V Certs | FAQs | NCFE

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V Certs FAQs

Please use the categories below to find the relevant answer to your question.

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 at present they have only confirmed which qualifications are approved up until 2025.

While we've received no indication that our technical awards will not carry performance points in 2026, the DfE has not yet formally published their list of approved qualifications. Once approved, they'll publish the information on this page on their website.

We're sorry we can't offer a more robust answer at this moment in time. As soon as the DfE has published their list of approved technical awards, we'll update our website accordingly.

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. 

Will results be released prior to results day and embargoed?

Yes. Qualification results (made up of the EA and the NEA) will be released to centres the day before, results can then be shared with your learners on results day. This is to support you with the administrative burden of results release day. However, other than administrative queries, no post-results service requests can be submitted until learners have seen results and given consent for the request, which cannot happen until the advertised day of results release to learners. 

Where do I find the overall grade for the learners?

On results release day, you’ll be able to access a results slip for each learner in the NCFE Portal.  

This slip will contain: 

  • EA raw mark and scaled mark 
  • NEA raw mark and scaled mark 
  • overall scaled mark and overall qualification grade. 

This model of V Cert, without resits and multiple assessment windows, means a single and simplified results slip in results release day.  

Where do I find the moderation report on results day?

This will be available to view on the Portal on results day and will highlight areas where your centre has performed well and areas for improvement. It will also include the mark used for each moderated component. Take a look at our preparing for moderation webpage for more information. 

Where can I caim certificates?

This will be available to view on the Portal on results day and will highlight areas where your centre has performed well and areas for improvement. It will also include the mark used for each moderated component. Take a look at our preparing for moderation webpage for more information. 

What are the changes to the certification process?

What are the changes to the certification process?

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

The NEA brief was made available on 1 September 2023, and it is accessible via the Portal. Please see the image below of the ‘assessments (external and moderation)’ tab. Your learners need to be registered and booked onto the NEA in order to access it.

After you’ve registered your learners, you can access the external assessment and NEA documents by following these steps:

  • click on ‘bookings’ and ‘view assessments’
  • type in the batch number and search
  • select all learners in the batch and click ‘view bookings’
  • click on the booking window
  • Scroll to the end and you can will both EA and NEA documents.

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 section 10 of the subject specific tutor guidance documents. You can download the tutor guidance documents from the ‘support materials’ tab on the qualification pages. 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 are only allowed to use templates as detailed in the tutor guidance as they are not being assessed on creating/developing these.

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.

How should centres manage large groups of pupils carrying out the NEA tasks at the same time?

You should manage learner groups in the way in which your resources allow – large groups of learners may need to be split up into smaller groups, but staff must ensure they follow assessment regulations and maintain the integrity of the assessment activities. 

When it comes to observing large groups of learners, this is a snapshot of how learners perform in practical sessions. As such, it’s suggested that the tutor makes notes which can be used to record the observation sheet after the assessment activity. 

How do we manage the timing of the task completion if we have limited resources?

Timings can be managed at your centre’s discretion. Learners can be in a room with other learners or separately, depending on your centre’s resource. You’ll need to ensure the sessions are in controlled conditions as per the tutor guidance for each qualification.  

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.  

Can pupils annotate the project brief?

Yes, they can make notes if needed.

What primary data should learners use?

The learners should determine what primary research to undertake, and this must be in line with the controls stated. Tutors can refer to the tutor guide for more information.

Can we include the use of a guest speaker to use as part of learners’ primary research?

No – the research should be chosen by the learner, and so this would be deemed as being provider led. 

How do learners best manage their time in the research task?

The learners must choose how to best use their research time to get the insight and results they need to be able to complete the NEA tasks.  

If a task requires research but the learners don’t have access to the internet, how would this be managed?

Learners should be able to use research previously carried out to complete subsequent tasks, as this would have been taken into consideration when the tasks were created. Centres should ensure that they have systems in place to monitor learners and provide them with appropriate technology and should refer to the tutor guidance 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.  

How many pictures are expected to be taken during completion of an NEA task? 

There is no minimum or maximum number expected – there needs to be sufficient evidence to show the key stages of task completion. The learner does not have to take their own pictures – this could be done by another learner or technician.

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, on p76. https://www.ncfe.org.uk/media/g54d4bvv/portal-user-guide.pdf

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?

They are approved for 2024 and 2025 performance tables. Then they'll most likely do a yearly review of the qualifications and the next opportunity to add any new ones would be for 2026 tables, but we are still waiting for the technical guidance and dates from DfE. 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.

There are no dimensions on parts of the drawing. Do learners need to interpret the drawing and add the dimensions where appropriate?

