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Connecting With SQA - SQA's Monthly E-zine.

14 March 2008
Issue 25


Innovative Teachers - Have you visited the Virtual Classroom Tour site yet?

IMAGE: Virtual Classroom Tours

The Innovative Teacher Virtual Classroom Tour (VCT) resources have been attracting significant interest and some very positive feedback from teachers. There are over 60 VCT’s available to download FREE and we welcome contributions from teachers.

Users have been asked to provide feedback on the resources and in February Govan High School was awarded a £200 prize. This was shared between teachers: Susan McAuley, Andy Masterson, V McMahon, Ian McCracken and Murdo MacDonald. Congratulations to them all.

Visit the site with your feedback and you could win a prize in March, April, May or June.

Curriculum for Excellence

LOGO: Curriculum for Excellence

We have recently updated our Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) webpages. These now include:

Pages will be updated regularly.  Please contact John Allan on 0845 2135 5545, or Karen Watson on 0845 213 5525 for further information.

Take a look.

Scottish Schools - are you innovative in the use of ICT?

The Becta ICT Excellence Awards aims to identify and reward schools throughout the UK who approach ICT in outstanding or innovative ways, benefiting their whole community both inside and outside the school building.

The awards recognise whole-school best practice, and while they reward the school as a whole, there is a focus on those individuals leading change in the school and making an impact across it.

This year there will be eight national awards, across five categories, with winners receiving a cash prize to spend on ICT equipment, provision or training. Primary and Secondary schools can enter the following categories:

The Best Whole School award will be judged and awarded regionally, with categories for early years, primary, secondary schools, with one national winner to be announced at the ceremony

The Support for Schools category will reward those organisations supporting schools in their use of ICT.

The final deadline for entries is Wednesday 30 April 2008. Schools and organisations that are short listed for an ICT Excellence Award will be visited by judges and winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in November.

For more information about the Becta ICT Excellence Awards.

Skills for Work Uniform and Emergency Services Launch

GRAPHIC: Skills for Work roadsign.
We are introducing a new course at Intermediate Level 1 which contains four Units all set in the context of working in the uniformed and emergency services. The course will include:

Skills for Work will launch the course at an event on Thursday 24 April in Glasgow.

The day will focus on:

Centres will be sent an invitation and we would ask you to complete and return these to our Corporate Events Team by Friday 28 March. Centres are  invited to nominate one member of staff to attend.

Please get in touch with Keith Wright on 0845 213 5501 if you require any further information.

For detailed information about the new qualification.

HN Professional Cookery Graded Unit

ChefWe have recently updated the Professional Cookery: Graded Unit 1 Assessment Exemplar. We are pleased to advise that this is now in the final stages of production and is available to download from the secure area of our website.

We understand that some centres have been unable to wait for the updated version, so for this session you can use either the old or the new version.

External Verifiers are aware of this situation and will bear it in mind when arranging visits to centres selected for verification.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Carol Mc Evoy on 0845 213 5462

Go to secure site.

2008 Submission of Estimates - Reminder

The deadlines for submission of estimates/assessments are as follows:

Paper forms
Thursday 27 March 2008 – Standard Grade
Friday 11 April 2008 – National Courses

Thursday 24 April 2008

Every effort should be made to meet these dates, although we appreciate that in certain circumstances this may be problematic. We can reassure you that we will endeavour to cater for such cases and will continue to accept estimates electronically until Saturday 31 May.  However, the bulk of your estimates should be submitted to us by the published dates.  This allows us to make best use of all resources and deal appropriately with the truly exceptional cases.

After Saturday 31 May, no electronic submissions will be processed.  However, in an event that a submission has to be made, it must be done on paper and accompanied by a letter from the Head of Centre, explaining the extenuating circumstances. 

Thank you for your support and best wishes for the forthcoming diet of examinations.

