Friday 26 October 2007
Issue 20


Art Exhibition 2007

PHOTO: James Russell, Janet Brown, John LeightonThe SQA  Art Exhibition, organised in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland, launched on Tuesday 23 October with an event that allowed the artists, their teachers and families, and the Exhibition's sponsors (General Teaching Council, Scotland, Leckie and Leckie Publishers, the Scottish Government, the Educational Institute of Scotland, Atalanta Design Agency and J Thomson Printers), to see the works on display before the Exhibition was opened to the public.

The works of art on display have been chosen from over 34,000 pieces submitted by young people who sat SQA Art and Design national course examinations earlier this year. The vast majority of artists displayed range from 16 to 18 years of age.

The exhibition, which more than 8,000 students and teachers are expected to visit, features works from this year’s Standard Grade, Intermediate 2 and Higher examinations. As well as paintings, exhibits include sculpture, design, ceramics, fashion and jewellery.

The artists and their guests were welcomed by SQA Chief Executive Dr Janet Brown and Director of Operations Karen McCallum; John Leighton, Director General of the National Galleries of Scotland, and Michael Clarke, Director of the National Gallery of Scotland also addressed the guests.

PHOTO: Art Exhibition BagDr Janet Brown commented, 'The National Gallery of Scotland is an iconic venue and a superb, but also fitting, setting for these wonderful works of art. Not only does it provide a fantastic backdrop but it has also allowed us to include such a wide range of works, and with so many excellent works from which to choose the selection process was not an easy one.

The works of art that were finally selected are not being displayed simply because they were awarded top marks but because they show the quality, depth and the breathtaking imagination and creativity of our young artists. Of course we would like to have included many more but we are happy that those on display show teachers, students, parents and the wider public the quite exceptional levels of work being produced by students, with support from their teachers, the length and breadth of Scotland. We thank them all for their hard work over the past year.'

Michael Clarke, Director of the National Gallery of Scotland, said, 'We are delighted to be the venue for this important exhibition. Who knows, today’s young artists could be tomorrow’s Old Masters.'

The Exhibition will run at the IT Gallery in the National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh, from 24 October 2007 to 4 January 2008.

PHOTO: Art ExhibitThis is a great opportunity for teachers and students of art in schools and colleges to see and discuss exemplar works from each level. To support the Exhibition and ensure that you get maximum benefit from your visit, a fully illustrated catalogue is available. A student catalogue will also be available and both catalogues will be free of charge.

If you would like to take your class to the exhibition, please book in advance by calling the National Gallery of Scotland Education Department on 0131–624 6410 or e-mail: 

View the artwork here..

Shining stars

LOGO: SQA star awards 2007
The 2007 SQA star awards held in Glasgow recently were a huge success, with finalists enjoying a glittering night of great entertainment, great atmosphere and a celebration of the very best of Scottish education and training.

Finalists selected from a record number of entries were brought together for a truly star-studded occasion, hosted by television presenter Kaye Adams, with spectacular live entertainment from Jazz Art UK, Fèis Rois Cèilidh Trail and the Dance Department from Anniesland College.  The standard of entries to this year’s awards was extremely high and our judging panel had a difficult task selecting finalists in each category.

The awards could not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors, who this year include Microsoft, Learning and Teaching Scotland, Leckie and Leckie and the Federation of Small Businesses, Scotland. Their support enable us to recognise and reward those individuals and establishments who have demonstrated excellence and whose achievements we are delighted to be able to celebrate each year.

Janet Brown, our Chief Executive, introduced the event by saying, 'Scottish education and training is full of inspirational stories and magnificent achievements from students and centres. At our ceremony this evening we will be rewarding and acknowledging those achievements across a range of award categories. To all who have made it to this evening's ceremony, well done. You represent the absolute best of Scotland and should take enormous pride in your achievements.'

Michael Moran from Renfrewshire Council got in touch to thank SQA on behalf of Joyce McLean, Highly Commended SQA Champion: 'We had a fantastic evening. The organisation, entertainment and catering were all excellent.  This was our first experience of the awards, but hopefully not our last! We had been looking forward to it for some time and it was certainly worth the wait.'