The drawings are there to support and aren’t intended to be a full engineering drawing, as this is the requirement of learners in the relevant tasks. The tailgate drawings on 1 and 2 are suggested, but not intended for learners to use and replicate. Learners need to create hand drawings and CAD drawings in line with the content areas being assessed.

Are learners expected to draw by hand or CAD?

Learners need to create hand drawings and CAD drawings in line with the content areas being assessed.

Do the drawings need to be isometric or orthographic?

Learners’ drawings should be made in response to the demands of tasks 2 and 3 which state that drawings should apply a layout following BS8888.

Do the drawings need to be in first or third angle?

Learners’ drawings should be made in response to the demands of tasks 2 and 3 which state that drawings should apply a layout following BS8888.

Do the drawings need to be a full assembly drawing or flat drawing?

Learners’ drawings should be made in response to the demands of tasks 2 and 3 which state that drawings should apply a layout following BS8888.

Can learners add decorations to the design?

Within the qualification specification, there is no teaching and learning of content associated to 'decoration', as the content focuses on engineering only, therefore no marks will be awarded for this.

Where can I find the exemplar portfolios for this brief?

In the assessment materials section of the qualification page.

Can learners see exemplar samples?

Yes, learners can see the exemplars as a guide before starting the NEA.

In the exemplar NEA learner responses document there are 11 pages for task one. Is this the expected output of all students to achieve a band 4?

The work provided covers 4.5 pages of text with some of this being directly copied quotes (with references). It appears to be long due to the need to have spaces for assessor commentary and the format of the work (the inclusion of images and spaces). It’s possible for learners to achieve band 4 in a more succinct way. The exemplar just provides one approach.

What material are learners expected to use? For example, can it be made from card?

The brief states the scaled model needs to be fully functional. Materials should be selected by the learner to support this and the rest of the project brief.

For the material research, are learners expected to research modelling materials or materials that would be used in manufacturing?

Yes, the wording in the brief is ‘research and select the materials, tools and or machinery you will use to manufacture your dump body and chassis scale model’.

Are we expected to buy the parts? Where can we buy the standardised parts at a reasonable cost?

Materials should be considered by learners individually as part of the design process. The learner or your centre can choose where to purchase materials.

Do the learners have to fold materials? What if our machines don’t do this?

Learners should research and select materials, and how they want to 'fold' or join the sections together should also be a consideration as part of the tasks.

Do learners need to use machine tools or hand tools?

Learners should determine this using the details within the brief and associated tasks.

Does the material used have to be metal?

Materials should be considered by learners individually as part of the design process. It doesn't have to be metal.

Where should the light be placed?

Learners should consider the placement as part of the design process.

Can the teacher/centre buy the LED lights for the circuit, on behalf of the learner?

Materials should be considered by learners individually as part of the design process. The learner or your centre can choose where to purchase materials.

Does the LED light need to work?

Learners need to interpret the brief and associated tasks. The function of the LED light is to ensure learners are able to identify placement to support with functionality of the dump body. 

What type of switch should be used to operate the LED and where should it be placed?

Learners should determine the placement of the LED light and switch, as well as the type of switch to use, using the details within the brief and associated tasks

Are electric circuits covered in the NCFE Engineering qualification specification?

Within the qualification specification, the following areas provide details on electronics:


Content area 1

  • engineering disciplines
  • refers to electronic integrated circuits, printed circuit boards, input and output receivers and transmitters

Content area 2

  • applied science and mathematics in engineering
  • refers to equations of properties such as electrical (power, voltage, current, resistance)
  • refers to application of base SI units such as integrated circuits
  • refers to application of equations such as integrated circuits.

Within the teaching guidance for applied science and mathematics in engineering, the below example has been provided to support with thinking about what equations can be considered in the design of an engineering product:

The same process could be applied to engineered products such as a household kettle. The learner could be given facts on electrical power sources and usage. The learner could then discuss which equations may have to be considered in the design and, using the information provided, produce an analysis and produce some calculations.

Can learners use a different type of switch?

Learners should determine the type of switch to use, using the details within the brief and associated tasks

Is the switch attached to the chassis?

Learners should determine the location of the switch, using the details within the brief and associated tasks

Do learners need to create their own link chain or can other materials be used?

Learners should determine this using the details within the brief and associated tasks.

Does the dump body need to load and off load?

Within the brief it highlights the main purpose of having a model of the 'dump body’. i.e emptying of the truck, best position to place the link chain, rear tailgate clear before emptying etc. Therefore, the information is within the brief for the learner to interpret and complete the tasks.

The brief states the scaled model needs to be fully functional.

Do the learners make the chassis or does the centre make one for them to test?

Learners should determine this using the details within the brief and associated tasks.

Are learners expected to make the whole truck or just the part at the back?

Learners should determine this using the details within the brief and associated tasks.