Learners often approach us to ask questions about the Awarding Organisation (AO) that would certify their qualification. Such is the frequency of this question that we thought it was worth writing this blog.
Awarding Organisations (AO) are also called Awarding Bodies. These are different from the approved centres or training centres like Britannia School of Academics (BSA). Britannia School of Academics, just like any other training provider in the UK, only offers the teaching/training and assessment of the courses. As far as our learners are concerned, they only deal with Britannia School of Academics for all of the following:
- Initial course enquiries
- Payment of fee
- Registration and enrolment
- Access to study resources
- 1-2-1 tutorials with the course tutor
- Completing coursework, observations and portfolios
- Assessment of the coursework and portfolio
- Final confirmation that the learners have completed the course
Any other query that falls within the scope of the above points will also be dealt with by us. However, once the final step is completed (confirmation that the learner has completed the course), we will contact our awarding organisation to share the learner’s portfolio so that they can issue the certificate to the learner.
A lot of background work occurs whereby Britannia School of Academics works closely with the awarding organisations to make sure that both the curriculum design/delivery and the learners’ portfolio meet the expectations of the awarding organisation. However, to keep things simple, learners do not have to be aware of that process or deal with the awarding organisations directly.
Let’s now discuss who these awarding organisations are and why they exist. All vocational courses in England MUST be approved by The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). OFQUAL is the regulatory body overseeing all the qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. However, OFQUAL does not run or certify the courses itself. Instead, it regulates the awarding organisations that do so. Therefore, each course must have an awarding organisation. These awarding organisations rely on training centres like Britannia School of Academics to teach the learners. The whole supply chain can be explained using the below diagram.
The next logical question to ask is, are all the awarding organisations the same? As far as authenticity and OFQUAL approval is concerned, all awarding organisations have the same mandate. Let’s use Level 3 Award in Education and Training as an example. There are a total of 39 different awarding organisations offering Level 3 Award in Education and Training. Regardless of the awarding organisation that your centre uses, you will be studying for the same course with the same credits, units, learning outcomes and assessment criteria. None of these 39 awarding organisations would expect even 1% less or more in terms of your learning or assessment criteria. If an employer, vendor or regulatory body expects that you have a Level 3 Award in Education and Training, then they will not specify which awarding organisation to use (or not use).
In some cases, an awarding organisation might offer a course that other awarding organisations are not offering (or offering a similar course but not the same). This would be a different scenario altogether from what we have discussed above. Since you have to compare like with like, comparing two different organisations’ courses that are not the same won’t be a valid comparison. This does not apply to most teaching courses since the teaching qualifications are industry standard and are 100% the same regardless of which awarding organisation certifies the courses.
Finally, we get asked about the particular awarding organisation that we use to certify our courses. Our group of companies collectively have approvals from Focus Awards, OTHM, NCFE, TQUK and VTCT. However, we use Focus Awards for our teaching courses. This is because they have an excellent reputation and offer an extensive range of teaching courses. In addition, they have outstanding customer service, meaning it’s quicker to get a response or get the certification done. However, if you wish to get the certification done from an alternative awarding organisation, do get in touch to discuss your specific needs.