The programme is governed by a board with representation from each of the JCQ Awarding Organisations, and JCQ.
The key stakeholders in the A2C Programme are:
JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications)
The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) awarding organisations are co-ordinating and leading the A2C Programme and are working alongside stakeholders to make sure the programme achieves its aims and provides a smooth transition for all involved.
The Information Standards Board (ISB) is jointly sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education. It is the system wide authority for data and information standards in the education, skills and children’s services.
We are working closely with the ISB to look for opportunities to align with ISB standards. See the ISB website here for further information on the ISB.
Commercial MIS Suppliers
The suppliers who are known to be implementing A2C are:
- Advanced (Progresso/Facility/CloudSchool)
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.
- Advanced (ProSuite)
Advanced Computer Software is one of the UK’s leading providers of innovative IT management systems for further education colleges and training providers.
With more than 25 years’ experience, Advanced’s range of solutions includes ProAchieve, a success, retention and achievement analysis system used by 95% of colleges in England, and the highly regarded student record system, ProSolution.
ProSolution’s brand new exams module has been designed around the A2C framework and delivers a host of wider improvements to make ProSolution more efficient for exams officers – taking full advantage of the rich data offered by A2C.
Advanced’s portfolio of solutions have been developed in partnership with further education colleges and the company is well known for providing high quality training and support to our customers.
Further information on our suite of products can be found at www.oneadvanced.com/solutions/prosuite
- Arbor Education (Arbor)
Arbor MIS (Management Information System) is the hassle-free way for schools and trusts to get work done.Whether you’re a primary, secondary or MAT, Arbor helps make your essential daily admin more powerful and less stressful – so everyone from your back office to your SLT can get on and focus where it matters most.We’ve already helped more than 1,000 schools and MATs make the switch to our smarter cloud-based MIS. With human support at every step!Arbor’s Examinations and Qualifications module, which comes as part of the MIS, reduces the complexity of exam management for schools. The module is working towards supporting A2C, as well as existing EDI processes. Arbor allows an Exams Officer to administer, track and manage all parts of a school’s examination cycle, including candidate entry, exam timetabling, exam day preparation and receiving candidate results. Teachers can view examination results and gather key insights by using the powerful results and analytics functions within the module.Visit our website to learn more.
- BehaviourWatch (SchoolPod)
SchoolPod is the School MIS system brought to you by the same minds that brought the highly acclaimed Teachers2Parents. Our Exams module supports the current method of Exchanging Examination Data and we aim for a September 2015 release of the new method in which Examination Data may be exchanged from schools to their respective Awarding Bodies.For further information regarding our School Information Management System ‘SchoolPod’, you can find more information here.
- Bromcom Computers (Bromcom MIS)
Bromcom has over 30 years’ experience providing innovative and award winning IT solutions to schools, multi-academy trusts and local authorities. Our cloud solutions are designed to empower all stakeholders to help improve performance and outcomes. We supply solutions to all phases and types of school including independent and government funded.Bromcom MIS is a cloud-based School Management Information System. It provides a comprehensive view of pupil and school performance covering attendance, behaviour, examinations and assessment including progress tracking. With parent and student portals, online payments and safeguarding features it has all the functionality your academy needs.Bromcom MIS is fully EDI compliant and working on A2C integration.For more information about Bromcom Computers Plc click here.
- Capita FHE (UNIT-e)
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
- Capita SIMS
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.
- Civica (REMS)
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.
- Double First (Engage)
- Furlong Business Solutions (SchoolBase)
- iSAMS Independent Ltd
Founded in 2005, iSAMS is the market leader in web-based, multi-platform education administration solutions. Transforming the way schools store, manage and communicate information, iSAMS offers a world-class Management Information System (MIS) that is intuitive to use, flexible in its approach and accessible globally.
iSAMS has quickly established itself as a leading and credible MIS partner, working with over 300 schools across the world. Our experienced and dedicated team remain determined in their quest to provide outstanding solutions for all our clients. Constantly developing, updating and improving the MIS with its portfolio of integrated modules, iSAMS helps schools to streamline and enhance their information management while they focus on delivering excellence for their pupils.
In order to meet the requirements outlined by the JCQ regarding the A2C Project, we have scheduled a full module upgrade of our External Exams Manager module. The A2C Project is currently being actively developed, with pilot schemes planned in preparation for a full rollout between 2016-2017.
For additional information about our MIS system, please see our website here.
For additional information about our External Exams Manager module, please see our website here.
- Learning Platforms
- Monterpoint Technologies Ltd
- Pellcomp Software
Pellcomp Software produce the PICS Learner Management System which has fulfilled the changing data requirements of the skills and employability sectors for over 20 years. Our client base of over 500 training providers, colleges & large employers enjoy a comprehensive system backed by market leading support services. From applicant management and financial analyses to online assessor and feedback tools, PICS offers a unified software solution covering many business requirements.
