Chief Executive's Welcome
Welcome to Februarys issue of the 'Connecting with SQA' e-zine. This month we bring you details of new technological developments in the delivery of education and training. There is key information for the operational management of this years National Qualification exams and details of some very useful events.
Please let us know what content you would like to see included, by completing our feedback form.
New Higher National Qualifications in Music
We recently held the launch event for HNC and D Music, HNC and D Music Business and HNC and D Sound Production at the ABC music venue in Glasgow. The event was opened by SQA Chief Executive Anton Colella and SQA Chairman, John McCormick. Anton described these new HN awards as 'truly national qualifications developed in partnership with FE, HE and industry'. He expressed thanks to the validation panel and in particular to Iain Smith, Head of Music at the Scottish Arts Council who chaired proceedings at the validation event.
Those attending were from FE colleges, Higher Education, and the music industry.
Paul Gallacher, SQA Qualifications Manager for HN Music, provided background to the new awards and thanked all members of the Qualifications Design Team for their invaluable commitment to the development. Design Team members were from the following colleges: Aberdeen, Adam Smith, James Watt, Jewel and Esk, John Wheatley, North Glasgow, Perth, Stevenson and Stow. Adam Armit, SQA Music Development Officer, took time to develop the themes of the awards and emphasised their flexibility in delivery.
Thanks to sponsorship from Microsoft, after the formal part of the evening invited guests were asked to join the student audience who were enjoying live music from HN students who have begun studying these new courses. Performances were provided by Phil McGlass and the Empty Vessels, Little Panic, How to Swim, and three DJs.
Awarding ICT cash grants for innovative teaching
In our November issue, we gave details about cash grants for ICT projects in schools, to aid the innovative use of ICT in the classroom and increase support for teachers already using ICT.
In partnership with Microsoft, we are now pleased to announce that from an original entry of over 80, we have awarded grants to eight Primary Schools, ten Secondary Schools, three Special Schools and one Nursery.
The awards have been made to schools throughout Scotland - from Stranraer to Dunrossness in Shetland.
In primary schools, the emphasis is on making digital media (digital video and animation) part of the everyday skill-set of the pupils. In secondary schools, the projects include podcasting to enhance learning in Geography and Modern Languages, and interactive response systems to help teaching and learning in Mathematics.
In special schools, support is given to projects that use ICT to foster communication and choice-making for pupils with disabilities. In the nursery award, ICT will be used to enable children to view and capture outdoor experiences, and to develop observation, assessment and evaluation skills.
Podcasting at the Academy
We will be piloting the use of 'podcasts' to provide an extra dimension to our training initiative, which we are calling the SQA Academy. We will also pilot their use on our Understanding Standards website. Our first use of podcasts is likely to be in March, which will allow us to test the idea.
Podcasts are audio files that can be downloaded quickly to a personal listening device such as an MP3 player.
Authors of our training packages will be asked to provide audio presentations to explore the topics their training covers. There are two immediate advantages of this approach. Firstly, for many people listening to an explanation is preferable to reading. In fact, when we use podcasts the users will be able to both read and listen, so we hope that this will have a real effect on learning. Secondly, podcasts allow flexibility. The learner can tune into a podcast while sitting on the train or jogging along the road.
We also recognise other possible ways of using podcasts - for example, providing audio updates on the Understanding Standards website, and keeping our own staff up to date with what is happening across the organisation.
We will keep you updated on progress with this development in future issues.
Skills for Work Latest
The Course Arrangements for the Skills for Work pilot are now available on the website.
These provide information on the Course Specification and the Unit Specifications for each of the pilot Courses. For the time being only, centres delivering the pilot Courses can enter candidates. A revised version of the Skills for Work leaflet is also now available on the website.
Focus On: SQA Customer Contact Centre
The Customer Contact Centre is the first point of contact for all customers who telephone, e-mail, fax or write to us. We also help customers who are not sure who to speak to or what to ask for when contacting us.
