JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications)
FAB (Federation of Awarding Bodies)
The JCQ A2C programme will provide an industry standard of electronic data transfer for awarding organisations, MIS providers and centres to adopt. The aim is that sharing product and learner data will become easier and systems will become more efficient as processes become streamlined. NCFE, national Awarding Organisation, recognises the benefits that A2C will bring for our customers and we’re very excited to be involved in this project.
To make A2C happen, we’ve put a dedicated project team in place who’ve been going through the JCQ specification documents to build a compatible solution using our existing internal systems. The team have engaged with our customers to make sure the system is fully responsive to their needs and have also worked closely with Capita and Compass to ensure that our solution is compatible and supported by MIS providers. Once our solution is available, centres will be able to register to use A2C via NCFE when they and their chosen MIS provider are ready.
Making the move to A2C may seem a difficult transition for centres, but don’t worry, NCFE and the MIS providers are ready to provide support every step of the way. We recognise that due to a variety of reasons, not all centres will make the transition to A2C immediately and that’s fine! We’ll continue to support our customers who want to stay on a non-A2C route (eg our portal) until they’re ready to make the switch.
As always, we’re keen to hear our customers’ views and would like to know how these changes will affect you and your centre. Please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or giving us a call on 0191 239 8000.
NCFE has been functionally complete for a number of months and has been waiting for MIS providers to be available to finish integration testing. During this time the project has been impacted by decisions from AQA and Pearson to not go live in September, and this has resulted in Capita FHE also pausing their go live.
While the development team has been focused on A2C, other internal projects at NCFE have been affected with the potential risk of impacting our business plan goals.
In order to mitigate this risk to NCFE the senior management team has had to respond accordingly; the external factors of the A2C project have been reviewed, taking into consideration the reduction of AOs and the current availability of MIS providers to undertake an end-to-end test and pilot.
After discussion, the PSG has made the decision to reduce the development team and to focus on other high priority projects. The reduced resource will remain committed to the project and will be involved in any discussions such as with Capita SIMS and their VQ development. This will ensure that we retain subject knowledge and are aware of any potential changes.
This has been a difficult decision to make, however the senior management team believes that this is the most effective outcome to satisfy our internal projects and A2C commitments. Discussion around the benefit of going live on version 2 early in 2016 or to wait until version 3 is still being held, however this is subject to the availability and progress of the other organisations involved.
From September 2014:
Capita FHE (unit-e)
Capita Further and Higher Education Division
For a number of years prior to JCQ’s decision to develop the A2C system, Capita F&HE had initiated and then led the education sector campaign for a replacement to the three existing EDI systems from the larger awarding organisations. We were therefore fully engaged from the outset in JCQ’s discussions on their new A2C system and been the main contributing MIS supplier since the specification process commenced in detail and then throughout the lengthy development stages. As a consequence, our new A2C examinations software will be ready for JCQ’s ‘go-live’ date of 1 September 2014. This will initially be for a small group of pilot sites; however once that phase has completed, the roll-out to all our customers will follow shortly afterwards, with most sites expected to migrate during 2015.
Capita’s further and higher education business is one of the largest and most respected suppliers of management systems to the further and higher education sectors. It provides a range of integrated software and services delivered by highly qualified and experienced professionals to help reduce administration and increase efficiency for all its customers.
Capita’s MIS system for further education is named UNIT-e and is to be found in over 140 colleges. Capita’s unique understanding of the sector empowers customers to maximise funding, minimise administrative burdens, optimise business processes and simplify the management of Management Information Systems.
As a division of Capita Plc, the company has experienced strong and consistent growth since its inception in 1999. Its products are used by more than 180 further educational establishments across the UK. Capita’s further and higher education business is also a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. Further information regarding Capita’s further and higher education business can be found at: www.capita-fhe.co.uk
From January 2015:
Advanced Learning (Facility, Progresso)
Advanced Computer Software
Advanced Learning is part of the Advanced Computer Software Group, one of the UK’s largest providers of software.
Advanced provides administration systems into over 2,000 educational establishments in the UK. Our systems put the right information in the hands of the right people at the right time and helps drive learning in schools throughout the UK and beyond.
Advanced Learning’s school management information systems, Facility and Progresso, both manage internal and external examinations, processing entries and results back out to students. They both support the nationally agreed Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) format.
Product development at Advanced is jointly undertaken with its educational customers, with input taken right from the generation of concepts through to final testing in school environments.
Further information on Advanced Learning’s products and services can be found at www.advanced-learning.co.uk
Advanced Learning is working closely with JCQ on its A2C Data Exchange Project to release updated functionality for use from September 2015.
Compass Computer Consultants (Prosolution)
Corero Resource became part of Civica Education in 2013. Civica is a market leader in specialist systems and business process services for organisations across the public sector and around the world. We supply Student/Learner Management, Financial Management, HR and Payroll solutions to the education sector.
We have been active members of the A2C project from the outset and are implementing this as part of a major revamp of our Exams module going live in January 2015.
Furlong Business Solutions (SchoolBase)
From March 2015:
Capita SIMS (Exam Organiser)
SIMS has been the leading Management Information System (MIS) for UK schools for over 25 years and is embedded in the daily lives of teachers, senior leaders and other staff in over 22,000 schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
SIMS Examinations Organiser is used for the administration of both internal and external examinations. It uses information provided by the examination boards to enable candidates to be entered for examinations and the results to be subsequently received.
The module currently supports the nationally agreed Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) format used by examination boards. Therefore entries, amendments, forecast grades and coursework marks can all be sent via the A2C Migration Application, and results received in the same way.
For any examination series, the school identifies which examinations are to be taken and which candidates are going to take them. Those candidates must be registered for each examination. Once candidates have been entered for the required examinations, the actual sitting of the examinations can be organised. This includes the school examination timetable, individual candidate timetables, room and seat allocation.
We are pleased to be working with the JCQ on their A2C Data Exchange Project and we are aiming for a Autumn 2018 release for a pilot roll-out to our schools, for use from the Summer of 2019.
Further information on SIMS products can be found here.
Centres with commercial MIS
MIS Suppliers will invite centres to be part of the pilot. Centres who agree to be part of the pilot will be listed here when known.
The expectation is that most homegrown centres will develop their solutions during 2015-16.