A new UK Government took office on 11 May. As a result the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy.
All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise.


The QCDA site has been designed to make it easy for you to find the information you want - whether you are an education professional, an employer, a learner or a member of the public. Use the links below to find out more about the features of our website.

Accessibility standards
Search the QCDA website
Audio and video technical help guide


Our content is relevant to education professionals, employers, parents and the general public. We have designed the site around a search-dominant model. This means that we anticipate that you have come to the site for a specific reason, and have a word or phrase that you are likely to search the site for. If this is not the case, you have the option to browse through any or all of the navigation routes on the site.

If you are familiar with our work, you may know the specific content you need. You should be able to find it by simply searching for it using our Google Mini search engine. If you are new to QCDA you may want to look at About QCDA or browse through the sections detailing the broad range of topics about which we have content. With our home page re-design, you can now also follow the 'Information for...' links to some of our most popular content.

If you are a member of the press or are interested in the latest developments at QCDA or in the field of qualifications, you can use the News section. And don't forget, if you get stuck, or indeed if you have any comments, you can always Contact us.


Most content on the site is in plain text. Every page prints out neatly from the 'File' | 'Print' menu, or using the 'Print' button on your browser. Most downloads are in Adobe PDF format and should be viewable in all versions of Adobe Reader. If you do not have Adobe Reader on your machine, this is freely downloadable software available from the Adobe website. A small number of documents are in other formats, such as Microsoft Office formats, or lower common formats such as CSV or RTF. We have made every effort to ensure that you can view all our downloadable content in one format or another.

How to download PDF documents

To download, read or print from PDF files, you will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader software. If you are experiencing problems viewing or saving a PDF file, it might be as a result of the file opening up within your web browser window. A solution is to have PDF files open up in an Adobe Reader window. To do this, follow these instructions:

  • Close all web browser windows and launch Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Change the preferences within Adobe Reader:
    Version 4
    click on File > Preferences > General.
    Within the preferences dialogue box uncheck 'Web Browser Integration' in the bottom right, click OK and close the Acrobat Reader.

    Version 5
    click on Edit > Preferences > General> Options.
    Within the options dialogue box uncheck 'Display PDF in Browser', click OK and close the Acrobat Reader.

    Versions 6 and 7
    click on Edit > Preferences > Internet.
    Within the screen that appears uncheck 'Display PDF in Browser', click OK and close the Acrobat Reader.
  • Relaunch your web browser and attempt to access the PDF once again. The file should download and open up in a separate Adobe Acrobat Reader window. This should allow full access to all the tools associated with Adobe Reader.

To download PDF files to your computer (hard drive or network), right-click (PC) ctrl-click (Mac) on the link, then choose the ‘Save Target As...' option.


One of the features on the site is improved links which direct you to other relevant content you may find useful or more information from other government and non-government sites. You may see one or several sets of links on the right-hand menu. The ‘Related links’ box contains links to other content within QCDA Online. The ‘Resources’ box contains links to documents within QCDA Online.  The  ‘Useful websites' box contains links to external websites that are relevant to the content you are looking at. Please note that the QCDA is not responsible for the content contained on these external sites.

Accessibility standards

In order to make this site accessible to the greatest possible number of people, QCDA has been working towards compliance with the government initiative on the Information Age. We are also working towards the W3C WAI 'AA' standards.


The common browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. These are freely available at their respective websites so visitors may want to consider upgrading their browsers. Visitors should be aware, however, that QCDA Online is designed to be accessible to all browsers.

Search the QCDA website

The site includes a powerful search engine which helps you find the document or information you need. There is a Search facility at the top of every page. Simply type in your word or phrase and click Search or hit Return.

Audio and video technical help guide

We have a wide range of audio and video content available to watch. We store files on our servers, which are displayed within your Windows Media, QuickTime player, or RealMedia player when you click on an audio or video link. The player plugs in to your browser and will automatically establish a connection between your computer and our servers when a link is activated. The file will then play. We offer them in three formats so that you have the option of which player to use. You probably have at least one of these players installed on your computer, but if you don't simply follow the external links at the foot of this page.

What's involved with downloading? 

There are several different files that you can choose to watch. If you have an old machine, or a slow internet connection, or if you are just in a rush, there is a 'low resolution' version of the audio or video file, that won't take a long time to access. Conversely, if you have a good machine and a fast internet connection, or if you're happy to wait, there is also a 'high resolution' version of the audio or video file.

When you click on 'download file', the audio or video file will start running in the player you have set as your default player. If you right-click (Ctrl+click for the Mac), you will be presented with an option to 'Save Target As...', which allows you to fully download the file onto your computer.

The speed with which the file downloads to your computer depends on how big the file is, how fast your internet connection is and how busy the internet is when you try to download the file. However, you will then have a copy of the file stored on your computer which you can play whenever it suits you, or copy to another device such as an MP3 player or mobile phone.

How do I download an audio or video player? 

Players can be downloaded from the following locations: 

Windows media player 
QuickTime player 

If you still have trouble trying to watch a video or listen to a clip then please email the QCDA web team for further help.



Last modified: 07 Jun 2010