Visit www.pellcomp.co.uk to find out more.
Pellcomp have been involved with the A2C project for several years and fully intend on integrating PICS with A2C Awarding Organisations. Further details will be published to customers with regards to implementation in due course.
- RM Education
RM Integris is the No. 1 cloud-based MIS in the UK. Fully web-delivered, it is trusted by over 2,200 schools to deliver all of their MIS requirements.You can find out more about RM Integris here.
RM are fully committed to delivering all statutory requirements for their customers and will continue to do so in the future.
- Software Solutions (Warwick) Ltd
Tribal Group (www.tribalgroup.com) creates, builds and delivers a range of market leading solutions that help our education, learning and training customers deliver excellence. Operating globally, Tribal has a range of world class products, including SITS:Vision in the HE sector, ebs in the FE sector, Maytas and eTrack in the work based learning (WBL) sector, and SchoolEdge in the schools sector.
Tribal is fully and enthusiastically committed to supporting the A2C project across all relevant areas of its business.
- Unit 4
UNIT4 (www.unit4.com/uki) has been supplying the global education market since 1993 and now provides solutions to over 500 education and 200 research institutions around the world. From this experience, we have been able to recognise the issues currently within the sector and work closely with institutions to develop solutions that make a difference.
UNIT4 Campus consists of a range of products including Agresso Students in the Further and Higher Education Sectors. Agresso Students manages the entire student lifecycle with the agility to adapt in the face of internal and external change drivers.
UNIT4 are committed to the A2C project and regularly attend the monthly supplier implementation meetings. We will advise our customers with regards to implementation in due course.
- VS School MIS
VS School MIS is a cloud-based Management Information System, which works across multiple platforms and devices – accessible from anywhere. Fast, easy to use, elegant and affordable. Empowering all users to invest in and benefit from improved data entry, analysis and reporting – be they students, parents or staff.
Exam Officers (EOs) will soon be able to utilise the benefits that the new A2C standard brings, within the enhanced VS School MIS examinations module, launching September 2015.
If you would like more information or to view a demonstration, please visit our website vsware.ie or call 0161 907 1677
For over thirty years WCBS has worked closely with fee-paying schools worldwide to understand the challenges faced when managing their data.
From the origins of a simple database, WCBS has developed an effective and multi-faceted information management solution to meet the needs of schools ranging from entry-level in their early inception to the complex demands of a large institution.
The secure and robust single database seamlessly captures details of pupils, parents, teachers, administration staff and suppliers. This results in unprecedented control throughout the school, including the classroom, bursary, school and development offices, within the school or by remote access.
In order to meet the requirements outlined by the JCQ regarding the A2C Project, we have scheduled a full upgrade of our External Exams module. We will be piloting this module from September 2016 rolling this out live in September 2017.
- West March Systems Ltd (TERMS Evolution)
If you use a commercial MIS from a supplier not in this list, please let us know.
The following MIS will not be upgraded:
- Pearson (e1)
Pearson e1 is being withdrawn from the market so will not be upgraded for A2C. All e1 customers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should be migrated by September 2014. Customers in Scotland will be migrated in 2015.
Pearson Fronter (previously Phoenix) is not affected by A2C. The Pearson Fronter website is here
- Follett International (Aspen SIS)
Homegrowns (centres with an MIS developed in-house)
A number of centres with their own in-house Management Information Systems will be implementing A2C:
Acle Academy is planning to implement all necessary areas of the A2C specification except the transport layer, with the intention that transport be handled by the Enhanced Migration Application in the first instance. There are currently no plans to implement our own transport layer.
Development will commence in September 2014, with full implementation driven by the deprecation of the current EDI solution. Our homegrown MIS has an integrated Exams Module which currently communicates through EDI, so the transition to the new file formats and migration application will hopefully be relatively seamless for our staff.
Our MIS is developed entirely in .NET against SQL Server and is in use here at Acle and also at another school. There is just one developer (Derek Dickens) and I’m happy to be contacted by other homegrown centres.
The Academy’s website is http://www.acle.norfolk.sch.uk
Aquinas College is a sixth form college which offers about 85% percent A-Level courses and 15% vocational courses across five of the major exam boards. We deal with around two thousand students on a yearly basis and have our own MIS System to manage the data.
Our MIS System is written in .NET against an SQLServer database. We are planning on refactoring our exam entry section to bring it in line with the new A2C specification. We are currently planning on using the migration application to do the transport.
Our development team consists of two developers:
Feel free to get in touch if you would like to share ideas and collaborate!
