NPA Photography at SCQF level 4 and 5

NPA Photography at SCQF level 4 and 5

This qualification is widely available.

The new National Progression Awards in Photography at SCQF level 4 and 5 will develop knowledge and understanding in practical photography. The Awards are aimed at those who want to explore their interest in photography and perhaps take it to a more advanced level.

The NPA Photography at SCQF level 4 will fill a gap in provision at this level and provide a foundation level of study that will reflect the personal and social development needs of the learner. The units are aimed at promoting self-confidence, self-development, and learner interests to promote positive progression routes. 

The NPA Photography at SCQF level 5 will build on the foundation skills at level 4 and prepare learners to understand more advanced skills and techniques. It will promote a progression route into the new NC Photography Group Award at SCQF Level 6 or other relevant skills for work and creative digital media programmes, eg the new NC Introduction to Creative Industries Group Award at SCQF Level  and Higher Photography.  

Why deliver this qualification

Top features and benefits for centres

  • Provide a structured route into HNC/D
  • Flexible delivery
  • Funded by Scottish Funding Council

Top features and benefits for learners

  • Provide skills to go on to further study or entry-level employment
  • Relevant to the vocational area they are interested in (based on National Occupational Standards)
  • Credit can be built up over a period of time and if the learner leaves without completing the course they will be credited for their learning to date.

The NPA in Photography at SCQF Level 4 and 5 is intended as a flexible programme of learning. Learners may wish to participate in a single unit, several units or the whole group award. It is possible that learners undertaking the NPA at SCQF level 4 will wish to progress to the NPA at SCQF level 5.  

Both NPAs can be delivered to suit the needs of various providers within the notional design timeframe. Centres can choose the order in which they teach and assess the Units according to the needs of the group, the resources available and any partnership links that might be involved in delivery (eg widening access programmes or school links).

Full details on the suitability of individual units for open learning are given in each individual Unit specification. Delivery by open learning would require planning by the centre to ensure that learner evidence is sufficient and authentic.Arrangements would have to be made to ensure observation is conducted under supervision. Opportunities may be restricted where peer critique, and group presentation and exhibition work, are recommended.

Who does this qualification suit

The National Progression Awards seek to attract interest from schools and community groups who want to explore practical ‘hands-on’ photography using a range of resources. These might reflect the needs of the group and may not necessarily be directed by the need to deliver photography programmes using ‘state of the art’ equipment. 

The NPAs will develop soft skills, core skills and vocational skills. They will appeal to school links groups, community-based groups, further education colleges and other providers who wish to promote photography to interest-based groups.

The basic foundation level of study aims to provide good preparation for those learners wishing to progress to level 5 and to the new National Certificate in Photography at SCQF level 6, and perhaps in the longer term to successful articulation at HE level.

Access

There are no specific entry requirements for the National Progression Awards at SCQF levels 4 and 5. The recommended access to the Group Awards is stated in the unit specifications.

While access to the NPAs will be at the discretion of the centre, it would be beneficial if learners had a keen interest in photography or creative digital media. Ideally, learners should have some degree of aptitude for and a genuine interest in photography that can be nurtured and developed either in a freestanding unit-by-unit basis and/or throughout the group award.

It is unlikely that learners accessing the level 4 NPA will have examples of photographic work (a portfolio), and it is important that access is not restricted with any unnecessary pre-entry requirements. Centres may find that access is determined simply on the basis of a willingness to learn about photography. In other cases, learners may want to extend their knowledge but not be ready to gain entry at level 5 or 6.

It would be beneficial if learners accessing the level 5 NPA were able to produce examples of their work (a portfolio) and, ideally, had achieved the level 4 NPA. Alternatively, they may have experience from school.

Progression

The basic foundation level of study aims to provide good preparation for those learners wishing to progress to level 5 and to the new National Certificate in Photography at SCQF level 6, and perhaps in the longer term to HE level.

The NPA Photography at SCQF level 5 aims to promote a progression route into the new NC Photography Group Award at SCQF level 6, Higher Photography or other relevant skills for work and creative digital media programmes (eg the new NC Introduction to Creative Industries Group Award at SCQF level 5), HNC/D level Photography. Entry to these courses may be subject to successful portfolio submission and interview. The NPAs will support learners’ progression to other courses as well as into employment, eg self-employment in wedding photography, landscapes or other areas.

Many learners who have successfully completed SQA qualifications in Photography have enjoyed success in HND level Photography courses and have continued their studies to BA Honours degree level.

Entry to employment (in the majority of cases, self-employment as a photographer), is more appropriate on completion of courses at a higher level. Employment after a National Certificate in photography is likely to be as a trainee or as an assistant photographer.

Approval

If an NC or NPA contains an externally-assessed component of a National Course, teaching staff must be suitably qualified to deliver this.

If an NC or NPA contains SVQ units, assessors must have or be working towards the L&D91 unit or equivalent.

How to assess

The NPAs at SCQF level 4 and 5 offer realistic opportunities for holistic assessment across outcomes and units. The content and contexts will promote learner confidence in photography skills for everyday use — eg gathering and selecting images, identifying key components, labelling and storing, mounting and presenting final images, understanding categories of photography (still life, portraiture and landscape), and identifying a selection of diverse images taken indoors and outdoors. The learning content will increase the learner’s ability to create a portfolio of work and develop individual confidence to evaluate and critique their own work.

Each Unit is individually assessed, and learners will be expected to use simple automatic functions of cameras to capture good images and to work with their peers to critique their work. Great emphasis will be placed on enhancing images to present and exhibit work.

The focus will be mainly on practical photography delivered in a flexible format with the use of practical activities, workshops, discussion, self/peer and tutor assessment, project work, practical visits and exhibition work.

During delivery there will be opportunities to develop:

  • Co-operative working
  • Communication skills
  • Research skills
  • Planning
  • Organising
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • ICT
  • Creative Digital Technology

 
The main content will include:

  • Camera operations
  • Camera care
  • Camera handling
  • Tutorials and practical demonstrations
  • Simple concepts — lighting, composition and framing
  • Reviewing the work of prominent photographers
  • Capturing good images
  • Making simple adjustments and enhancements to images
  • Editing and presentation
  • Storing photographs
  • Outputs: print online, mobile applications
  • Folio work
  • Exhibition work

The context and the content of the NPAs put the learner at the centre of the learning process. The aim is to provide a short, flexible course in photography to develop an understanding of what photography has to offer.

At level 4 this includes: photographing places; understanding of what makes a good image; and managing photographs.

At level 5 the aim is to develop and broaden the learners’ skills and experience. They will be expected to select a range of images (indoors and outdoors) taken by contemporary photographers describing the style, viewpoint and technical approaches used. They will plan five photograph sessions in a variety of locations using natural and artificial lighting and present their findings. They will be expected to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their chosen images, suggest improvements and how these can be achieved. Enhancing and resizing images will be undertaken and the finished result will involve peer discussion. They will learn how to present images in print, as a CD (including the original images and the edited version) and as an electronic presentation.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification Structure

Group Award Code: GF86 44

The National Progression Award in Photography at SCQF level 4 consists of 4 mandatory units at SCQF level 4.

Group Award Code: GF8V 45

The National Progression Award in Photography at SCQF level 5 consists of 4 mandatory units at SCQF level 5.

For further information on the units and structure of these qualifications please refer to the Group Award Specification document.