The Contact Centre is part of our Customer Operations Team. Our friendly, helpful advisors are Anna, Forbes, Ian, Julie and Simone and they are led by Brian, the Contact Centre Team Leader. They all have a wealth of knowledge about SQA products and services. Our team can be contacted by telephone, typetalk relay service, fax, e-mail, or via our website.
We can help you by:
putting you in contact with the right person
offering you advice on SQA qualifications, polices and procedures,
assisting you with your website enquiries or searches
providing the publications you require
providing information and advice on upcoming corporate events
We offer support and advice to all customers. If we cant help you ourselves, we'll know someone who can, and will direct you to them.
Last year we answered over 100,000 calls and 10,000 emails and we look forward to supporting and helping you during 2006.
If you require help or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the team on 0845 279 1000 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
National Qualifications 2005 Professional Development Workshop Packs - on sale now
Did you know that we have professionally produced delegate
packs available in the subjects and levels below from our Diet 2005 PDW National Qualifications programme?
Packs in most subjects contain the workshop
material, a copy of the Diet 2005
examination paper, samples of actual candidate responses to questions and the PowerPoint presentations delivered at the event.
For just £19.95 plus £2.95 postage and packaging, this can help your staff improve their knowledge and understanding of the national standards in their subject area.
To place your order please contact our Customer Contact Centre by e-mail at: email@example.com or call us on: 0845 279 1000, quoting your purchase order number or alternative payment details.
- Advanced Higher English
- Advanced Higher Mathematics
- Higher Art and Design - LAST FEW REMAINING
- Higher English
- Higher Mathematics
- Higher Modern Studies
- Higher and Intermediate 2 Psychology - LAST FEW REMAINING
- Intermediate 1 and 2 Biology
- Intermediate 1 and 2 Chemistry - LAST FEW REMAINING
- Intermediate 1 and 2 French
- Intermediate 1 and 2 Geography - LAST FEW REMAINING
- Intermediate 1 and 2 Physics - LAST FEW REMAINING
- Intermediate 2 Mathematics - LAST FEW REMAINING
- Insight into National Courses - LAST FEW REMAINING
Higher National Funding News
The Scottish Funding Council has agreed funding of £2million per annum to contribute towards the costs of the HN modernisation project. This additional funding began in early 2005 and the Funding Council will also consider the requirement for any additional funding identified until 2008. The additional £2million per annum is a contribution towards SQA and colleges' normal core funding to meet the additional costs incurred by the accelerated programme of modernisation.
This additional funding is being overseen by the HN Project Board serviced by Anniesland College on behalf of the HN Key Partners Group. The HN Project Board comprises an independent chair, with representation from three college principals (Linda McTavish as chair of the HN Key Partners Group, Tony Jakimciw as chair of the Principals Forum and Ray Harris as a Principal representing a college offering a wide range of HN provision). Also represented are the Funding Council and SQA. Others, such as the Scottish Executive and Association of Scottish Colleges, have 'in attendance' status.
The HN Project Board has now agreed the principles and models by which this additional money will be distributed to the college sector. These models include contribution towards the cost of staff to participate in consortia and collaborative developments, and the production of HN Group Award Arrangements Documents and support materials.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Units free training events
ESOL for National Qualifications
We have developed a National Qualifications framework for ESOL. This framework is designed to promote social inclusion of a community of learners, which includes asylum seekers and refugees, along with settled minority ethnic communities. The framework does this by integrating ESOL into mainstream qualifications. There are thirteen Units which provide accreditation for all levels, from Access 2 to Higher.
We will be running a number of free training events in 2006:
Introduction for ESOL practitioners a full day on Wednesday 22 February in Glasgow
Preparing students for NQ ESOL units a half day on Wednesday 15 March in Glasgow and a half day on Thursday 20 April in Edinburgh
ESOL for all qualifications
ESOL Information Day Wednesday 8 March in Glasgow.
