Description of the goods or services required
The objective of this piece of work is for the contractor to provide a report which explores possible (in the form of scenarios) market outcomes as a result of the structural shifts in the market that could arise during the period of implementation of qualification reform. The consultant should:
- Identify (in the absence of any further intervention from Ofqual) and set out the potential changes to the demand side (eg greater price sensitivity) and supply side characteristics (eg fewer/more competitors) of the GCSE and A level markets - medium and longer term?
- Drawing on these establish possible forward looking market risks and scenarios for future market outcomes and whether these will have a negative impact on the aims of the reform programme
- Then, for each scenario identify possible regulatory or other interventions to secure standards, public confidence and VfM in qualification provision
- Establish longer term principles for how the GCSEs and A level market should evolve
The appointed contractor should provide potential scenarios and pen portraits of what the industry could look like, without further intervention. For different scenarios and deliverables different information may need to be provided.
This will require the contractor to identify potential implications for the supply-side but also changes in schools behaviours (demand side) driven by a number of factors including changes to accountability measures and the teaching requirements of the new qualifications. An important factor here is that on the basis of the status quo schools will be making decisions about which of the new qualification specifications to teach in advance of there being certainty on the cost of delivering and awarding these qualifications – reforms to GCSES and A levels are phased and this contributes to the length of uncertainty on future volumes and costs. There is also an expectation that the current level of cross subsidy in prices will unwind as exam boards become more focused on profitable qualifications and this will be another factor in exam board decisions on prices.
These scenarios should be compared against Ofqual’s aims of reform to identify the potential risks to the successful implementation of the reform. The appointed contractor should then provide potential policy options which could alleviate any potential impacts which put the aims of reform at risk (whether through reducing the probability of those events occurring or reducing the impacts when they do occur). These policy options may draw on case studies and examples in other industries.
The intention would be to publish this external analysis alongside a think piece / discussion paper from Ofqual pulling together the possible market impacts of the reform programme and options for our regulatory approach going forward.
This analysis should be delivered in the form of a written report and a set of slides which will be presented by the contractor to a group of senior Ofqual staff, and Ofqual board.
This work should be done in close consultation with Ofqual. In addition to initial meeting, it would be expected that the contractor spent time early in the programme meeting with internal staff, and having a weekly catch up with the project team.
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