Higher National Certifications and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation - SQA Research

As the national accreditation and awarding body in Scotland, SQA's remit is to develop, maintain, assess and accredit a wide range of qualifications to suit every learner, industry sector, further and higher education entry requirement within Scotland.

Higher Nationals are a key element of our work, particularly in terms of the route they provide to higher education or employment for people from the most deprived communities in Scotland.

In short, Higher Nationals provide opportunities for learners from all walks of life, who may not otherwise have that opportunity, to achieve a higher education qualification.

New research that we have undertaken, highlights patterns of achievement in Higher National qualifications across Scotland in the last six years.

The research, which has been referenced against the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), shows SQA's Higher Nationals serve all of Scotland well - particularly Scotland's more deprived areas.

In 2014-15, the most deprived 20% of Scottish communities provided 22.6% of Higher National certifications, while the least deprived 20% of Scottish communities provided 16.7%.

This research is published in the 90th anniversary year of Scotland's Higher Nationals - Higher National Diplomas and Higher National Certificates - qualifications which are designed to prepare learners for employment, career development or progression to degree programmes.