Friday, 7 April 2006
Around 2,000 children descended on Moray College, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) for a science festival (which we co-sponsored).
Moray College is one of the partnership of 15 colleges and research institutions that make up the UHI Millennium Institute, the higher education network in the Highlands and Islands, which is aiming to gain university status in 2007.
Moray hosted the Moray Science Festival which featured workshops for children where they lit a torch with a lemon; discovered why the sky is blue and sunsets are red using milk and a torch; and saw a variety of living animals and their feeding methods. They could hold a hissing cockroach or a giant African land snail and watch as the beasties had dinner!
Another attraction was The Cosmic Dome, an inflatable planetarium in which stars were projected, and the science and beauty of light and sound were demonstrated.
There were shows about astronomy, the history of space flight and of electricity, all designed to give the youngsters hands-on experience, and lots of fun (as depicted in the image, provided by the Northern Scot).
The workshops were organised by students on the Access to Science Programme.
Moira Currie, science curriculum leader at Moray College UHI, said: 'The childrenís events are extremely tiring, but so much fun. The youngsters really love them, especially the ones where they can get messy! And they are a great confidence booster for our students.'
The Moray Festival helped to launch National Science Week in the region.
Last yearís G8 Summit at Gleneagles made history, but for eight young Scots, it was a personal triumph too.
To provide an extra-special memento of the event, we were asked to nominate the best of the expressive artwork produced for last yearís Higher Art and Design Course, and from these, First Minister Jack McConnell made a selection of eight pieces that were presented to the spouses of the G8 delegate leaders. The pieces now hang in such distinguished locations as the White House, the Kremlin and 10 Downing Street.
The eight talented candidates were: Alison Ballantyne (Gleniffer High School), Marloes De Boer (Banchory Academy), Louise Holsgrove (St Cuthbertís High, Johnstone), Sarah Hardie (Dollar Academy), Maria Cox (St Columbaís, Dumfermline), Carla Corrieri (Dunblane High), Laura Kerr (Prestwick Academy), Sandy MacRae (Anderson High, Lerwick).
At a reception in Edinburgh recently, the artists were presented with special prints of the pieces that we had had made before the summit.
Before that presentation, the prints had been displayed at our annual Awards Ceremony, to much acclaim. They were then shipped to Brussels to become one of the centrepieces of a major 'Best of British' exhibition that marked Britainís Presidency of the European Union. They were then displayed at the Scottish Administration building in Brussels.
A further set of prints has now been produced, which will be on permanent display in our new Glasgow offices at The Optima Building.
After 18 years in Hanover House, SQA Glasgow is relocating over the next few weeks and by mid May will be fully located in our new office - The Optima Building.
We are co-locating with Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) who moved their Glasgow operations into the Optima Building during February. Co-locating will allow both SQA and LTS to support each other in a range of operational functions.
Full details of our new address will be issued soon to all customers. Details are:
Scottish Qualifications Authority
The Optima Building
58 Robertson Street
Tel: 0845 279 1000
We look forward to welcoming you to our new office soon.
Please note that contact details for SQA Dalkeith will not change.
We are managing a project on behalf of the Home Office and the Scottish Executive to adapt and pilot English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) citizenship learning materials for use in Scotland.
The aim is to develop and pilot the materials with five ESOL providers in Scotland from the further education and community sectors.
A contextualised set of learning materials was completed at the end of November 2005, and the materials are currently being piloted in five centres.
The Scottish Offshore Achievement Awards ceremony recently took place in Aberdeen, recognising achievement in Scotland's energy sector.
Sparrows Offshore went on to win the Overall Achievement Award, as well as the SQA-sponsored "Internationalisation of Scottish Skills" category. Sparrows Offshore are no strangers to success, having won two accolades at the 2005 SQA Awards ceremony. Our picture shows Susan Fraser, Training Manager for Sparrows Offshore, being presented with one of these prizes by Frank Nawn of category sponsors RM.
The UK is bidding against France, Sweden and Australia to host the biggest skills competition in the world in London in 2011.
This competition provides the UK with a fantastic opportunity to showcase its skills on the world stage. Scotland will play an active part not only in 2011, but also in events leading up to the competition itself. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will each be given opportunity to host a day at the event, providing each country with a window in which to display its skills, culture and talent. Scotland's young people can aspire to medal success and be inspired by seeing skills in action; Scotland's employers and training providers can develop young people to compete with the best from the rest of the world; Scotlandís businesses can show their support for world-class skills through attractive sponsorship packages, and tourism should benefit from competition visitors taking the opportunity to travel.
The successful bid will be announced in Melbourne on 10 May 2006.
It has been a very busy few weeks on the Understanding Standards website (USW), with a number of new subjects and levels being made available, but we're most excited about releasing video exemplars on the website in the Physical Education Guide to Assessing Peformance section.
The USW Team have long wanted to find ways to illustrate marking principles in practical assessments, and though video seemed ideal, the challenges were many.
Technical and practical obstacles have now been overcome, and the videos can be viewed by those with access to the Understanding Standards website.
More videos and other new developments are coming soon, so watch this space.
