Play England has learned that the CACHE Level 2 Award and Certificate in Playwork and the Level 3 Award in Playwork have been closed to new registrations, as have the CACHE level 4 Award and Certificate in Playwork. Registration for a City and Guilds level 2 Diploma in Playwork was closed on 31st December 2016, and the final date for registering for a level 3 and level 5 Diploma in Playwork with City and Guilds is 30 November 2017.
The Awards and, eventually, the Certificates, are going because they were recognised as ‘stepping stone’ qualifications to the full Diploma at level 2 or level 3. That ‘stepping stone’ arrangement was part of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), which enabled students to study a part of a full qualification (the modules contained in the Award or Certificate) and receive credit for this which they could either keep or use towards the achievement of a full, Diploma, qualification. The last government abandoned the Qualifications and Credit Framework, replacing it with the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) which does not recognise bite-sized learning in the same way.
Because of this, when qualifications come to the end of their shelf life, they are being ‘converted’ into RQF qualifications without those embedded, shorter ‘stepping stone’ qualifications. The level 2 and level 3 Diplomas have a slightly longer shelf life than their constituent parts and are more likely to be kept on in the short term, as they are ‘full’ qualifications and can potentially be converted to the RQF.
Because awarding organisations need to be able to make a business case for the development of new qualifications, and the numbers registering for playwork qualifications have been declining for some time, it is likely that awarding organisations will not want to cover the cost of developing new qualifications as their return will not justify the expenditure. However, CACHE is currently developing a playwork apprenticeship with employers.
Is it intended to replace the current qualifications? Will it be flexible enough to meet the needs of the playwork sector? How would you like to see playwork qualifications develop in the next few years?