Background to Portolio Review

In late 2004, SQA carried out a review and consultation process. The aim of the review was to establish qualification titles and design principles which would fit together into a system of qualifications that is:

  • fit for purpose and up-to-date
  • simple to understand 
  • straightforward and cost-effective for centres and SQA to operate

Additionally, this system of qualifications will enhance progression opportunities for candidates who wish to continue with studying or who wish to move into employment.

Further consultation was carried out in February and March 2005 to clarify the design principles for non-advanced Group Awards (National Certificates and National Progression Awards).

Having confirmed the design principles for these Group Awards, SQA has now embarked upon a project to review its current portfolio with a view to incorporating (if appropriate) a cohesive set of new National Certificates and National Progression Awards.

The aims of this project include the following:

  • develop or revise nationally recognised SQA National Certificates and National Progression Awards
  • review, update, revise and rationalise the NQ Unit Catalogue 
  • develop or revise servicing Units 
  • develop assessment support materials


Establishing the need

SQA has carried out occupational sector profiling exercises which cover qualifications from SCQF level 2-6 and takes into consideration what currently exists in SQA’s portfolio, key competitor qualifications and developments and trends within a variety of sectoral areas.

This has resulted in determining gaps within the current SQA portfolio and recommendations as to which qualifications should be developed, updated or deleted.

Occupational sector profiling has been carried out in the following areas:

  • Art & Design
  • Care 
  • Communication & Media 
  • Computing & IT
  • Construction 
  • Drama
  • Environmental & Landbased Industries
  • Hairdressing & Beauty 
  • Hospitality 
  • Engineering 
  • Generic Arts
  • Generic Science
  • Music
  • Public Services
  • Sport & Leisure 
  • Supply Chain and Logistics
  • Travel & Tourism 
  • Business Administration (including Financial Services)


Servicing Units

  • Communication
  • Computing (IT) 
  • Finance 
  • Numeracy 
  • Personal & Social Education (PSE)  
  • Science 
  • Language 
  • Supervisory Management 
  • Project Planning


Next stages of review

Qualification Design Teams (QDTs) are now in the process of being created and interested personnel, for example from colleges, schools and industry, are currently being invited to become members of these teams. Once the Qualification Design Teams are established and consultants appointed (if appropriate), specific Group Award developments will be scoped out. A key objective for QDTs will be to determine an appropriate consultation strategy for the Group Award development and further consultation events are expected to take place.


National Qualification Group Award (NQGA) Development Schedule

Based on the published development schedule for Higher National Modernisation Programme model, the NQGA Development Schedule will also be published for stakeholders (see link below).

The NQGA Development Schedule is a dynamic document which aims to provide summary information on each individual development - initially indicating the subject area, the SQA Qualification Manager responsible for the qualification, an indication of the actual or forecast dates for the start of the development and the availability to centres.

In due course, we anticipate it will also provide an indication of the actual or forecast dates for the validation, and the availability of Arrangements documents. Where a qualification on the original schedule is not being progressed, or has had a change of title during development or at validation, the original qualification will be retained and highlighted, and a note explaining why the award is not being progressed, or linking it to the revised title will be appended. This allows an audit trail to be maintained between the original and current schedules.

The NQGA Development Schedule and Status Report (2.73 MB) will be published and reported to stakeholders on a monthly basis via our website. The user can apply filters to the schedule to search for specific information, ie can select a certain subject type to list all planned developments or list all qualifications validated and/or when.

It is envisaged that the NQGA Development Schedule will provide SQA’s stakeholders with early, regular and straightforward information on developments in National Certificates and National Progression Awards.