New Qualifications - May 2012 Update

Advanced Higher

The draft Course Specifications for the new Advanced Higher qualifications are now published.

The Course Specifications define the mandatory requirements for the new Courses.
Use the subject drop-down menu at to find the documents for each subject.

Advanced Higher qualifications will be developed in the same way as the other qualifications - our diagram shows the process -

You can give your feedback via Have Your Say.

Advanced Highers allow young people to take the skills, knowledge and understanding they have already acquired from previous study to a deeper and more challenging level.

The new Advanced Highers will be introduced in 2015/16.

Find out more about Advanced Higher -

Final Documents – National 2 to Higher

The final documents for National 2 to Higher Courses were published last month.

This marks a major milestone towards the introduction of Scotland's new National Qualifications.

Use the subject drop-down menu at to find the documents for each subject. A new tool is available to download all, or a selection of, documents for a particular subject.

The Course Specifications, Unit Specifications and Course Assessment Specifications provide the mandatory Course content and assessment requirements for every new Course and the information required to deliver them.

The Course and Unit Support Notes provide practitioners with advice and guidance on approaches to delivering and assessing the new qualifications.

Find out how to use the documents –

National 2 to National 5 Course documents are valid from August 2013 (for implementation in session 2013/14) and Higher Course documents are valid from August 2014 (for implementation in session 2014/15).


The final documents include those for new Awards which SQA has developed -

Award Support Notes are also available for practitioners on the SQA secure site. Speak to your SQA coordinator to access these materials.

New Resources

We have updated and expanded our suite of Guides with all the latest developments. The new guides are available to read and download on our website, along with other resources such as the Mythbuster and jargon buster.

Education Scotland has also published a suite of practical advice and guidance to support practitioners in preparing for implementing the new qualifications. See:

Printed Documents

All schools and colleges in Scotland will receive one complete set of printed final documents and copies of our new leaflets. These will be delivered to centres before the end of term.


The new National 3, National 4 and National 5 qualifications include Literacy and Numeracy Units that are equivalent to the current Core Skills and National Certificate Communication Units.

Information about equivalences is now available.


Next Steps

Assessment support

SQA will develop the following assessment support from May 2012 to April 2013:

By the end of October 2012, SQA will publish a package of assessment support covering three Units for each Course at National 2, National 3, National 4 and National 5. In addition, further information will be available to support Course assessment at National 4 and National 5.

SQA will then publish further Unit assessments as they are available through to April 2013, notifying centres in the normal way. Finalised National 5 specimen question papers and coursework will all be available by April 2013.

Assessment materials for Higher will be published by April 2014.

CfE Events

A further 10 curriculum area events will take place in September 2012.

Between October 2012 and March 2013 we will host a series of subject-specific events, which will support practitioners in implementing the new Course arrangements and their assessments. Every principal subject teacher will be invited to attend. Further information on dates and booking arrangements will follow in due course.

Our CfE Liaison team are continuing to support local events: