The Core Award

The Core Award
A guiding principle behind the core Modbac transcript is captured in a key recommendation from the March 2011 Wolf Report on Vocational Education.

“Recommendation 2:
At Key Stage 4, schools should be free to offer any qualifications they wish from a regulated Awarding Body whether or not these are approved for performance measurement purposes, subject to statutory/health and safety requirements.”

Modbac recognises the primacy of English and Maths GCSEs, and a Science qualification at the heart of a balanced qualification offer (we expect a Science qualification to be part of the “best eight” of every learner). Modbac also recognises the pressure that schools will be under to meet the new restrictions introduced regarding what qualifications count in performance measures from 2014 onwards.

Modbac acknowledges that any curriculum will be built around qualifications that ensure a “best eight” set that meet the new requirements, and embraces the vision of a broad and balanced curriculum 14+, ideally encompassing the subject disciplines of humanities, languages, technology and expressive arts.

However, Modbac also acknowledges that a significant number of learners will not be served well by a diet of GCSEs alone, and that the current decisions made to restrict the range of qualifications that “count” in school performance measures could be considered unduly harsh. Modbac also recognises the power of some qualifications “outside the performance measures” to significantly raise performance “inside the performance measures”.

Therefore,  Modbac places no restrictions on the qualifications that can count (save for “multiple equivalencies” counting up to a maximum of two). School leaders therefore have the freedom to meet learner needs as expressed in Wolf Recommendation 2.

Modbac acknowledges that qualifications smaller than a “GCSE equivalency”, such as Extended Projects, Wider Key Skills, Short Course GCSEs and QCF Unit- and Award-sized qualifications, have an important place in 14-19 programmes of study that motivate, engage and empower learners to exceed expectations. These will count to the value of their equivalencies.
The Modbac framework also embraces a wide range of pan-European and international qualifications such as iGCSEs, EQF (European Qualification Framework) qualifications, IB (International Baccalaureate), etc. The Teacher handbook contains further details.

In sum, Modbac will incentivise students to exceed expectations, irrespective of their ability, and celebrate attainment and progress in the following way:

Modbac Intermediate (GCSE A*-C, QCF/NQF Level 2, EQF L3)
To be awarded..                        A learner will have to gain the following grades…

Best five… …in a best eight of
DISTINCTION* Grade A* in English and Maths and 3 others (GCSE or equivalent) Grade A GCSEs or equivalent, or with Level 3 qualifications (AS-Level, CoPE L3, Vocational etc.)
DISTINCTION Grade A or above in English and Maths plus 3 others (GCSE or equivalent) Grade B GCSE or equivalent
MERIT Grade C or above in English and Maths and 3 others (GCSE or equivalent) Grade C GCSE or equivalent
PASS Grade C or above in five subjects (GCSE or equivalent) Level 2 threshold

Modbac Foundation (GCSE D-G, QCF/NQF Level 1, EQF L2)
To be awarded..                        A learner will have to gain the following grades…

Best five… …in a best eight of
DISTINCTION* Grade D or above in English and Maths and 3 others (GCSE or equivalent) Level 1 qualifications
DISTINCTION Grade E or above in English and Maths plus 3 others (GCSE or equivalent) Level 1 qualifications
MERIT Grade G or above in English and Maths and 3 others (GCSE or equivalent) Level 1 qualifications
PASS Grade G or above in five subjects (GCSE or equivalent) Level 1 threshold

Exceptional performance and achievement, such as success in AS levels, graded music exams or higher level vocational qualifications will also be reported on the learner transcript, as will the opportunity to report whether the learner has exceeded expectations, either in terms of targets set or progress against national rates.

Modbac Entry is formulated in a similar way, to encourage the growth of competencies and skills to access foundation level attainment and achievement for MLD, SLD, other special needs learners of all ages, and for learners entering formal or adult learning for the first time.

Distinction*     4  Entry Quals at Entry 3 ( or above) to include an Entry 3 qualification in English and Maths (Functional Skills or Basic Skills)


Distinction   3 Entry Quals  at Entry 2 ( or above ) to include English and Maths (Functional Skills or Basic Skills)


Merit 2 Entry Quals at Entry 1 (including English and/or Maths at Entry 1 (Application) or above (Functional Skills or Basic Skills)

Pass 1 Entry qualification at Entry 1 (inclusive of E1 bottomless P1-3) or above.

Achievement/Progress against agreed targets will be reported, giving practitioners a chance to celebrate progression, however small, acknowledging the significant barriers to learning that can exist within the Entry level continuum.

Modbac Advanced will also be developed rapidly in consultation with 16+ providers, and will contain a transcript of prior attainment and achievement.

The transcript will be designed so that Modbac can be used formatively as well as summatively (with predicted grades used during, say, Year 11 to inform transition, or Year 12/13 to inform the UCAS process).