Clarifying a few points on NVQ questions

16 February 2006
Clarifying a few points on NVQ questions

Following the publication of your reader's letter "An easy route to ‘not very qualified'" (Caterer, 2 February, page 20), I welcome the opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings that have arisen.

I would like to confirm that the Hospitality Awarding Body (HAB) is a division of the City & Guilds Group and is still operating business as usual. There will be no requirement for HAB centres to transfer to City & Guilds this September and we will be consulting with our combined customers to ensure that we meet their needs. This consultation process will begin at the end of next month, when we will be holding centre forums throughout the UK.

While the author is right to point out the difference between HAB and City & Guilds in the number of knowledge or "what you must know" questions (as the new standards state), several key points have not been taken into consideration.

The assessment strategy produced by People 1st, the Sector Skills Council, clearly states the use of "observation as the primary method of assessment" within the Catering and Hospitality NVQs. To avoid duplication, the use of underpinning knowledge questions should be used only when candidates cannot demonstrate their knowledge or provide practical evidence through being observed. The assessment strategy also clearly states the use of accreditation of prior learning during the initial assessment of the candidate.

It's also interesting to note that the unit on "Prepare, cook and finish complex soups" has 15 "what you must know" statements, which corresponds with the number of questions that City & Guilds has produced. Of these 15 questions, nine clearly ask the candidate "how to", which clearly allows the candidate to be observed carrying out practical activities, making the requirement for asking all the questions unnecessary.

Awarding bodies are not required to provide the underpinning knowledge questions and both City & Guilds and HAB provide these questions as an additional service to centres. They can use either the City & Guilds or HAB questions, or even develop their own questions. In addition to our revised catering and hospitality logbooks, in the spring we will be offering our centres an online version of the underpinning knowledge questions which should further reduce the marking burden on assessors.

On behalf of the catering and hospitality industry, HAB and City & Guilds are jointly developing a new range of vocationally related qualifications (VRQs) in professional cookery and welcome any input on the content from our centres.

In the meantime, if anyone within the industry has any concerns, we will be happy to address them directly. Please contact Matt Lardi at City & Guilds (020 7294 2585) or Oliver Taylor at HAB (01895 817032) or e-mail

Matt Lewis
Senior manager, Services Industry, City & Guilds

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