Next steps for National Qualifications

SQA remains committed to the successful implementation of the National Qualifications. By working with local authorities, schools, colleges, teaching unions, and national partners improvements that can be made both in the qualifications and the way in which they are operating in centres will continue to be identified.

Over the past seven months, SQA has conducted an extensive review into the experiences teachers and learners have had with the new National Qualifications on a subject-by-subject basis.

This is part of our ongoing monitoring and evaluation of all qualifications to ensure they perform as intended to best support the needs of the people and economy of Scotland.

We recently published the findings of our research, which are available at

From the evidence gathered, we have put in place a three-year plan of action that outlines evidence-based adjustments and/or additional guidance and support. This plan will help to alleviate those workload concerns arising from the assessments, re-assessments and recording without compromising the standards and credibility of the qualifications. Some of these actions are around the design and operation of Unit assessment.

The details of the actions for each subject, some of which have been prioritised for the 2016-17 session, are available in Subject Review Reports - all of which have been published and communicated to schools, colleges, teachers and lecturers. Each report is available on the relevant subject page –

SQA responds to EIS indicative ballot

We are disappointed the EIS has decided to take this action, particularly when we have taken steps to alleviate teacher workload without compromising national standards and maintaining the integrity and credibility of the qualifications. 

The priority of the entire education system is to work together to ensure the best possible learning opportunities are provided to our young people. We are deeply concerned that, as a result of this action, these opportunities could be jeopardised. 

We have already introduced a number of measures which will directly address the workload concerns raised by teachers. This includes changes to unit assessments in a large number of subjects. These changes are based on our participation in the Ministerial Group, and our own extensive research and consultation with teachers. Teaching unions made various proposals during the meetings of the Ministerial Group and these were not agreed as reasonable ways forward as they compromised the integrity of the qualifications.

Our research also identified a range of factors across the education system which are contributing to assessment-related workload. Measures to address these factors require actions to be taken by all the partner organisations involved. 

We are committed to the successful implementation of the National Qualifications and will continue to work with local authorities, schools, colleges, partners and teaching unions to deliver for our young people.