Breadcrumb navigation:

New Qualifications Outline

CfE Classroom teacher and pupils

SQA has designed and developed new National Qualifications to support Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), which introduced a new way of learning to schools and colleges in 2010. The new qualifications will help young people to demonstrate the knowledge, understanding and skills they have developed at school or college and enable them to prepare for further learning, training and employment.


What are the new qualifications?

This table shows how the new qualifications replace previous/existing National Qualifications.

SCQF Level New National Qualification Replaces Previous/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

When are the new qualifications being introduced?

National 1 to National 5 are now being delivered in schools and colleges across Scotland. The new Higher will be introduced from August 2014 and the new Advanced Higher from August 2015. Schools and colleges may choose to introduce the new qualifications at different times, so learners should check with their school/college to find out which qualifications will be available to them.

Will learners in S5 and S6 continue studying for the existing qualifications?

In 2013/14 and 2014/15, we are making the existing Access, Intermediate and Higher qualifications available alongside the new National 1 to National 5 and Higher qualifications. This will provide an opportunity for learners currently in S5 and S6 to complete their education with the existing qualifications. However, the decision over which qualifications schools and colleges will offer during this time is made at a local level by schools and local authorities, and by colleges.

Further information