Scottish Learning Festival Makes Scotland Smarter

LOGO: Scottish Learning Festival 2008 logoFiona Hyslop says the Scottish Learning Festival is crucial to ensuring educationalists are at the cutting edge of their profession.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning believes the event is an opportunity for everyone involved in education to develop their skills, swap ideas and learn from the best.
Fiona Hyslop attended her first Scottish Learning Festival last year alongside Minister for Schools and Skills, Maureen Watt and Minister for Children and Early Years, Adam Ingram.
All three hope to attend this year’s event (24 - 25 September at the SECC, Glasgow), which promises to be better than ever.PHOTO: Scottish Learning Festival 2007

Fiona said:  “I gained much from my attendance at the event last September and was impressed by the enthusiasm for learning that was on display.”

Find out more.

NQ Cantonese and Mandarin - Intermediate 1 and 2 - Launch Event

POSTER: Qualifications in Chinese
We will be hosting a launch event to present new NQ Units and Courses in Cantonese and Mandarin. This event will offer an opportunity for teachers, lecturers and the wider community to familiarise themselves with the Units and Courses at Intermediate 1 and 2 levels.  The Units and Courses will be introduced in session 2008-09, with first certification in 2009.  They will be available in both Mandarin-Simplified and Mandarin-Traditional.

Date:    Thursday 8 May 2008
Venue: Edinburgh
Time:   9.30am – 3.30pm approx
Cost:   Free

The event will include a variety of presentations and workshop sessions and will provide the opportunity for delegates to:

We'll send letters of invitation and booking forms will be sent to centres at the end of March.  Details and booking forms will also be available at the end of March on the NQ Cantonese and Mandarin pages of our website.

If you have any enquiries about these new Units and Courses in the meantime, please contact: Jim McDonald, Qualifications Manager on 0845 213 5515

Find out more.

Modern Languages for Work Purposes - Launch Event

We will be hosting a launch event for our new free-standing Access 3 and Intermediate 1 Units:  Modern Languages for Work Purposes.  LOGO: Modern Languages for Work Purposes

These Units, due to be introduced in session 2008/09, can be used to integrate the study and use of modern foreign languages into a vocational setting, or can be delivered as stand-alone Units.  They can promote horizontal progression across two or more languages at the same level, or vertical progression through the levels.  The Units will be offered in Cantonese, French, Gaelic (Learners), German, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Urdu.  Intermediate 2 and Higher Units will be available in 2009.

Date:    Thursday 1 May 2008
Venue: Glasgow
Time:   10.00am – 3.30pm approx
Cost:    Free

The event will include presentations and workshop sessions and will provide the opportunity for delegates to:

We'll send letters of invitation and booking forms will be sent to centres at the end of March.  Details and booking forms will also be available at the end of March on the NQ Modern Languages pages of our website. 

If you have any enquiries about these new Units, please contact Jim McDonald, Qualifications Manager on 0845 213 5515

2008 Star Awards........who are your stars?

LOGO: star awards
After our very successful inaugural star awards last year, we are delighted to announce that the 2008 event will be held on the evening of Friday 10 October 2008 in Glasgow. The ceremony will be hosted once again by Kaye Adams.

The star awards are a unique way to celebrate the success, triumph, achievement and recognition of the best in Scottish education and training. We will shortly be inviting start thinking now about nominating your stars.

We will let you all know when the nomination process begins and details of the award categories, guidance on nominating, the awards timetable and nomination forms will be available on our website.


Do you have a group of talented students who are keen to perform? We want to hear from you.

Our star awards are a truly glittering and unforgettable occasion that celebrate the success, triumph, achievement and recognition of the best in Scottish education and training. Each year, we have a selection of performances through the evening that help to make it all the more special. Last year we were entertained by two dance groups and a traditional band.

We are looking for entertainment acts for this year's ceremony, which will take place on the evening of Friday 10 October in Glasgow.

If you are interested in auditioning for us, please e-mail our Events Team.

See the 2007 winners.

Estimates and Assessment Appeals

As part of our commitment to working with teachers, lecturers and partners to enhance the understanding of standards, we recently hosted events for key teaching staff.IMAGE: EAA web page

These events provided the opportunity for staff involved in teaching National Courses eg Depute Headteachers or Principal Teachers to consider:

We have also hosted events for key staff involved in teaching Higher English.

