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Setting the Specification

Our specifications are written by experienced subject experts. We consult widely with teachers, sector experts and other stakeholders when we are developing specifications, to make sure they are clearly written, are appropriately demanding and are interesting for learners.

Specifications have to meet the regulators' rules before they can be offered to schools and colleges. These rules differ between England and Wales, and they also differ depending on the type of qualification.

The development of a new specification typically takes about a year. Following initial discussions with the regulators about their proposals for content and assessment rules, we begin our own process of development. When all the regulatory requirements are set we finalise our specification (and sample assessment materials) and submit those to the regulator.

Ofqual (England)

In England, the Department for Education decides on the subject content for GCSEs, AS and A levels. The regulator, Ofqual, decides on the assessment rules (known as Conditions) and we have to make sure our proposals meet all of these rules so that Ofqual will accredit the qualification.


Qualifications Wales (Wales)


In Wales, the regulator, Qualifications Wales, decides on the subject content and the assessment rules for GCSEs, AS and A levels.  We have to make sure our proposals meet all of these requirements so that Qualifications Wales will approve the qualification.


Qualifications regulators and government departments


For other qualifications, including Vocational Awards and Applied General qualifications, we have to ensure that our specifications meet all relevant criteria set by government departments and/or the regulators.