New Qualifications Outline

CfE Classroom teacher and pupils

We have designed and developed new National Qualifications to support Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) - the 3 to 18 curriculum in Scotland that was introduced in 2010. The new qualifications aim to help young people develop the skills, knowledge and understanding they will need to succeed in the 21st century.

The new National Qualifications

The table shows the new qualifications and how they replace the previous or existing National Qualifications.

SCQF Level New National Qualification Replaces Previous or existing National Qualification
1 National 1 > Access 1
2 National 2 > Access 2
3 National 3 > Access 3
Standard Grade (Foundation level)
4 National 4 > Standard Grade (General level)
Intermediate 1
5 National 5 > Standard Grade (Credit level)
Intermediate 2
6 Higher (new) > Higher
7 Advanced Higher (new) > Advanced Higher

We have also developed a range of new Awards which support CfE. These include Wider Achievement Awards and Awards in Scottish Studies, Scots Language and Cycling. The new Awards are shorter than National Courses and recognise success across different levels of difficulty, meaning they are suitable for learners of all abilities.

New National qualifications and the SCQF

All of the new National Qualifications have been benchmarked against the previous and existing National Qualifications on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). This ensures that the new qualifications are set at the same level of demand and difficulty as their predecessors, and that national standards are maintained.


The new National 1 to Higher qualifications are available now, and are being taught in schools and colleges across Scotland. The new Advanced Higher will be introduced from August 2015.

The final results for Standard Grade qualifications were issued in August 2013, and the final results for existing Access, Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications will be issued in August 2015.