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

Friday 6 October 2006
Issue 10

Interim Chief Executive

PHOTO: Tom Drake, Interim Chief Executive

Our Board of Management recently appointed Tom Drake as interim Chief Executive, during the recruitment process for a successor to Anton Colella.

'I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to lead SQA, even for a short time, at this exciting and challenging period in our history. Under Anton we have achieved a very great deal and we plan to continue building on those achievements. We will continue to need your help in providing the kind of service you want of us.

I look forward to working with you all. The needs of our customers will continue to be our top priority. I hope that you will find this to be the case. If you do not, I hope that you will let me know.'

Tom Drake
Interim Chief Executive

SQA supporting A Curriculum for Excellence

You will be aware of the Curriculum for Excellence programme of activity which was launched in November 2004. The curriculum review is focused on four fundamental purposes - to enable young people to develop capacities as successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens - and on building a coherent learning journey from 3-18.  Much work is underway on this, including exploring the implications that changes in learning and teaching resulting from A Curriculum for Excellence will have for qualifications and recognition of wider achievement.

At this stage, thinking is still in early stages — nothing has been ruled out or in. Ministers are committed to ensuring that future arrangements draw upon the best of Standard Grade and Intermediate (SCQF 4 and 5) qualifications.  However, it will be vital to consider carefully whether Standard Grade and Intermediate Courses in their present form will be suitable for learners in the light of A Curriculum for Excellence.

As part of this work, SQA and partner organisations are engaging with stakeholders to develop options and proposals for formal consultation next year. We are keen to ensure that the scope and nature of assessment and qualifications are consistent with the aims, values and purposes of A Curriculum for Excellence.  A key focus is the structure of qualifications at SCQF levels 4 and 5 and we will be holding exploratory discussions on this issue with those from schools, colleges, local authorities and other areas over the coming months.

For further information, please contact Lena Gray, Business Manager, A Curriculum for Excellence on 0845 213 5396.

SQA Annual Awards

LOGO: SQA Annual Awards Logo

Have you nominated?

Use your last opportunity to recognise great achievement and nominate today to become part of this prestigious Awards Ceremony, showcasing to Scotland the magnificent work done by the people who deliver and study SQA qualifications.

Our Annual Awards Ceremony which recognises the very best in creativity, innovation, partnership and personal achievement will be held on Monday 20 November 2006 in Edinburgh.

Behind every success there is a story to tell about motivation and commitment, pride and self-esteem and, of couse, sheer hard work. We want you to be part of this success in 2006!

Good Luck!

Nominate today.

Inspirational Art Tour 2006 - Inspiration, Imagination, Creativity

IMAGE: Inspirational Art Tour 2006Over the past couple of years we have run Continuing Professional Development events for Art and Design teachers as part of our 'understanding standards' initiatives. To continue this commitment a touring art exhibition will be undertaken throughout mainland Scotland during October and November 2006.

The tour will take place in a specially kitted out exhibition bus and will feature exhibits of practical work submitted by candidates for the 2006 Art and Design National Courses at Standard Grade, Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher levels. Our aim is to showcase to teachers, candidates and parents the quite exceptional levels of work being produced by candidates from across Scotland. We will have representatives on hand to discuss elements of the exhibits. We hope the tour will inspire both teachers and future candidates.

The tour will be launched by Robert Brown, Deputy Minister for Education and Young People on Monday 9 October at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. The tour is supported by the Scottish Executive as part of its Celebrating Success Initiative. A tour catalogue will also be available and will feature more examples of candidate work given the limited display area in the bus. The tour will continue until 24 November.

