Vinay Thawait, Computer Science, IT and Creative iMedia Subject Advisor
In November 2023 we held launch webinars about our Alternative Academic Qualifications (AAQs). We presented the DfE’s Post-16 vocational reform and OCR’s Level 3 Cambridge Advanced Nationals (AAQs) IT: Data Analytics and Computing: Application Development qualifications.
In this blog I’ll share answers to the questions we were frequently asked by delegates at these presentations.
OCR Level 3 Cambridge Advanced Nationals (AAQs) qualifications are available for first teaching from September 2025 in applied science, computing, engineering, health and social care, human biology IT and computing subjects.
For more information, you can download our draft specifications, the Sample Assessment Materials (SAMs) and the mapping guide from our dedicated qualifications webpage. The questions asked by delegates will also be applicable to our other Level 3 Cambridge Advanced Nationals (AAQs) subjects.
On your web page it states the funding for the Diploma and Extended Diploma qualifications ends in July 2024. Is there no funding for these courses for Year 12 students starting in September 2024?
The larger qualifications, such as the Diploma (720GLH) and Extended Diploma (1080GLH) will not get funding for Year 12 students starting in September 2024. However, funding will continue for students who have already started these qualifications on or before 31 July 2024, until they complete.
The rest of our current Level 3 Cambridge Technicals in IT qualifications, including Certificate (180GLH), Extended Certificate (360GLH), Introductory Diploma (360GLH) and Foundation Diploma (540 GLH) will continue to receive funding until July 2025. This means new starters in September 2024 will get funding and continue until they complete.
If there were to be a change to existing policies, for example, due to a change of government, this post-16 reform may be reviewed, which could lead to a continuation of funding for our current L3 Cambridge Technicals IT qualifications. More details can be found in this recent communication.
Can I still deliver larger IT qualifications from September 2024 even if there is no funding available for new starters?
You could combine two 360 GLH qualifications to make 720 GLH qualifications or combine two 540 GLH qualifications to make a 1080 GLH qualification offer for your students.
There are no restrictions in subject combinations. Students can also take any of our Level 3 Cambridge Technicals alongside any A Levels and the Extended Project Qualification.
UCAS points for these larger qualifications will be the same, even if you combine qualifications to make 720 GLH or 1080 GLH qualifications. The UCAS point value of the Cambridge Technical and the A Level is the same.
You mentioned that students taking an academic route at Level 3 post-16 from September 2025 can do only one 360 GLH Cambridge Advanced National (AAQ) with two A Levels. Is it possible to offer more than one AAQ with A Level qualifications?
The DfE has provided further guidance recently to indicate that students may be able to take two 360 GLH AAQs with one A Level qualification. This could be offered to students with lower prior attainment at Level 2, students with SEND or students with exceptional circumstances. We await more details on this from the DfE.
Can students do an AAQ, A Level and a single A Level equivalent BTEC?
As it stands, from September 2025 students will need to do either:
Is there going to be a new course for the Level 2 Cambridge Technicals in IT that we currently run?
In March 2023, you shared the development of three different 360 GLH AAQs which included Cybersecurity and networking. Are you still looking at this AAQ?
Yes. As part of the second wave of qualification development, we will be submitting Cambridge Advanced National (AAQ) in ‘Cybersecurity and digital networking’ for first teaching Sept 2026. Watch out for more details on this from us.
Are there any plans for textbooks and learning and teaching resources for these qualifications?
Yes. The support materials will be similar to our other reformed qualifications and will include endorsed textbooks, learning and teaching materials, assessment support materials, etc. We will be working with our partner publishers to make these available before first teaching in September 2025.
When will be the exam windows for these AAQs?
Exams will be in January and June each year.
What about units and qualification resits?
Do we need to write assignments for units or OCR will set assignments?
Can students improve their work if we mark before it is externally moderated, and can students improve on their NEA after it has been moderated?
When will we know that your Cambridge Advanced Nationals (AAQs) in IT and Computing have been accepted for funding from September 2025 and can be offered to our students?
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Vinay joined OCR in July 2014 to support the GQ reform and development of the AS and A Level Computer Science qualifications. Since then, he has been involved in the development of the reformed GCSE (9-1) Computer Science, Entry Level Computer Science, and Cambridge National in IT. He is currently working on the new Level 3 Cambridge Advanced National (AAQ) in IT: Data Analytics and the Level 3 Cambridge Advanced National (AAQ) in Computing: Application development qualification. Before joining OCR, Vinay spent more than 20 years in IT and Computer Science teaching and leadership roles, working for several schools as well as local authorities educational support team. He was the National Bid Lead for the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative within Capita IT, and also the Head of Operations for an audio-visual educational software development company. Vinay has a degree, three post-graduate masters and NPQH from Warwick, Coventry, and Nottingham Universities. Outside work, Vinay is keen sports player of Karate, Cricket, and Badminton. He doesn’t believe in ‘just sitting down and watching TV’.