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ASA Ruling on Emmanuel School

Emmanuel School

37 Blackboy Road
Exeter
EX4 6SZ

Date:

6 August 2014

Media:

Internet (on own site)

Sector:

Education

Number of complaints:

1

Agency:

None

Complaint Ref:

A14-272432

Background

Summary of Council decision:

Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.

Ad

Claims on a page entitled "ICCE", of the website www.emmanuelschoolexeter.co.uk, which was accessible via a drop-down list labelled "Curriculum" from the home page, stated "What is the ICCE? ... the ICCE [International Certificate of Christian Education] Intermediate and Advanced both attract UCAS points (Universities and Colleagues Admissions Service) and are published in the International Qualifications Handbook providing formal recognition of the work completed by children on the ACE [Accelerated Christian Education] curriculum".

Issue

The complainant, a journalist and campaigner for change to the ACE curriculum and ICCE qualification, who understood that the ICCE Intermediate and Advanced did not attract UCAS tariff points and that their inclusion in the UCAS International Qualifications Handbook was for the purposes of providing information only and did not imply any formal recognition of the qualification, challenged whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:

1. "ICCE Intermediate and Advanced both attract UCAS points"; and

2. "[ICCE Intermediate and Advanced] are published in the International Qualifications Handbook providing formal recognition of the work completed by children on the ACE curriculum".

CAP Code (Edition 12)

Response

1. & 2. Emmanuel School said the claims had arisen from a mistaken understanding and had now been removed.

Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted that Emmanuel School had removed the claim "ICCE Intermediate and Advanced both attract UCAS points" from their website. We understood that the Intermediate and Advanced certificates did not carry UCAS tariff points and therefore concluded that the claim was misleading and breached the Code.

On that point, the claim breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).

2. Upheld

We noted that Emmanuel School had removed the claim that ICCE Intermediate and Advanced were "published in the International Qualifications Handbook providing formal recognition of the work completed by children on the ACE curriculum".

We acknowledged that the ICCE qualifications were listed in the UCAS International Qualifications Handbook 2014. However, we considered that consumers would understand from the claim that the inclusion of those qualifications in the handbook constituted an official recognition and endorsement of the qualifications by UCAS for the purposes of entry to UK higher education. We noted that the preface to the handbook stated, "The aim of the publication is to provide objective information, on the basis of which HEIs [higher education institutions] can make their own decisions about the admission of international students. The inclusion of qualifications does not imply recognition or endorsement on the part of UCAS or HEIs for the purpose of entry to HE [higher education] programmes".

Because Emmanuel School was located in the UK, we understood that the more applicable UCAS publication for universities considering applications from its students would be the UCAS UK Qualifications Handbook 2014. We noted that that handbook also listed the ICCE, and that the preface repeated the statement that the inclusion of any qualification did not imply recognition or endorsement of that qualification on the part of UCAS or HEIs, for the purposes of entry to HE in the UK.

We considered that any claim referring only to the inclusion of the ICCE qualifications in either UCAS handbook, without making clear that that inclusion was intended for information only and did not confer any form of recognition or endorsement by UCAS, was likely to mislead if made in a promotional context for an educational establishment offering those qualifications.

The claim by Emmanuel School referred to the inclusion of the qualifications in the International Handbook as "providing formal recognition of the work completed by children on the ACE curriculum". In view of the clear statement in the preface of that publication, we considered that the claim was misleading and breached the Code.

On that point, the claim breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).

Action

The claims must not appear again in their current form. We told Emmanuel School not to claim or imply that the ICCE Intermediate or Advanced qualifications attracted UCAS tariff points, or that the fact of their being listed in the UCAS International or UK Qualifications Handbooks conferred any form of recognition or endorsement of those qualifications on the part of UCAS.

How to comply with the rules

For advice and training on the Advertising Codes please visit the CAP website.

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