For further information on the tour, please contact us on 0845 279 1000 or e-mail

A New Standard in Safety

PHOTO: SQA receiving Dangerous Goods Driver Training Scheme contractWe have recently been awarded the contract for the Dangerous Goods Driver Training Scheme, for the next three years. We are embarking on a programme of modernisation using the latest on-line information technologies, which will offer the potential to streamline the delivery of the service. We have made a significant investment in e-enabling the administration process for approval, verification, invigilation, submission of the training course, exams and candidate data. The web-enabled database can be accessed by all stakeholders, promising to cut down significantly on the paperwork and bureaucracy currently required of training providers. For stakeholders this online database provides participation in and access to real-time data including candidate information and exam results. We hope to move towards the introduction of a full online examination system in October 2007, further reducing administration, improving turnaround times and allowing providers and candidates to realise the full potential of the system.

Ed Pargetor, Chairman of the National Dangerous Goods Training Consortium comments, 'The NDGTC, who are a non profitmaking organisation and represent almost half of the training providers for ADR, would like to thank SQA for their co-operation and hard work in getting the change over done as smoothly as possible.'

Tom Drake, SQA Interim Chief Executive, added 'We are delighted to have the opportunity to be involved with this important qualification.'

Operational Help Centre

LOGO: Operational Help Centre Logo

The Operational Help Centre provides information for staff in centres about interacting with us.  Previously, schools, colleges, employers and training providers were each issued with an annual Operational Guide. The Operational Help Centre has replaced this.

The Operational Help Centre can be accessed via and is now live on our website.

Access the Operational Help Centre.

Shopping with SVQs


The following awards have been replaced by a revised suite of retail-specific Scottish Vocational Qualifications:

  • Retail Operations level 2 (G6PP 22)
  • Retail Operations level 3 (G6PL 23)

You should now be entering candidates for the new suite of SVQs:

  • Retail Skills level 1 (G8AP 21)
  • Retail Skills level 2 (G8AK 22)
  • Retail (Visual Merchandising) level 3 (G8AN 23)
  • Retail (Sales Professional) level 3 (G8AM 23)
  • Retail (Management) level 3 (G8AL 23)

These revised SVQs have been formally accredited until 31 July 2011.
SVQ Assessor's Guidelines with additional Unit Assessment Guidance are available on request.  If you have any queries, please contact Liam Priest at

Updated SVQs in Supply Chain Management


The following awards have been replaced by a revised suite of supply chain management-specific Scottish Vocational Qualifications:

  • Procurement level 2 (G3A5 22)
  • Procurement level 3 (G40G 23)
  • Procurement level 4 (G4DF 24)

Centres should enter candidates for the new suite of SVQs:

  • Supply Chain Management level 2 (G881 22)
  • Supply Chain Management level 3 (G882 23)
  • Supply Chain Management level 4 (G883 24)
  • Supply Chain Management level 5 (G885 25)

These SVQs have been formally accredited until 30 June 2011. 
SVQ Assessor's Guidelines with additional Unit Assessment Guidance are available on request.  A formal launch of the new SVQs is planned for Friday 20 October at a venue in Glasgow.  If you would be interested in attending or if you have any queries, please contact Liam Priest at

Scottish Candidate Number Services for Colleges, Employers and Training Providers

The new candidate registration process went live on Friday 1 September 2006.

This new procedure allows centres to submit the standard registration details to us without including an Scottish Candidate Number (SCN).  We will match the details against our candidate database.  If we find a possible match we will report this back to you and ask that you confirm the information with the candidate.  If there is no record of the candidate, we will provide a new SCN.

Please note that any Registration Creation files submitted from 1 September will be rejected unless your software has been updated.

  • SQA-RED and SQA-REX - available to download from
  • Sits:Vision - new release available, please contact Tribal Technology
  • Capita - new release available from 19 September

Full information regarding the new process can be found in the Operational Help Centre which can be found on and is also now available on our website.

If you have any queries about these changes, please contact Data Management on 0845 213 6015.

Access the Operational Help Centre.

Calling all PSE External Verifiers......

