SQA celebrates corporate parent anniversary

04 April 2017

The Scottish Qualifications Authority is celebrating two years as a corporate parent. In April 2015, SQA joined other public sector organisations in Scotland in assuming responsibilities for young people with experience of the care system.

Since then SQA has embraced the opportunity to help improve the lives of care experienced children and young people. SQA works closely with Who Cares? Scotland to ensure the support we provide is as effective as it can be. The organisation works with those who have had contact with the care system, to ensure their voices are heard at a national level.

Highlights to date include the celebration event we have hosted on Results Day in 2015, and 2016. Last year’s event was attended by a number of care experienced young people who were joined by John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister, and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, on hand to present candidates with their Scottish Qualifications Certificates.

Among the candidates celebrating that day were Chloe Wyper, Helen Johnson, and Megan Sutherland who between them received results for Advanced Highers, Highers, and National Progression Awards in English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, and Drama.

Over the past two years, SQA staff have fully embraced the idea of being corporate parents. Christmas 2016 saw SQA’s Corporate Social Responsibility Team led a successful campaign resulting in the donation of over 1,500 personally written Christmas cards; £150 in donations; 21 large boxes of gifts; gift vouchers for a number of retailers; 30 boxes of decorations; and 10 Christmas trees.

SQA’s Laura Gemmell, Elaine McFadyen, and Angela Ray also attended the Who Cares? Scotland Christmas Day party, giving up their own time to volunteer with young people.

Gavin Sinclair, Fundraising and Partnership Manager, Who Cares? Scotland, said: “The support we received from SQA was overwhelming and actually quite humbling.  We never anticipated such generosity and support, which made it all the more exciting for us. Talking to young people involved in the appeal it was clear they were appreciative of what SQA had done and genuinely touched by the commitment shown.” 

The insight of care-experienced young people also play an active role in the development of qualifications that affect them. A number of young people have a place on the Qualification Design Teams for SQA’s care qualifications, where their contribution gives them the opportunity to improve the lives of future generations of children in care.

Marking the second anniversary, Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive said: "As corporate parents we are privileged to have the opportunity to help improve the futures of care experienced children and young people. Two years ago we made a commitment to strive for a Scotland in which they are listened to and given every opportunity to reach their goals.  We have taken steps to meet this challenge and will ensure that we continue to make progress in the years to come."

As part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, the Scottish Government named SQA and 23 other public bodies as "Corporate Parents" to young people in care. This meant a duty was placed on them to listen to the needs and wishes of children and young people in care, and for them to be proactive in their collective efforts to address these.

Who Cares? Scotland is a national voluntary organisation, which provides a range of advocacy, advice and support services across Scotland for children and young people with experience of care up to the age of 25. Who Cares? Scotland is commissioned by the Scottish Government to provide training for National Corporate Parents.