Connecting With SQA - SQA's Monthly E-zine.

Friday, 7 April 2006
Issue 6

Physics is fun

GRAPHIC: Physics is fun.Around 2,000 children descended on Moray College, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) for a science festival (which we co-sponsored).

Moray College is one of the partnership of 15 colleges and research institutions that make up the UHI Millennium Institute, the higher education network in the Highlands and Islands, which is aiming to gain university status in 2007.

Moray hosted the Moray Science Festival which featured workshops for children where they lit a torch with a lemon; discovered why the sky is blue and sunsets are red using milk and a torch; and saw a variety of living animals and their feeding methods. They could hold a hissing cockroach or a giant African land snail and watch as the beasties had dinner!

Another attraction was The Cosmic Dome, an inflatable planetarium in which stars were projected, and the science and beauty of light and sound were demonstrated.

There were shows about astronomy, the history of space flight and of electricity, all designed to give the youngsters hands-on experience, and lots of fun (as depicted in the image, provided by the Northern Scot).

The workshops were organised by students on the Access to Science Programme.

Moira Currie, science curriculum leader at Moray College UHI, said: 'The childrenís events are extremely tiring, but so much fun. The youngsters really love them, especially the ones where they can get messy! And they are a great confidence booster for our students.'

The Moray Festival helped to launch National Science Week in the region.

Find out more about National Science Week.

G8 artwork returns to artists

GRAPHIC: G8 artists.

Last yearís G8 Summit at Gleneagles made history, but for eight young Scots, it was a personal triumph too.

To provide an extra-special memento of the event, we were asked to nominate the best of the expressive artwork produced for last yearís Higher Art and Design Course, and from these, First Minister Jack McConnell made a selection of eight pieces that were presented to the spouses of the G8 delegate leaders. The pieces now hang in such distinguished locations as the White House, the Kremlin and 10 Downing Street.

The eight talented candidates were: Alison Ballantyne (Gleniffer High School), Marloes De Boer (Banchory Academy), Louise Holsgrove (St Cuthbertís High, Johnstone), Sarah Hardie (Dollar Academy), Maria Cox (St Columbaís, Dumfermline), Carla Corrieri (Dunblane High), Laura Kerr (Prestwick Academy), Sandy MacRae (Anderson High, Lerwick).

At a reception in Edinburgh recently, the artists were presented with special prints of the pieces that we had had made before the summit.

Before that presentation, the prints had been displayed at our annual Awards Ceremony, to much acclaim. They were then shipped to Brussels to become one of the centrepieces of a major 'Best of British' exhibition that marked Britainís Presidency of the European Union. They were then displayed at the Scottish Administration building in Brussels.

A further set of prints has now been produced, which will be on permanent display in our new Glasgow offices at The Optima Building.

View the art.

SQA Glasgow - on the move

PHOTO: Optima building.

After 18 years in Hanover House, SQA Glasgow is relocating over the next few weeks and by mid May will be fully located in our new office - The Optima Building.

We are co-locating with Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) who moved their Glasgow operations into the Optima Building during February. Co-locating will allow both SQA and LTS to support each other in a range of operational functions.

Full details of our new address will be issued soon to all customers. Details are:

Scottish Qualifications Authority
The Optima Building
58 Robertson Street
G2 8DQ
Tel: 0845 279 1000

We look forward to welcoming you to our new office soon.

Please note that contact details for SQA Dalkeith will not change.

More College Challenge results

GRAPHIC: College challenge photo.

Following on from last month's initial regional rounds of the HN Challenge, we are happy to report the winners of the remaining regional events.

The event at Ayr saw four colleges participating: Ayr, Kilmarnock, Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) and Dumfries & Galloway. The regional winner was Ayr, defeating SAC in the final. The image, from left to right shows Walter Paul, HN 80th Challenge Host with Adrienne Healy HND Art and Design student, Mark Taylor Lecturer in Care and Social Science and John Wason HND Graduate in Graphic Illustration and Digital Design.

The last regional event took place at Aberdeen College, where four colleges participated: Aberdeen, Banff and Buchan, Lews Castle and Moray. The winner was Banff and Buchan College, defeating Moray in the final.

Banff and Buchan join Stow, West Lothian and Ayr in the national semi-finals, which will take place at Hampden on 3 May.

Following this, there will be an HN Heroes and Champions evening reception on 31 May at Hampden Park, where the final of the Challenge will take place here.

Working in co-operation with Scotlandís Colleges the Reception will give us the opportunity to acknowledge the many in Scotland associated with HNís success over the years, lecturers, students and employers. From the nominations submitted by Colleges a trophy will be presented to Scotlandís ĎHN Championí. The evening will also include a preview of the HN Showcase event which will run at Hampden on 1 June.

On 1 June the HN 80 anniversary year will close with our HN Showcase event. Scotlandís Colleges are being asked to put on exhibitions, demonstrations and performances which best showcase their HN work. The event will be open to the public, schools, colleges and employers.

