.  

Is learners’ research to be submitted to NCFE?

The research support pack must be retained by the centre and uploaded with learner evidence to NCFE if selected for moderation.  

Are tutors allowed to demonstrate tasks from the NEA and/or share indicative content with pupils before they complete the NEA tasks?

No, tutors should not use live NEA content or tasks as examples – the skills should be covered in the delivery of the content areas. Under no circumstances should indicative content or live mark schemes be shared with learners; this would be seen as malpractice.  

What resources can be used during the research task? 

Learners should have access to relevant resources during their research activity – it is up to them to identify what would be relevant. 

What format should learner evidence be in?

This decision is up to the centre. If all on one document, it should be clearly indicated which work belongs to each task to support both assessment and moderation. If on separate documents, each document will need to be labelled correctly. All evidence will need to be uploaded to NCFE for learners selected for moderation, including the assessor feedback document and student research pack. We accept both .doc and pdf file types, and further information can be found in the Portal User Guide.

Can teachers adapt or change when the learners can carry out research?

No – they should follow the tutor guidance and NEA brief as this would be seen as malpractice. The learners can only carry out research when the project brief allows it. Their research notes, taken from appropriate sources (including lesson notes and textbooks), should provide all the information they require to complete the tasks.  

What would we do if the learner is unwell or injured and is unable to carry out the NEA tasks to the best of their ability?

Tutors should follow the special considerations policy or the access arrangements and reasonable adjustments policy. 

If my learner hasn’t completed all of the NEA tasks, when submitting marks should they be left blank or marked as ‘did not attend’?

If learners have attempted the NEA but have achieved no marks, the marks should be entered as 0. If they have not attempted the task, this should be marked as DNA. If all tasks for NEA have not been attempted ,each task should be entered as DNA and overall mark would be DNA. 

When will teaching and learning resources be available for the new V Certs?

We are developing a suite of teaching and learning resources for each V Cert, which will include detailed schemes of learning/work, PowerPoint presentations, and workbooks. Please refer to our Teaching and Learning Resources FAQs Document for the full release schedule.

How do I access teaching and learning materials?

The resources are available to download for free via the qualification pages. 

How do I access or register for webinars and support sessions?

You can register for our upcoming webinars here and view our on-demand playlist here.

Will there be any textbooks available for the new V Certs?

Hodder textbooks will be available for Child Development and Care in the Early Years, Health and Fitness, Business and Enterprise and Food and Cookery. A Hodder revision guide is also available for these subjects, as well as for Engineering. These are all available to download now via Hodder’s website.

Will iAchieve be providing teaching resources?

Yes. Online resources are available for Health and Fitness, Food and Cookery, Business and Enterprise and Child Development in Care and Early Years.

How will the new qualifications differ from the current model?

You can read some of the key changes between our new V Certs and the legacy V Certs in our What’s Changing? Guide.

How long are the new V Certs approved for performance points for?

All 11 of our V Cert technical awards are approved for KS4 performance tables up until 2026 

Check out the Performance Tables Guide for further information. 

Will centres receive support visits?

Support visits will not be available for centres as its moderation and moderators won’t be allocated until final marks are in the Portal, they'll be more like examiners.

Administration and standardisation training will be provided to support you and you can also access support from the Provider Development team. You’ll find more information about training on our Preparing for moderation webpage. 

Do I have to deliver the content in a linear way?

No, the content can be interlinked and delivered synoptically. Please refer to the Synoptic Connections document which you can find on the qualification page on our website, in the ‘Support materials’ section.