Blackpool Sixth Form College
Brampton College is an independent 6th form college of around 250 students in Hendon, N. London. We have recently built our own MIS moving over from Serco’s Facility/eportal package. The MIS is built using .NET technology and backed by Microsoft SQL Server. The MIS has been designed by Neal Thornton, Director of Studies and implemented by NetReady in Leicester with an Internal application for management and a Web browser based Portal for teacher and student use. The system imports basedata and generates EDI entry files at present. We plan to use A2C’s new transport app for homegrown centres in the future.
Cambridge Tutors College
Dearne Valley College
Dr Challoner’s Grammar School
We have planned in development time from Jan 2015 to develop the necessary code for the A2C project and also to revise and update the other exam software suite which is now over 5 years old.
We are planning to integrate the transport into our software, but welcome the standalone transport solution as a useful fall back.
At present we use the .Net framework as our main technology stack for our MIS functions, on an SQL database.
Our main website is www.challoners.com
East Norfolk Sixth Form College
Farnborough Sixth Form College
The Sixth Form College Farnborough is planning to implement all necessary areas of the A2C specification minus the transport layer which would initially be reliant on the updated migration application. We may look into developing our own transport implementation further down the line.
Development is scheduled to begin in earnest in Summer 2014 and we aim to have migrated entirely to the new system by September 2016.
Our MIS and supplementary systems are developed using .NET and are backed by Microsoft SQL Server. We will be continuing to use these technologies during development of our A2C solution. Our development team consists of 3 full-time developers.
College website: http://farnborough.ac.uk/
Godalming College started development for A2C around January 2014. Unlike other centres that have MIS developed in house we have opted to write our own transport layer. The reasoning for this is because of our early start compared to other establishments. For our progress in development to not be hindered by the lack of an A2C client we had to implement our own to allow for testing with exam boards that we are working with and to allow for better integration into our MIS and database. We doubt at this stage that we will meet the September 2014 initial launch that commercial MIS are aiming for; we are hoping to have a pilot with one or more exam boards in 2015 with the intention of swapping over the rest by the summer of 2016. The plan is to go with a minimalistic approach and only implement what we need to cater for the awarding organisations we use, although so far it is looking to be most of the transactions anyway.
Our internal MIS are predominantly written in house using a Microsoft based stack comprising of C# .NET 4 web applications hosted on IIS and backed by MS SQL Server 2012. Our A2C system will be integrated directly into the already existing MIS with a web based interface. There are many reasons for us to do A2C ourselves but in essence it boils down to the massive disruption in service and financial constraints sixth forms currently have to deal with. If we were to purchase a commercial system it would likely involve a large restructure or replacement of our systems and that does not make sense for us financially or operationally.
Our development team consists of two full time developers but we also have others capable of database work that can assist with the SQL aspects such as database design and manipulation of data.
Contact Email: A2C@godalming.ac.uk
College Website: www.godalming.ac.uk
Greenhead College will be implementing the new A2C file formats, using the Migration Application to handle all transport with the AO’s. The transactions we’ll implement will be the minimum necessary to be compliant in the first instance – i.e. centre setup, send orders, receive results.
The timeframe will be guided by the EDI deprecation date, so we’d aim to launch by Sept’ 16. We are investing in A2C because we want to keep technical knowledge in house, plus the prohibitive cost of buying an alternative system.
We’re using open-source LAMP stack, although we do have experience using .Net / MSSQL in house. There are plans to increase the development team for this project (currently just one member of staff).
We are happy to be contacted by other centres in a similar situation.
The college website can be found at http://www.greenhead.ac.uk/
Hampton Court House School
The Harvey Grammar School
The school is working in conjunction with a local team from Wrighteous Solutions, a local software company, to re-write the exams administration suite within the management information system, which has been developed in-house over many years.
The MIS is currently based on SQL Server and ASP, but the A2C application will be constructed in Python.
The school will use the A2C Transport Application initially, but may look to produce its own version in time.
The development team consists of three programmers, together with the school’s Network Manager and Exams Officer.
Primary Contact: Bill Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hereford Sixth Form College
Holy Cross College
Holy Cross Sixth Form College are going to be implementing the necessary areas of the A2C specification, initially sending orders, receiving results, centre setup. We don’t have any plans currently to implement the transport layer and will rely on the migration application for this. Development will begin properly in Autumn 2014 and ideally we would like to be using the new system before September 2016.
We use ASP.Net and SQL Server. Four members of staff are involved in software development although primarily the work will be carried out by me, probably involving other developers later for web-interface work. I am happy to be contacted by other homegrown centres.
DDI: 0161 762 4516
Holy Cross College (www.holycross.ac.uk)
Paston Sixth Form College
We run our own SQL based system, using a mixture of aspx and MS Access to access the data. We will not be implementing transport, but are looking to share development locally for product catalogue and results import and entries export (for a limited range of boards/functionality).
Scarborough Sixth Form College
Scarborough Sixth Form College is planning initially to implement the following areas of the A2C specification:
- Create Centre Set-up notification
- Receive Product Catalogue
- Process Orders
- Receive results
The college is planning its development based on the assumption that the transport mechanism will be achieved using 3rd party software.