We have published a full suite of assessment exemplars for the following Professional Development Awards (PDAs) which are available for download via the SQA Secure website through your SQA Co-ordinator:
As part of the European Social Fund (ESF) support for modernising HN provision, we have secured funds to develop a question bank of 250 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) for Section 1 of the HNC Computing Graded Unit (DH36 34).
Work is well underway and we aim to produce a CD-ROM containing all 250 MCQs to centres by June 2006.
Following on from last month's initial regional rounds of the HN Challenge, we are happy to report the winners of the remaining regional events.
The event at Ayr saw four colleges participating: Ayr, Kilmarnock, Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) and Dumfries & Galloway. The regional winner was Ayr, defeating SAC in the final. The image, from left to right shows Walter Paul, HN 80th Challenge Host with Adrienne Healy HND Art and Design student, Mark Taylor Lecturer in Care and Social Science and John Wason HND Graduate in Graphic Illustration and Digital Design.
The last regional event took place at Aberdeen College, where four colleges participated: Aberdeen, Banff and Buchan, Lews Castle and Moray. The winner was Banff and Buchan College, defeating Moray in the final.
Banff and Buchan join Stow, West Lothian and Ayr in the national semi-finals, which will take place at Hampden on 3 May.
Following this, there will be an HN Heroes and Champions evening reception on 31 May at Hampden Park, where the final of the Challenge will take place here.
Working in co-operation with Scotlandís Colleges the Reception will give us the opportunity to acknowledge the many in Scotland associated with HNís success over the years, lecturers, students and employers. From the nominations submitted by Colleges a trophy will be presented to Scotlandís ĎHN Championí. The evening will also include a preview of the HN Showcase event which will run at Hampden on 1 June.
On 1 June the HN 80 anniversary year will close with our HN Showcase event. Scotlandís Colleges are being asked to put on exhibitions, demonstrations and performances which best showcase their HN work. The event will be open to the public, schools, colleges and employers.
If you have an HN connection and would like to attend the HN Heroes and Champions evening reception on 31 May at Hampden Park, please let us know - you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last month we reported that the Scottish Executive had approved a business case to support the introduction of Higher Urdu. We are now pleased to announce that we will shortly be appointing a Development Officer who will have specific responsibility for the development of this qualification.
Higher Urdu will be available to all our centres from academic session 2007-08 with the first certification taking place in August 2008. This marks an important stage in the development of our qualifications in minority languages -candidates who undertake Standard Grade Urdu have previously had no alternative progression route to follow.
We will publish a development timeline for Higher Urdu in due course, indicating the main development stages leading up to implementation in August 2007.
We have developed a National Qualifications (NQ) framework for English for Speakers Of Other Languages (ESOL). From August 2006 this framework will also include Intermediate 2 and Higher Courses in ESOL.
As part of their Improving Achievement series of reports from HMIE, Improving Achievement in Mathematics in Primary and Secondary Schools was published in October 2005.
The report makes a series of conclusions which, whilst addressing the main strengths and areas for improvements within the primary and secondary school sectors, identifies action that appropriate bodies at national level, including ourselves, should be taking to assist in the improvement of achievement in Mathematics.
As a direct result of this report, we have initiated a number of development and research activities.
We are currently completing the content of our new Professional Development Directory for August 2006 to January 2007. Copies will be sent to all our Co-ordinators in our approved centres during May. Look out for your copy coming soon.
We are confident that the workshops and events contained within our new Directory will continue to meet your business needs. Previous events delivered to date have resulted in the following delegate feedback:
'Really enjoyed the day Ė it was great to be able to talk to other colleagues and SQA staff for some new ideas without feeling stupid for asking.'
'The workshop helped me clarify the requirements of my teaching department in respect of internal and external moderation.'
'I came along to gain evidence of CPD in my role as an SVQ manager and assessor and that is exactly what I got.'
One of the areas covered by these workshops has been helping centres in Understanding Standards in National Courses. We have offered workshops in a range of subjects and these have been very successful with 97% of delegates rating them as good or very good.
When asked for suggestions for future events, delegates' responses included:
'just more opportunity to attend these excellent and much valued SQA events'
'this is in-service which should run again .........and again. very, very useful'
The above feedback illustrates a high level of satisfaction with these events to date. The programme will be further developed to include new levels and a wider range of subjects.
The new Professional Development Directory will also be on our website from May. We look forward to working with you again.
We have recently published a Research Bulletin called Using the mixed economy of qualifications: an analysis of the impact on attainment.
SQA data over the last few years indicates that schools and colleges are increasingly taking advantage of the availability of National Qualifications and Standard Grades, and are using this 'mixed economy' to offer their students greater choice and flexibility. This bulletin analyses, for 2002-03 and 2003-04, the changing pattern of uptake of Intermediate Courses alongside or as alternatives to Standard Grades, and the subsequent impact on attainment.
If either of these workshops would help with your Continuing Professional Development, please click on the link below for further information and our Registration Form. Alternatively, call our Customer Contact Centre on 0845 279 1000, where someone will be happy to process your booking.
Higher National Communication Servicing Provision Review
We are undertaking a review to:
If you are interested in becoming involved in this project in any way, please contact email@example.com with your note of interest and current CV.