Notice to centres regarding the removal of DCS for Dental Nursing

Ofqual announced in September 2019 that all Awarding Organisations (AOs) will be required to introduce a Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS) strategy no later than September 2021. This approach forms part of Ofqual’s overall strategy to improve the controls AOs have in place where an assessment is marked by a centre (Condition H2).


AOs need to determine the most appropriate CASS approach for each of their qualifications and must meet Ofqual’s minimum requirements.  One specific form of CASS is moderation and Ofqual has defined some qualifications will always be subject to moderation (such as GCSEs, A levels and Technical Qualifications).


Moderation is defined as per the new CASS as:


A particular form of Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny through which the marking of assessments by Centres is monitored to make sure it meets required standards and through which adjustments to a Centre’s marking are made, where required, to ensure that results are based on the required standard. Moderation takes place before final results are issued under Condition H6.1.


There are other forms of CASS which involve periodically checking the marking of an assessment by a centre either before results are issued, after results are issued or a combination of these which relates to Direct Claims Status (DCS).


In order to be proactive in our approach to these changes we have started to review our portfolio of qualifications to identify whether other qualifications should be subject to moderation. We have started with our licence to practice qualifications as these provide entry in to a registered profession so require tighter controls. We are confident that these changes will give extra assurance to sector specific bodies such as the General Dental Council (GDC) and protect the integrity of the qualification creating better outcomes for learners.


Following our review we have decided that DCS will be removed from the qualification below and the removal will take effect from 1 August 2020.


NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in the Principles and Practice of Dental Nursing (QRN: 601/2251/1)


We understand that you may have some concerns regarding how this will affect the certification of your learners, therefore to support you with this we will:


  • ensure External Quality Assurers (EQAs) action certificate claims within 3 working days.
  • not charge centres for additional visits to sign-off learner achievements (if required), during the first 12 months following the removal of DCS. This will be monitored throughout the 2020-2021 session with support from EQAs; and reviewed at the end of the 2020-2021 session.
  • ensure we have sufficient EQA resource in place across the country to support centres (which will be reviewed regularly).


If you have any queries regarding this change, please contact your EQA or you can email the External Quality Assurance team at [email protected].


During moderation reviews your EQA will sample the square root of the learners registered in line with our EQA Sampling Strategy. All units will be sampled across each cohort of learners prior to certification.  Should the initial sample highlight any issues with the centre’s marking the EQA will increase their sample.


If you have any queries regarding this change, please contact your EQA or you can email the External Quality Assurance team at [email protected].