This information-giving session for the wider education community and network aims to inform delegates of our activities relating to ESOL and to start the process of stronger engagement and dialogue with the ESOL education community. Invitations are open to all.
Invitations to our centres will be sent shortly, however if you wish to find out more or register your interest please contact the Qualifications Development Team on 0141 242 2242.
PC Passport Course Notes for Beginners
In our November issue, we featured the new course notes for PC Passport at Intermediate level, which are developed in partnership with the educational publishers, Leckie and Leckie.
We are now pleased to announce the launch of course notes at Beginner level. These have been designed in two formats,
a college edition, complete with a companion CD-ROM, competitively priced at £13.99
a school edition, complete with a companion CD-ROM, competitively priced at £12.99
Computer Assisted Assessment resources for centres
Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) will play an increasingly important role in supporting our qualifications in future. This month we are issuing centres with a pack of CAA resources containing:
a DVD outlining some of our e-assessment activities and emphasising our intention to increase the availability of e-assessments in future
the final report of the Pass-IT e-assessment research project
e-assessment case studies, describing some of the pilots we have carried out as part of Pass-IT and 5-14 assessment
information about a new glossary of e-assessment terms, and how to access this
CAA packs for schools and education authorities also contain SQA Guidelines on e-assessment for Schools, mirroring a publication provided for colleges in 2003, SQA Guidelines on Online Assessment for Further Education. If you have any enquires about the pack, please get in touch with our Customer Contact Centre.
2006 National Qualifications examinations
The Question Papers and associated materials for the 2006 diet of examinations will be delivered between Tuesday 18 April and Friday 21 April 2006. The number of Question Papers despatched is based on the number of candidate entries.
For 2006 we will again issue the majority of adapted and large print papers along with the main delivery. We will automatically issue any extra papers required for use by scribes and readers, separate to the main delivery.
Please note that for 2006 the Standard Grade Physical Education Video will be available on both VHS video and DVD. A subtitled version of the 25% extra time VHS video or DVD can also be provided for candidates who have additional support needs.
Listening materials for Modern Languages, Gàidhlig and Gaelic (Learners) examinations will be provided on CD only. CDs for Standard Grade French, German and Music (Foundation, General and Credit levels) with 25% extra time built in will also be made available to candidates for whom we have approved 25% additional time.
You will already have received the usual proforma to allow you to request CDs for the 2006 examinations in Music and Languages and DVDs/VHS videos for Standard Grade Physical Education. Please return these proformas as soon as possible to enable provision of the appropriate listening materials.
National Qualifications invoice charges
National Qualifications are normally invoiced in April, May and June. The invoice in April is for entries processed before 31 March; the invoice in May is for entries processed in April and includes NQ exam charges. The invoice in June is for entries processed in May.
entries before 31 March you will be charged the normal rate (please see our price list)
entries after 31 March you will be charged the normal rate and late entry fee
withdrawals before 31 March there is no charge
withdrawals after 31 March you will be charged as entries before 31 March
entries and withdrawals in the same calendar month there will be no charge
When a National Course is entered on a Unit by Unit basis, and the value of the units plus the external assessment fee comes to more than the amount specified on the price list, Price Cap credits come into play. A credit is then automatically deducted from the next invoice.
Removing Barriers and Creating Opportunitie
SQA aims to be an equal opportunity employer. We also seek to ensure that our qualifications are free from real or perceived barriers to learning and that they offer candidates an equal opportunity to achieve their full potential regardless of factors such as disability, age, sex, social background, sexual orientation, religion or belief and race.
With this policy in mind, we were delighted to be invited to give evidence to the Equal Opportunities Committee Disability Inquiry - Removing Barriers and Creating Opportunities.
View our written submission to the Committee. Access more details of the work of the Committee and the Inquiry.
We will continue to work with a variety of partners to ensure that all Scotland's people have access to our qualifications.