If you have an HN connection and would like to attend the HN Heroes and Champions evening reception on 31 May at Hampden Park, please let us know - you can e-mail us at

Find out more about the HN 80th Anniversary celebrations.

New dates for Professional Development Workshops

We are currently completing the content of our new Professional Development Directory for August 2006 to January 2007. Copies will be sent to all our Co-ordinators in our approved centres during May. Look out for your copy coming soon.

We are confident that the workshops and events contained within our new Directory will continue to meet your business needs. Previous events delivered to date have resulted in the following delegate feedback:

'Really enjoyed the day Ė it was great to be able to talk to other colleagues and SQA staff for some new ideas without feeling stupid for asking.'

'The workshop helped me clarify the requirements of my teaching department in respect of internal and external moderation.'

'I came along to gain evidence of CPD in my role as an SVQ manager and assessor and that is exactly what I got.'

One of the areas covered by these workshops has been helping centres in Understanding Standards in National Courses. We have offered workshops in a range of subjects and these have been very successful with 97% of delegates rating them as good or very good.

When asked for suggestions for future events, delegates' responses included:

'just more opportunity to attend these excellent and much valued SQA events'

'this is in-service which should run again .........and again. very, very useful'

The above feedback illustrates a high level of satisfaction with these events to date. The programme will be further developed to include new levels and a wider range of subjects.

The new Professional Development Directory will also be on our website from May. We look forward to working with you again.

Professional Development Workshops We are running the following Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) in May:

  • Delivering work based Core Skills
    Tuesday 9 May in Glasgow

  • Meeting the requirements of A1
    Tuesday 16 May in Dalkeith

If either of these workshops would help with your Continuing Professional Development, please click on the link below for further information and our Registration Form. Alternatively, call our Customer Contact Centre on 0845 279 1000, where someone will be happy to process your booking.

» Register your place. Remember places are limited.

Get Going with Beginner Level PC Passport We are co-hosting this event with Leckie and Leckie in Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 April to promote our new PC Passport Beginner Level resources.

Your SQA Co-ordinator has been invited, and if you would like to attend please contact Dawn MacIntyre on 0131-220 6831.

» Access more information about the event.

DIVA events DIVA, the Digital Media and ICT Vendor Alliance, is a programme of collaboration to introduce more industry-recognised options into our ICT and digital media awards. The programme currently includes collaboration with: Apple, Avid, Cisco, CompTIA, Macromedia (now Adobe), Microsoft and Oracle.

A broad range of activities is already underway including awareness-raising events, professional development opportunities, and workshops. April opportunities include:

  • CompTIA Breakfast Briefing
    20 April, Thistle Hotel, Glasgow

  • Apple Education Update for Colleges
    26 April, Juryís Inn, Glasgow, 10.00am to 4.00pm

  • Staff Refresher Course
    28 April, Cardonald College, 10.00am to 4.00pm

» Find out more about the full schedule of DIVA activities.
Members appointed to Board of Management Education Minister Peter Peacock recently announced a new appointment and re-appointments to the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) Board of Management. An existing board memberís second term of appointment has also been extended by one year.

» Read the full story.

Access level qualifications Detailed information about Courses that have hierarchical structures between Intermediate 1 and Access 3 can now be accessed on
Malpractice We have recently undertaken a review of how cases of suspected candidate malpractice in externally assessed National Qualifications are handled. In particular, attention has focussed on potential human rights issues and as a result of this review recommendations regarding changes to the current procedure for processing malpractice cases were produced.

Our new booklet Candidate malpractice in external assessments: information for schools and colleges details procedures to be followed with immediate effect. A copy of the booklet was issued to all centres on 17 March 2006.

Please ensure that the document is brought to the attention of relevant staff within your centre.

» Download the guide.

Higher National Communication Servicing Provision Review We are undertaking a review to:

The review will also include Unit DE1K 33 Workplace Communication in English, SCQF 6, which was developed with ESOL candidates in mind.

If you are interested in becoming involved in this project in any way, please contact with your note of interest and current CV.

History of Scotland's Higher National qualifications: the 1960s To mark the 80th anniversary of Higher National Qualifications, we continue a series of historical snippets through the decades.

The time of The Beatles, the first man on the moon, the opening of the Linwood car plant and the Forth and Tay Road Bridges. Celtic triumphed in the European Cup and Jackie Stewart won his first Formula One World Championship.

Industry in Scotland was veering away from its reliance on traditional heavy engineering industries.
Service industries were emerging, with growth in computing, the health sector, hotel and catering and printing yielding new courses at HN level.

The HND in Food Technology (Milk) offered at the Scottish Agricultural College was unique in Great Britain, and the HNC in Medical Laboratory Technology was another example of the greater diversity of courses being developed at this time.

Get Real Get Real is a careers magazine for students in S4, published by Careers Scotland and supported by SQA, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

It is a great way to find out more about the options available to the students in work, education and work-based learning.

» Access the magazine.
Click here to view the National Qualifications section of SQA's website. Click here to view the Higher National section of SQA's website.