We are currently looking to appoint External Verifiers for the Higher National area of Personal and Social Education and Development, which covers Units such as the PSE servicing Units; Work Experience, Developing the Individual Within a Team, Working Within a Project Team, Developing Skills for Personal Effectiveness, Personal Development Planning, and Employment Experience.
If you have experience in the PSD field and would be interested in finding out more, please contact Liam Priest at for further details.

HN Assessment Exemplar for Work Experience

The HN Assessment Exemplar for the Work Experience Unit (DV0M 34) has now been finalised and uploaded on to our secure website.
The next stage of this development will be to have the Assessment Exemplar produced in at least two contexts.  The Hospitality Sector has already been identified as wanting a contextualised exemplar for that framework but please contact Liam Priest at if you feel your sectoral areas might benefit from something similar specific to it's HN frameworks.

Towards the end of the year we will also be looking at the viability of producing a level 8 version of the Work Experience Unit.  This will be subject to full consultation.  If you have any queries regarding the Work Experience Unit or the new Assessment Exemplar please do not hesitate to forward them to Liam Priest.

Changes to NQ Product Development Team

We are pleased to welcome a new addition to the NQ Product Development Team.  Sandra Sutherland has been seconded from her post as Principal Teacher, Additional Support Needs at Inverurie Academy to act as a Qualifications Development Manager for Access 1 and 2 until March 2007.  Sandra’s main role will be to visit centres who are delivering Access 1 and 2 provision to give advice and guidance and to gather feedback.

Although Sandra will be making contact and arranging visits with centres over the next few months, it will not be possible for her to visit every centre individually during her secondment.  If your centre is having particular difficulty with some aspect of Access 1 and 2 provision and you would like to be treated as a priority for a visit, please e-mail Sandra directly ( providing brief details and contact information.

Credit-rating and levelling of SVQs for the SCQF 2005-06 Project

With funding from the Scottish Executive, we contracted with nine Sector Skills Councils or other sector bodies, and twelve Awarding Bodies, with the aim of allocating a Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level to 24 SVQs and calculating their SCQF credit points.  Eight SVQ areas were selected for this first phase of the project:

  • Aquaculture at levels 2 and 3
  • Business Administration at levels 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Health and Social Care at levels 2, 3 and 4
  • IT Users at levels 1, 2 and 3
  • Management at levels 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Performing Manufacturing Operations at levels 1 and 2
  • Retail at levels 1, 2 and 3
  • Water bye-laws at level 3

A project report detailing the findings of year one is available on our website. For further information, contact Amanda Laing, Project Manager on 0845 213 5248 or e-mail:

Access the report.

Credit-rating and levelling of SVQs in top ten Scottish Modern Apprenticeships for the SCQF 2006-07 project

The main outcome of this project is to credit-rate and level the top ten Scottish Modern Apprenticeships, and (where applicable) the other mandatory requirements contained in the Modern Apprenticeships framework. A number of commonly imported SVQ Units will also be credit-rated and levelled.

The following Scottish Modern Apprenticeships will be SCQF credit-rated and levelled:

  • Health and Social Care, one SVQ at level 4
  • Construction, eight SVQs at level 3
  • Management, two SVQs at levels 3 and 4
  • Customer Service, three SVQs at levels 2, 3 and 4
  • Electrotechnical Services, one SVQ at level 3
  • Plumbing, one SVQ at level 3 comprising 21 Units and the other two other mandatory requirements certificates
  • Early Years Care and Education, three SVQs at levels 2, 3 and 4
  • Engineering, three SVQs at levels 2 and 3
  • Vehicle Sales; Vehicle Parts Operations; Vehicle Body and Paint Operations; Vehicle Fitting Operations (Supervisors); and Vehicle Maintenance and Repair; twelve SVQs at levels 2 and 3, together with the relevant Technical Certificates, which will be credit rated and levelled.

The allocation of credit and level to the SVQs and their constituent Units will be done by the relevant Sector Skills Council or Sector Skills Body in partnership with awarding bodies.