Congratulations to all the stars.

The evening also saw a new 'Pride o' Worth' Award being presented to the best of all the star award winners in the Centre and Individual categories by Janet Brown.

PHOTO: Bruce Milne

The Pride o' Worth Individuals was awarded to Bruce Milne of the Scottish Police College, who earlier had won the SQA Champion award.


PHOTO: Stow College

The Pride o' Worth for Centres was won by Stow College, who earlier had won the Innovation award.

We hope this encourages you to nominate your stars for our 2008 awards, taking place in October in Glasgow. Nominations will open watch this space.

See all the winners here..

Fellowship of SQA

PHOTO: Iain MacMillanThe Fellowship of SQA, the highest accolade at this year’s star awards, was awarded to Iain M McMillan CBE, Director of CBI Scotland. 

The Fellowship is awarded to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to education and training in Scotland.

Presenting the award, SQA Chairman John McCormick said, ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be presenting the Fellowship this evening to a man who far exceeds the award criteria. Iain McMillan has given a long and sustained commitment to supporting and developing education and training.

'He has a clear vision on the need for the education and training system to work hand in glove with business to ensure Scotland’s economic growth and competitiveness. But as well as his vision Iain is one of those men who has rolled up his sleeves and got on with delivering change through effective leadership.’

Educated at Bearsden Academy, Iain had 23 years experience in the banking industry before joining CBI Scotland as Assistant Director and Secretary of the Scottish Manufacturing Group in 1993.

In November 1995, Iain was appointed Director of CBI Scotland with full executive responsibility for the CBI’s Scottish operations.  He leads Scottish business representation and communicates Scottish business interests in Scotland, the UK, the European Union and beyond. 

Iain sits on a number of government task groups representing the views of business, and also sits on the boards and committees of a number of organisations and public sector bodies.  Iain was also a member of the Board of the Scottish Qualifications Authority for ten years until 31st December 2006.  He was Vice Chairman from September 2004 until December 2006.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland; Companion of the Chartered Management Institute; and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  In 2003, Iain was awarded the CBE for services to lifelong learning in Scotland.


Scottish Standard

IMAGE: Saltire

Do you want to know how we set and maintain qualification and assessment standards?

Our new Scottish Standard web pages are designed to help our customers understand how we maintain qualification and assessment standards. We are bringing all our standards work under this new label because we want our customers to have confidence in our qualifications. The Scottish Standard will help us carry out our role as Scotland's national qualifications awarding body which means we are responsible for:

We have a responsibility to individual learners and to the wider public to ensure that qualification standards are accurate and fair, and that they are maintained from year to year and across qualifications. This is why we have outlined the five stages of setting and maintaining qualification and assessment standards as clearly as we can on our Scottish Standard web pages. We want to help you understand fully how we carry out this very important work on your behalf.

Find out more here..

Sport4Life enterprise game

PHOTO: Game, a new business enterprise game that has been specially developed to suit the needs of the Scottish curriculum, was recently launched in Glasgow.

This on-line business game is based on how to successfully run a 'virtual' sports store, concentrating mainly on the season-long fortunes of Scotland’s major senior clubs.  The Scottish version, backed by clubs including Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee United, Hearts, Motherwell, Rangers and Partick Thistle, is based on the pioneering work of The Small Business Company (TSBC) in New Zealand.  The Scottish game is the first new version to be developed anywhere outside New Zealand.

IMAGE: Online Sports GameAfter the very successful launch of  Sport4Life, two Master classes for teachers were held to help teachers use this free school resource. The Master classes were well attended and supported by expert pupils who showed teachers how to play the game and gain high scores.

Maureen Dorans and some pupils from Doon Academy in East Ayrshire provided the expertise at the Glasgow Master class and Diane Mathieson and some pupils from Boroughhmuir High School , Edinburgh provided the expertise at the Dundee Master class.

The Sport4Life enterprise game is going from strength to strength, with over 300 Scottish schools registered. The next round of prizes will be awarded in early December, so pupils should get playing now.

If your school is not registered email with your full name, school and preferred football team, so your school can participate.

Find out more..

