Approval to offer National Qualifications in 2016–17

Important information for schools and colleges

For which qualifications do I need to apply for approval?

Schools and colleges are automatically approved for some National Qualifications. Being automatically approved means you do not need to apply for approval to offer these. You can see which qualifications your school/college is automatically approved for by checking your automatic-approval list on or SQA Connect.

If you would like to offer a National Qualification that is not on your automatic-approval list, you will need to apply for qualification approval. You can do this by downloading a qualification approval application form or by contacting our Business Development Team who will send you an application form and guide you through the approval process. Please do not start to deliver the qualification to candidates until after we have granted approval and added the qualification to your approval list.

When should I apply for qualification approval?

While we are happy to receive qualification approval application forms at any time, there is a closing date depending on what your intentions are for the qualification.

If you need the qualification added to your approval list for academic session 2016–17, with a view to it being on candidates’ certificates in August 2017, we need to receive your completed application form by Friday 23 September 2016. A completed application is an approval application which has been acknowledged and confirmed by our Business Development Team as a final submission with all the necessary information we need to proceed with the approval process.

Any forms we receive where you have not received this confirmation or which are submitted after 23 September 2016 will be processed as normal, but the qualification will not appear on your approval list until the start of session 2017–18. You will not be able to deliver the qualification to any candidates before then.

What are the reasons for qualification approval and why are the timescales important?

SQA has a responsibility to maintain the national standards of National Qualifications and to quality assure the centres that deliver them. Qualification approval is needed for the following reasons:

If approval activity is not fully completed by 25 November 2016, your candidates will be at risk of not being certificated in August 2017. The qualification will not appear on your approval list until the start of session 2017–18 and you will not be able to deliver the qualification to candidates before then.

I've submitted my application form - either before or after the closing date - but have not received confirmation from the Business Development Team, what should I do?

If you have not received confirmation of your approval application or we receive your completed application form after 23 September 2016, we will commence with approval activity, but if it is not completed before the 25 November approval cut-off date, the qualification will not be added to your approval list until academic session 2017–18.

If you need to ensure that the qualification is on your candidates’ certificates in August 2017, you should explore alternative routes. For example, you may consider entering the candidates through a partner school/college that already has SQA approval to offer the qualification.

Further information

Further information about qualification approval is available on our Approval web page.

If you are interested in applying for approval to offer a qualification that is not currently on your approval list, please contact our Business Development and Customer Support Team on 0303 333 0330 or email