Guidance on Qualification Time


Guided Learning Hours (GLH) include time dedicated to direct teacher/learner interaction, and for the AFA in Creative Writing is likely to include:

  • a timetabled allocation of lessons
  • the critical workshop
  • examinations and practice examinations in the presence of an invigilator
  • attendance at readings and creative workshops by professional writers (organised by the centre)
  • one-to-one tutorials between teachers and learners.

The Total Qualification Time (TQT) includes GLH, but also includes any time spent by learners working independently towards completion of the AFA programme. This may include:

  • homework
  • independent reading, research, and writing
  • peer review and peer-to-peer critique
  • attendance at readings and creative workshops by professional writers (organised by individual learners).

The structure of the AFA, including the volume of reading and writing required for WRITE-1 Portfolio, along with preparation for the two examined units (WRITE-2 and WRITE-3), is equivalent to the old AQA A-Level.

In practice, no current centre offering the AFA has that much curriculum time. At present, centres are, on average, delivering the AFA on something like the following basis:

Guided Learning Hours (GLH)Total Qualification Time (TQT)
  120 (across two years)   equivalent to approximately 2 hours per week  270 (across two years, including school holidays)   equivalent to an additional 2 hours independent study per week

This is our minimum recommendation for centres wishing to run the AFA programme. A handful of centres do have fewer GLH than our recommendation. Centres may run the AFA on this basis, so long as they recognise that fewer GLH places more of a burden on individual learners to supply the deficiency through independent study. The nature of Creative Writing as a discipline does make this possible, but it requires motivation, organisation, and rigour on the part of learners to complete the programme in such circumstances.