PDA in ESOL Tutoring


We are developing a PDA in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Tutoring, a qualification which will provide a first step in the professional pathway for those wishing to become fully qualified in the field of delivering ESOL.

Following on from the recommendations of the Scottish Government’s Adult ESOL Strategy for Scotland, we are faced with a number of challenges in providing an appropriate qualification for a diverse landscape.  ESOL is delivered through the FE, community-based, voluntary and school sectors.  The learners themselves come with a huge range of needs, e.g. in Scottish schools there are pupils from 137 different language backgrounds, excepting English and Gaelic. Also, the nature of an ESOL teacher training programme must differ in its nature from others, given that trainees do not come to this field with a subject-specific qualification but, rather, from a wide range of academic backgrounds.

At this phase of the development we have initiated a survey; the aims being:

- to better understand the training needs of those working with ESOL learners
- to gauge the nature of ESOL teaching in Scotland and the existing qualifications that people have. 

There are two questionnaires, one for tutors and one for managers/providers.  The survey can be accessed online and a paper-based version is also available.  We hope to include the views of support workers, tutors, teachers and lecturers, so if you are interested or involved in ESOL tutoring, please take the time to complete the survey. 

If you would like any further information about the survey or the development, please contact Jennifer MacDougall (0845 213 5596)

LOGO: AtlasLOGO: Europe and ScotlandLOGO: Equal

Take part in the survey here..

New ESOL Units at Access and Intermediate 1


Following on from the successful launch of ESOL Courses at Higher and Intermediate 2 in August 06, 11 new Units from Access 2 (including ESOL: Beginner English Literacies) to Intermediate 1 were introduced in  August 07. The launch of these new lower level Units completes the revised framework, providing certification for all levels, from complete beginners to advanced level.

Teaching and learning support materials from Access 3 to Higher are available for download from the secure website. Learning support materials for Access 2 (excluding ESOL: Beginner English Literacies) will be added shortly. For more information please contact the ESOL Development Manager, Margaret Allan, currently on secondment from Anniesland College.

PDA in British Sign Language (BSL) Studies

We are developing a Professional Development Award in British Sign Language Studies.  Proposed Units in the PDA include Linguistics, BSL History, Culture around language and language skills at Level 4. The aim of the PDA is to improve BSL skills, for career development or simply for personal development. Potential target audiences may be Deaf Tutors delivering BSL courses, Trainee Interpreters, Educational Support Workers, Social Workers for the Deaf, anyone who would like to take their BSL skills to an advanced level. 

As part of the consultation process three workshops were held recently in Inverness, Perth and Glasgow. A questionnaire was sent out to our approved centres, BSL training providers and associated organisations. A BSL translation of the questionnaire on video, a first for us, was made available on the website. We are analysing the results of the surveys and feedback made through the consultation process and a final written report will be made available during November to anyone who participated. 

If you would like to know more about this development contact Development Officer, Teri Devine.

Meet the Oil & Gas Team

We are pleased to introduce our newly configured specialist Oil & Gas development project team that focuses entirely on the qualifications and associated services needs of the Oil & Gas industry: either preparing people to enter careers within the industry or for existing workforce development.

The project team is:

PHOTO: Drew McNeice              PHOTO: Alison Spice and David Adcock

Backed by other specialist business managers and qualification managers across a huge span of vocational areas, SQA Oil & Gas presents a formidable resource in support of the industries requirements for workforce development and certification of competence in this vital area of the energy sector.

For more information contact the team here.

Find out more here..

Oil & Gas embark of trade mission to the Middle East

Our Oil & Gas development team, David Adcock and Drew McNeice, will be part of a Scottish Development International (SDI) energy and education-focussed trade mission to the Middle East in October and November 2007.

David and Drew hope to make contact with any companies or organisations that have an interest in vocational education and training and/or a requirement for internationally-recognised certification of competence with an Oil & Gas focus.

David and Drew can be contacted during their travels by email.

Find out more here..

Our Customer Charter

IMAGE: Customer Charter CoverWe are committed to ensuring that all our customers receive the best possible service. With this in mind, we have recently revised our Customer Charter, which informs you of our service-levels and details our complaints and feedback policy. This includes information on our:

If you have any questions on the Customer Charter, please contact our Customer Contact Centre.

