New National Qualifications

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning announced changes to Scotland's National Qualifications in June.

The Cabinet Secretary said ‘Scotland needs a new generation of national qualifications that will equip our young people with the skills and knowledge they need to rise to the challenges of 21st century society.’

There are four national partner organisations involved in Curriculum for Excellence, working together and with stakeholders on all strands of the programme: Scottish GovernmentLearning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE).

Our principal role is to contribute to work on qualifications and assessment. We are committed to working collaboratively with teachers, parents and our stakeholders to ensure that the new qualifications will motivate and challenge learners and allow them to move smoothly from a broad, general education into learning that leads to qualifications and employment.

The new qualifications – National 4 and National 5 at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels 4 and 5 will replace Standard Grade General and Credit and Intermediate 1 and 2 qualifications.

The new qualifications will be designed to reflect the values, purposes and principles of Curriculum for Excellence and foster skills for learning, life and work. The qualifications will offer increased flexibility, and will provide more time for learning, more focus on skills and applying learning, and more scope for personalisation.

Our well regarded Access, Highers and Advanced Highers will be revised to ensure that they provide good progression to and from the new National 4 and 5 qualifications.

We are working with partners and stakeholders on the development and implementation of the new qualifications. We have established a number of key stages that will inform and drive the design process behind the development of the new qualifications.

We have eight curriculum area review groups working with us in each curriculum area. These are: expressive arts, health and wellbeing, languages, mathematics, science, social studies, technologies and religious and moral education.

Each group includes a representative from: our key partners (LTS, the Scottish Government and HMIe); the teaching profession in schools, colleges, and universities; and employers and stakeholders, including parents.

Dr Janet Brown, Our Chief Executive, said ‘Scotland's qualification system has a well-deserved reputation for quality which is recognised worldwide. We are delighted to play our part, along with the wider educational community and as a member of the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board, in the delivery of a new breed of National Qualification which is focused on the skills-development needs and demands of the 21st century.’