The intention is to begin development in September 2014 for completion in summer 2015.
The college employs 2 full time MIS staff who develop and manage the college MIS system using Visual Studio C# .NET and is based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 databases with SharePoint 2010 as the user interface.
Solihull Sixth Form College
St Peter’s School, York
Sutton Grammar School
Truro and Penwith College
Yarm School will be implementing the new A2C files format and use the A2C Transport Application to handle all transport with the exams boards.
We will start with the transactions we currently use, such as centre setup, catalogue download, send entries/amendments, receive results.
We aim to start tests using our autumn or spring entries this academic year (14/15) in parallel with the existing EDI method and fully migrate by September 2016.
Our MIS is built using PHP and MySQL with Windows servers.
There is only one developer in this project who is also the MIS Administrator. We also employ an assistant who helps with tests and help desk.
MIS administrator: email@example.com
FAB (Federation of Awarding Bodies)
Commercial AO Systems
Some Awarding Organisations use commercial systems. The following are being upgraded to support A2C:
- Parnassus (Gordon Associates)
Gordon Associates is a software house specialising in the provision of software solutions to awarding organisations. Parnassus is their awarding body management portal, which enables centres to register learners and upload achievement online, as well as a wide range of other functions.Over the next 12 months Parnassus will be extended to take advantage of A2C in order to provide improved data transfer with centre systems. Having been involved from the early stages of the project, Gordon Associates is committed to the A2C program and to the huge benefits that it will provide for both awarding organisations and centres: reduced administration, improved data accuracy, faster turnaround times and much more.
See www.parnassusonline.com for further details.
- Quartz (Portico Consulting)
Quartz is a market-leading IT system for AOs and EPAOs and builds on Portico’s unrivalled experience of over 20 years developing and supporting operational and management systems for awarding organisations. Over 35 awarding organisations have chosen the Quartz system to manage the development and quality assurance of qualifications, and the achievement, assessment records and certifications of millions of registered learners, and relationships with many thousands of centres.Quartz is a uniquely comprehensive system supporting the business management and entire operational and quality-assurance processes through a single integrated information system. This support includes registrations, awarding, certification and AuthentiQual® eCertification & Wallet (mobile device wallets); qualification development; business development, sales and marketing; centre approval and centre management; compliance and quality assurance; automated work-flow management; and support for EPAOs.
Quartz offers functionality to support core and additional operational areas of the work of AOs with innovative functionality and interoperability. These features are built-in – not bolted on.
Quartz provides multiple data input options, and tightly integrates with eAssessment and Finance systems, and with the PLR and LRS, and includes A2C compliance. There are no add-on modules required – all the functionality is included in the Quartz product as well as monthly release updates and full customer support.For more information and to arrange an online demonstration tailored to your specific requirements, please call our offices on 01483 226 910, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.porticoconsulting.co.uk
- Creatio Ltd
Creatio delivers proven work based solutions for both awarding organisations and centres to support a variety of their qualification delivery and learner-based arrangements.Their learner registration and certification module has been developed from the ground up to align with the A2C data architecture and will be fully integrated to the A2C landscape as the project develops.See http://www.creatio.org.uk for further details about Creatio or contact them for an informal meeting and discussion around their system and integration plans.
- Red Sky IT
Avco is developing an A2C solution for FAB Awarding Organisations.More information can be found at http://avcosystems.com/products/a2c
Education Departments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
The regulators in England (Ofqual), Wales (QW), Scotland (SQA) and Northern Ireland (CCEA)
Avco Systems Ltd. has been providing software development and other IT services since 1986. Avco first became involved with the A2C project in 2011, winning the tender to write the A2C Migration Application in order to replace the JCQ’s Value Added Networks. The Application is currently used in around 6,000 centres.
As the project progressed, Avco worked with the JCQ to advance the implementation of A2C Data Standards as well as providing additional A2C related services including consultancy. Avco subsequently offers three services;
- A Hosted A2C Service for Awarding Organisations
- An A2C Developer Kit for MIS Suppliers
- A2C Transport & Data Standards Consultancy
More information can be found at http://avcosystems.com/products/a2c
End users are represented by:
We are liaising with the Association of Colleges to ensure that views from all types of colleges including general FE, Sixth Form, Tertiary and Specialist Colleges are represented on the programme. For more information visit the AoC website.There will be a series of A2C seminars at the AoC Examinations Officers’ Conference in Nottingham on 4th and 5th February 2015. Event details can be found at www.aoc-create.co.uk/event/exams15/
- EOA (Examination Officers Association)
During the project we have been consulting the Examination Officers’ Association (EOA), setting up representative user groups to ensure the A2C model meets exams officer’s needs. For more information, visit the EOA website.