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Is my CIPD qualification a degree?


I am currently looking to change career and get into teaching.

I contacted CIPD in the summer, and was advised that my qualification, achieved in October 2008, was equivalent to a Masters, 120 credits - CATs points. However, upon successfully achieving a teacher training interview, my application has now been reviewed and the training provider has stated that my qualification does not meet the degree requirement.

I asked CIPD to email details of my qualification, and they said I completed all 4 fields of Professional Development Scheme. I studied this with BPP Malpas.

For clarity, the teacher training requirement is a degree, preferably with a 1st or a 2:1 but they will consider 2:2s. And this is where I am now confused as I was informed that my qualification was the equivalent of a Masters, and therefore higher than a degree.

I'm now very confused and very much in limbo - I start a new position as a teaching assistant in January with a view of training to become a qualified teacher based on the information I was given, but am now told that my qualification may not meet the requirement.

I would appreciate any advice here.

  • Hi Nicola, sorry to hear that you’re having trouble. Your best bet will probably be to wait to hear back from CIPD directly but my guess would be that your qualification is probably at postgraduate level (Level 7) and may even be the same amount of credits as a Masters but would not count as one for these purposes as it is a professional qualification. You normally would not be able to study for a Masters degree at any UK university without an undergraduate degree or international equivalent. I hope you are able to figure it out.
  • In reply to Katie:

    Thanks Katie

    To be accepted for teacher training, although they state that they require a 2:1 degree, they do allow equivalents.

    The actual wording is:
    'For postgraduate teacher training programmes, you'll need to hold an undergraduate degree awarded by a higher education provider in England or Wales, or a recognised equivalent qualification.'

    This is where I am now really concerned as I was advised by CIPD that my qualification was equivalent to level 7 and therefore was in excess of that requirement. But unless I can go back to the training provider with further details, I will not be accepted to train as a teacher.
  • In reply to Nicola Bennett:

    Hi Nicola

    It's not just Level that counts but number of credits too, such that an honours degree is normally deemed to be at least 360 credits with 120 at L4; 120 at L5 and 120 at L6. Thus 120 credits equate to a year of full time academic study, so your Level 7 equates, same as a Masters degree, to a year's full time at L7.

    They seem to be saying that you're therefore 'short' of 240 credits, irrespective of Level of study, which seems a very narrow and blinkered view indeed to me, as you'd normally have needed at least that to have gained admittance to the CIPD L7 course!

    In addition to accepting equivalent formal academic qualifications, they should be supporting and properly recognising APEL - the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning. I'd be putting these points to them and asking how you can formally appeal their decision and if needs be complain formally against it to their inspectorate body (whose name I forget). Try and get good academic references too that ideally unequivocally recommend your suitability for such a course.

    Make sure you get a reasoned decision in writing from one of the Institution's very senior staff and not just a kneejerk 'jobsworth' reaction from some junior official and if needs be appeal it every way you can and try other academic institutions, who might well not be so rigid.

    Years ago, it was very common for universities etc to refuse to recognize vocational qualifications such as NVQs and GNVQs and apprenticeships and even ONCs and HNCs as entry requirements and a lot of them needed dragging out of their ermine-lined comfortable ivory towers and eventually most of them had to change, although there was still a lot of variability.

  • In reply to David:

  • In reply to David:

    It shocked me recently to discover that a very accomplished and widely respected (and extensively-published) local poet was refused entry to a Literature MA programme because she didn't happen to possess a formal honours first degree qualification.

    For the sake of not having a bit of paper from long ago, it seemed an obviously and totally crass decision and IMHO unlawfully-discriminatory too, on the grounds that a female now in late middle age when they themselves left school only had at very most 2 or 3% chance of going on to do a degree compared with those today whose chances are what?? - 15 or 20 times greater?

    It all seems so unfair and do hope you can persuade them otherwise (an afterthought too re the discrimination angle above - look up the 'Public Sector Equality Duty' which they're supposed to observe.

  • It may not be of help but you can become a teacher without a degree through the PGCE route. It would be better than being a TA first potentially as you are employed as an unqualified teacher and you qualify on the job over 2 years. I know this as I'm currently employed in a school. It might be worth asking your new employer if they will sponsor you? there is a huge deficit of teachers, especially due to Covid so you will find a placement.
  • In reply to Sadie:

    Furthermore, (sorry to ramble on so much about all this!) this I think thoroughly outlines Accreditation of Prior Learning processes as they should be applied in this context
  • Thanks everyone.

    Hopefully CIPD can reply and confirm the situation tomorrow, and provide enough evidence for me to submit. Ideally it's this route I want to go down, but can investigate the PGCE route as well.

    They have asked if I have completed a L6 degree as part of my qualification. As I understand it, what I did was a L6 qualification at that time, but is now recognised as the equivalent of a L7/Masters. Which is why I'm confused as to why it has, initially at least, been deemed not to meet the requirements.
  • In reply to Nicola Bennett:

    Hi Nicola

    I’d suspect that CIPD will only ultimately be able to confirm that the Diploma is a Level 7 Qualification carrying 120 credits.

    Each credit unit represents 10 notional hours of study, so for postgraduate qualifications at Level 7 there’s typically a full blown Masters Degree which carries 180 credits; a Postgraduate Diploma which carries 120 credits and a Postgraduate Certificate which carries 60 credits. A single full time academic year of study is taken to represent 120 credits.

    Thus, *none* of the above qualifications, despite all being at Level 7, will ever equate fully to eg an honours first degree, which as outlined above usually involves at least three years equivalent of full time academic study and carries 360 credits.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    15 Dec, 2020 11:15

    Hi Nicola - welcome to the Community.

    I'll check where we are with your query.
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    But I'm sure CIPD won't ever state that the L7 Diploma is necessarily or fully equivalent to a Bachelors First Degree because for reasons already spelled out in detail in previous posts, it most certainly isn't........,