UKOLN Metadata for Education Group (MEG) logo

List of UK Educational Levels

DRAFT version 0.7

This document is PRESENTLY UNDER REVIEW, and should be read as a PROVISIONAL DRAFT, for guidance only. Both the terms included and the relationships between terms represented in this table are subject to alteration. If you intend to use any of these terms to describe an audience level for a resource, please consult the current, authoritative descriptions of the terms as supplied by their maintainers. (See section 3 following table for links to their sources).

Progress on this work can be tracked on the uk-meg mailing list [list archives].

Comments should be addressed to

1. Introduction

Across the UK, learners are able to undertake a wide range of academic, vocational and non-vocational courses of study, many of which result in a formal qualification of one kind or another. For those producing content of relevance to these learners, it has traditionally proved difficult to effectively describe the curriculum levels at which their resources are directed, with the result that individual organisations often develop their own terminology to solve the problem. This document, produced under the auspices of the Metadata for Education Group (MEG), is intended to offer a single relatively general set of terms describing levels of education across the United Kingdom.

2. UK Educational Levels

The tables, below, introduce the set of terms defined in this document by MEG. Further, each table attempts to illustrate the approximate relationships between individual qualifications and programmes. This should be considered as solely illustrative and in no way an implication that an English AS Level, say, is the same as a Scottish Higher.

All of the terms used in these tables are linked to definitions in Section 3.

Academic Levels

High Level Terms General Terms (Academic) Specific Terms (Academic)
Entry Level NC Foundation
NC Key Stage 1 Scottish 5-14 Curriculum
NC Key Stage 2
NC Key Stage 3
Foundation Level
(Level 1)
NC Key Stage 4 GCSE SCQF Level 1 NQ Access 1 GCSE Grade D-G
SCQF Level 2 NQ Access 2
SCQF Level 3 NQ Access 3 SCE Standard Grade Foundation
Intermediate Level
(Level 2)
SCQF Level 4 NQ Intermediate 1 SCE Standard Grade General GCSE Grade A*-C
SCQF Level 5 NQ Intermediate 2 SCE Standard Grade Credit
Advanced Level
(Level 3)
GCE AS Level SCQF Level 6 NQ Higher SCE Higher
SCQF Level 7 SHE Level 1 Certificate Level NQ Advanced Higher SCE CSYS Certificate of Higher Education
GCE AE Award
Level 4 HND SCQF Level 8 SHE Level 2 Intermediate Level Diploma of Higher Education
Foundation Degree
SCQF Level 9 SHE Level 3
SCQF Level 10 SHE Level H Honours Level Honours Degree
Graduate Certificate
Graduate Diploma
Level 5 SCQF Level 11 SHE Level M Masters Level Postgraduate Diploma
Postgraduate Certificate
Masters Degree
SCQF Level 12 SHE Level D Doctoral Level Doctoral Degree


Vocational Levels

High Level Terms General Terms (Vocational)
Entry Level
Foundation Level
(Level 1)
Foundation GNVQ SCQF Level 1
SCQF Level 2
SCQF Level 3
Intermediate Level
(Level 2)
Intermediate GNVQ SCQF Level 4 Level 1 SVQ Level 1 GSVQ
SCQF Level 5 Level 2 SVQ Level 2 GSVQ
Advanced Level
(Level 3)
Advanced GNVQ SCQF Level 6 Level 3 SVQ Level 3 GSVQ
SCQF Level 7
Level 4 SCQF Level 8 Level 4 SVQ
SCQF Level 9
SCQF Level 10
Level 5 SCQF Level 11 Level 5 SVQ
SCQF Level 12


Non-vocational/ Occupational Levels

High Level Terms General Terms (Occupational)
Entry Level
Foundation Level
(Level 1)
Level 1 NVQ
Intermediate Level
(Level 2)
Level 2 NVQ
Advanced Level
(Level 3)
Level 3 NVQ
Level 4 Level 4 NVQ
Level 5 Level 5 NVQ


Key Skills

High Level Terms Key Skills
Entry Level
Foundation Level
(Level 1)
Key Skills Level 1
Intermediate Level
(Level 2)
Key Skills Level 2
Advanced Level
(Level 3)
Key Skills Level 3
Level 4 Key Skills Level 4
Level 5 Key Skills Level 5


Basic Skills

High Level Terms Basic Skills
Entry Level
Foundation Level
(Level 1)
Intermediate Level
(Level 2)
Advanced Level
(Level 3)
Level 4
Level 5


Statements of learning objectives etc.

table of generic terms to describe difficulty etc within a level (easy, intermediate, advanced, etc.) - so you can have an 'easy' Doctoral level resource, which may also be considered an 'advanced' A Level resource...


Statements of Difficulty

From IMS and the LOM... Need some generic text, and definitions

very easy
very difficult

3. Terms and their Definitions

Those making use of these terms should enter them exactly as shown here in order to maintain interoperability across applications utilising this list. See Section 4 for more information on usage.

English, Welsh and Northern Irish National Qualifications Framework

English, Welsh and Northern Irish National Curricula

English, Welsh and Northern Irish General Certificate of Secondary Education

English, Welsh and Northern Irish General Certificate of Education

Scottish 5-14 Curriculum

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

Scottish Certificate of Education

Scottish National Qualifications

Higher National Qualifications

Scottish Higher Education (SHE) Levels

Higher Education Qualifications Framework

Higher Education Qualifications

English, Welsh and Northern Irish General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ)

National Vocational Qualifications

4. Notes on Usage

RDF namespace or what? Also need a Scheme declaration (MEG-UK-LEVELS ?). Use terms exactly as written in the table. A single namespace, or one for NC, one for SCE, one for SQA, etc...?

DECOSLO experience; need upper and lower bounds (resource applies from Foundation Degree - Masters Degree, etc)

5. Outstanding Issues

6. Acknowledgements

This document is based upon prior work contributed by numerous members of the uk-meg mailing list. Specifically, we would like to acknowledge the input of Alan Slevin (Learning & Teaching Scotland), ...

The editors wish to thank all of those who contributed, and apologise for any unintentional misrepresentation of their contributions on this page.

7. Main online sources consulted

Department for Education and Employment Qualifications Framework
Higher Still
Learning & Skills Agency Credit Framework
Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment Northern Ireland Curriculum
Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment Qualifications 16-19
QAA Framework for Higher Education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
QAA Framework for qualifications of Higher Education Institutions in Scotland
QCA Curriculum and Assessment
QCA Qualifications Framework
US Department of Education User and Controlled Vocabularies for "Level of Education" Element