Literacy and Numeracy

hand holding pen and writing in jotter

Developing literacy and numeracy skills is the responsibility of everyone in Scotland's education system.

Our National Qualifications are designed to enable learners to develop literacy and numeracy skills across all subjects; however, literacy skills have a particular relationship with English and Gàidhlig Courses, and numeracy skills have a particular relationship with Mathematics and Lifeskills Mathematics Courses. These Courses include National Units in Literacy and Numeracy. Further information on these Units is given below.

National Literacy Units

National Literacy Units develop the four skills of reading, writing, listening and talking. Each of these skills is of equal importance.

National Literacy Units form a mandatory part of English and Gàidhlig Courses at National 3 and National 4. They may also be taken separately and are available on a freestanding basis at SCQF levels 3, 4 and 5 for those who want or need certification of their literacy skills - including adult learners.

The National Literacy Unit at National 5 is a stand-alone Unit. It is not a mandatory part of National 5 English and Gàidhlig Courses, however it is possible that work done by learners in these Courses could contribute towards the Unit.

The Core Skill of Communication is embedded within National Literacy Units, so if a learner achieves a National Literacy Unit, the Core Skill of Communication will automatically be recognised on their qualifications certificate.

National Numeracy Units

National Numeracy Units develop skills in number processes and information handling, in real-life contexts involving money, time and measurement. Numeracy skills should underpin all the work undertaken in Mathematics and Lifeskills Mathematics Courses.

National Numeracy Units form a mandatory part of the National 4 Mathematics Course, and Lifeskills Mathematics Courses at National 3, National 4 and National 5. They may also be taken separately, and are available on a freestanding basis at SCQF levels 3, 4 and 5 for anyone who wants or needs certification of their numeracy skills - including adult learners.

The National Numeracy Unit at National 5 is a stand-alone Unit. However, it is possible that work done by learners in the National 5 Mathematics Course could contribute towards the Unit.

The Core Skill of Numeracy is embedded in the National Numeracy Units, so if a learner achieves a National Numeracy Unit, the Core Skill of Numeracy will automatically be recognised on their qualifications certificate.

Comparing National Literacy and Numeracy Units to other qualifications

The new National Literacy Units at National 3, National 4 and National 5 are equivalent to the existing Core Skills Communication Units and National Certificate Communication Units, while the new Numeracy Units are equivalent to the existing Core Skills Numeracy Units.

Read more about equivalent Literacy and Numeracy qualifications.

Support for disabled learners and learners with additional support needs

When completing National Literacy Units, a number of supportive practices are allowed for disabled learners and learners with identified additional support needs (ASN).

Read more about supportive practices for literacy.

Further information