Read the Customer Charter.

SQA sponsors...National Galleries anthology

The annual inspired? get writing! creative writing competition was launched in autumn 2005 to encourage creative writing responses to the national collection from writers of all ages, published and unpublished. Emerging from an idea developed by the National Galleries of Scotland and the English-Speaking Union Scotland, the aim of the competition was to inspire and encourage creativity by inviting writers to find and create compelling links between art and the written word.

IMAGE: Writing Anthology CoverWe became involved in the second year of the competition, when entry numbers more than doubled. We have endorsed the competition with sponsorship and support, committing funding to enable the publication of the inspired? get writing!  anthology – a celebration of some of the winning work from 2005 and 2006.

Our Chief Executive Dr Janet Brown said: 'The SQA has an important role to play in encouraging imaginative and creative talents in Scotland. We are therefore extremely pleased to be supporting the inspired? get writing! creative writing competition. I am delighted to commend this book – it is full of memorable and outstanding pieces of poetry and prose inspired by the breathtaking works in Scotland’s national art collection.'

The book is published by the National Galleries of Scotland in association with us, and copies are available to purchase from the National Galleries Shops and the Scottish Poetry Library shop, priced at £5.95. We hope that a second volume featuring the work of future winners and runners up will be published in 2009.

Details of the latest inspired? get writing! creative writing competition are available in the next article.

SQA sponsors...creative writing competition

IMAGE: Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley, Children and Chalked Wall 3, Scottish National Gallery of Modern ArtAfter the huge success of last year's competition, we are delighted to be continuing our sponsorship of the inspired? get writing! creative writing competition, now in its third year.

Entrants are asked to write a poem or short story responding to a work of art in any of the National Galleries of Scotland, the contest is open to all ages and to published and unpublished writers.

The competition is a three-way partnership between the National Galleries of Scotland, the English-Speaking Union Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library. We sponsor it and it is supported by The Scotsman.

There are 5 categories:

Submissions should, as a guide, not be more that about 1,000 words in length.  Images of many of the works can be accessed through the National Galleries website.

Entries should be typed with double spacing and emailed as an attachment to  Please give your name and contact details on a separate final page of the attachment. If you do not have email, please post your entry to English-Speaking Union Scotland, 23 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 8HQ. 

Full details and rules of the competition are available on the National Galleries website. These can be also be found on or

Entries should be submitted by Friday 18 January 2008.  Results of the competition will be announced by Friday 28 March 2008. 

SQA at the Scottish Learning Festival

PHOTO: Scottish Learning FestivalThe Scottish Learning Festival 2007 took place on 18 & 19 September in Glasgow and was attended by around 5,000 delegates from the school and college sector.

We worked in partnership with LTS, Scottish Government Schools Directorate and HMIe to deliver the Scottish Education Village – our exhibition stand (pictured) gave delegates the opportunity to find out more about our Academy and Understanding Standards websites, Skills for Work, Professional Development Workshops and ESOL.

A number of seminars featuring our products were included in the conference programme. The e-assessment and internet safety qualification sessions proved particularly popular.

Find out more about the festival..

Research and Information Services (RIS): what we do

LOGO: Research logo

Research and Information Services provide National Result data, including:

All these can be found on our web pages.

We are also involved in:

For further information please contact Simon Allan.

Find out more..

Research and Information Services (RIS) web pages

LOGO: Research logo

New research bulletins available

Three new research bulletins have recently been published on SQA's Research and Information Services webpage: 

Objective tests data 2007

Data from 2007 objective tests is available in a booklet on our website. The subjects covered are:

This statistical information may be of benefit to teachers who wish to use items for objective tests in the classroom. The data booklet should help with meaningful selection and interpretation of items. Notes to assist in the interpretation of the information are supplied at the end of the booklet. 

Advanced Higher Art and Design events

IMAGE: John Robert Kellock PaintingAdvanced Higher Art and Design

In addition to our 2007 Art Exhibition running at the National Gallery of Scotland between Oct-Jan 2008, we are hosting a number of events to introduce teaching staff to the revised Courses and Units in Advanced Higher Art and Design. These Courses were implemented during session 2006/07.

Specifically the events will provide the opportunity for delegates to

The format will be a Powerpoint presentation by the Principal Assessor for Advanced Higher followed by an opportunity to view a sample of the best folios submitted by candidates for the 2007 exam diet.

These events are scheduled to take place in November 2007 at five venues across Scotland.

Selected workshops will be led by working artists:

On 3 November Caroline Earl will be the guest artist. Caroline is an artist who works with textiles and has been working as an artist in residence in schools recently. She will lead a workshop on experimenting with a variety of textile materials.

On 10 November milliner Felicity Faichney will lead a workshop. Felicity is committed to passing on her skills to up and coming milliners and has earned her position as one of the UK’s leading lights in the fields of millinery and contemporary design.

The work of six Advanced Higher candidates has been selected to be part of the workshops and we have produced full-colour booklets showcasing the folio of each artist. It is hoped that the candidates will also take part in the workshops in their areas, the artists selected are:

Advanced Higher Design

Lyndsay McNeill from Larbert High School, Colette Brown from Lawside RC Academy, Euan Maharg from Douglas Academy.

Advanced Higher Expressive

John Robert Kellock from Williamwood High School, Kathryn Fiona Rodger from Bearsden Academy and Nicola Ann Britton from Kilsyth Academy.

Further information is available by contacting Jennifer di Folco.

Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Ceremony

PHOTO: Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce AwardsAberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Awards Ceremony on 21 September in the Atholl Hotel in Aberdeen.

Alison Spice, Business Development Manager, represented SQA and presented certificates to 38 candidates for their Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs).  These candidates represented a number of organisations throughout the city and Aberdeenshire. Also in attendance were representatives from Scottish Enterprise Grampian’s Skills and Learning Department, the Chartered Management Institute, and members of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Councils.

Certificates were received by candidates for a variety of courses, including Business and Administration, Learning and Development, Customer Service and Management; and Modern Apprenticeships in Business and Administration, Customer Service and Management.

All candidates have spent the last 1-2 years working towards their SVQs and MA's at their places of work, under the supervision of Rosemary Pinsent, the Chamber's HR & Vocational Training Manager; George Brand, Vocational Training Coordinator at the Chamber; and Emma Reid, the Chamber's Lead Assessor.

For the second year the Chamber has presented awards for completing the ‘Measuring up to Management’ level 4 SVQ programme for nursery owners and managers. This course was workshop-led with assessment visits every month. The programme was funded by both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Councils.

George Brand said: 'The Chamber offers various flexible SVQ programmes, allowing candidates to demonstrate their competence in different environments and to be given recognition for their achievements. The fact that these qualifications can mainly be undertaken without leaving the workplace appeals to many companies who do not wish to lose their employees on a day-release basis.'

Elmwood College Graduation

PHOTO: Elmwood College GraduationSQA Chief Executive Dr Janet Brown attended the Elmwood College Graduation and Awards Ceremony on Friday 12 October, where she addressed a record number of students, sponsors and guests.

231 students were entitled to graduate on the day and for the first time in Elmwood history the college introduced Honorary Awards which were presented to Local Business Man and ex Elmwood Chairman Ron Smith, for his outstanding services to the College, and the local Community and Beechgrove Garden presenter Carole Baxter, for her outstanding contribution to raising the profile of the Horticulture Industry in Scotland and the UK.

Elmwood also introduced a new HN/PDA cross college award Principal Potter Medal for Outstanding International Student Achievement which was provided by our former principle, Christina Potter, and was won by Ganesh Chand of Nepal.

Janet congratulated the graduating students and spoke about the importance of the work of Elmwood College in ‘offering major lifelong learning opportunities through the provision of effective and relevant courses for everyone, which are constantly being improved.’

Janet continued: “We believe that the SQA, given its unique position in Scotland, has the expertise, qualifications and capacity to contribute fully to the development of a comprehensive skills strategy for Scotland that will meet our economic needs and position Scotland as a major player and influencer on a global stage.'