These provided opportunities to:

The events were very well received by all who attended. Comments included:

'Good insight into difficulties faced by those assessing appeals.'

'Excellent - now have a much clearer idea of what constitutes evidence.......lots to think about and act on.'

Access the Guide.

Catalogue of National Qualifications (NQ)

In line with our commitment to improving the service and information we provide to customers and stakeholders and our commitment to reducing the impact of our operations on the environment, we have decided to improve the way we publish the NQ Catalogue information on our website. It means that you will be able to search for and find information more easily. We will be updating this information regularly, so that you will be able to access the most up-to-date information on National Qualifications in a single location, at any time.  We have used this method of publishing information for Higher National Qualifications for several years and feedback shows high levels of customer satisfaction.  Information about National Qualifications will include listings of:

We'll no longer publish paper copies of the NQ Catalogue - they are quickly outdated with new and revised qualifications being made available during the year.  We plan to launch this new online version of the NQ Catalogue in April.

We are also working on a more user-friendly version of Conditions and Arrangements for National Qualifications.  Again it will be web-based and not published on paper, and will allow you to easily select information to suit your needs.  We plan to launch this before the end of the summer term.

NQ Personal and Social Education

All centres should by now have received their Folios for Personal and Social Education and also Personal Statements. If your centre is offering Personal and Social Education and hasn't received the Folios and Personal Statements please contact Tahir Mohammed, Qualifications Officer on 0845 213 5499.

Enquiries concerning copies of National Assessment Bank (NAB) materials and other publications should be directed to the Customer Contact Centre on 0845 279 1000.

Assessment Arrangements Request System

We'd like to thank those of you who have already submitted your requests for assessment arrangements for the 2008 diet of examinations. However, if you have not already done so, please submit your requests as soon as possible in order to allow  us time to process them and to make the appropriate arrangements. In particular, details of any further requests for adapted question papers and digital question papers must now be provided as a matter of urgency as the deadline date for the submission of these requests was 31 January 2008.

The Assessment Arrangements Request (AAR) system was set up for the 2007 diet to allow you to submit requests electronically. We've enhanced the system in light of your comments and feedback, and we hope that you have found the system improved and easier to use.

To assist in determining any required future developments, we would appreciate it if someone from your centre (ideally the person who normally uses the AAR system) could take a few minutes to tell us about their experience of using AAR for the 2008 diet by completing this online questionnaire. 

We value your contribution and thank you in advance for your feedback. Please note the closing date for questionnaires is Friday 21 March 2008.

If you have any queries or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Assessment Arrangements team 0131-561 6890.

Complete the online questionnaire.

Sport4Life Business Enterprise Game Prize Winners

The highly successful Sport4Life Business Enterprise game was recently a short-listed finalist for a prestigious BETT award. The awards, which are made by a partnership between Emap Education, Becta and the British Educational Suppliers Association, reward vibrant products that support innovation and personalise learning. is a business game based on how to successfully run a 'virtual' sports store and aims to teach business and enterprise skills. It is a unique partnership between SQA and Microsoft. Over 22,000 pupils have already signed up for this exciting game, and an amazing 82,000 games have been played since last May. We run regular competitions, and prizes are awarded in a number of categories including the top Male and Female scores over the period.

In December we awarded a total of 19 prizes. 
Winners from Falkirk High School

Winners from Falkirk High School were:

  • Kayleigh Anderson who won £200 in gift vouchers
  • Jenna Stuart and John Graham who won Sport4Life bags. 

From Notre Dame High School there were four prize winners:

  • Jamie Fleming won £200 in gift vouchers
  • Stephen Mullen won £100 in gift vouchers
  • Craig Hughes won a signed Celtic football shirt 
  • Martin Gribben won a Sport4life bag.
Winners from Notre Dame High School

Other prizes were awarded to pupils from:

  • Denny High School
  • Douglas Ewart High School
  • Kyle Academy
  • Grangemouth High School
  • St Aidan’s High School
  • Harris Academy
  • Queen Anne High School
  • Bell Baxter High School
  • Boroughmuir High School
  • Gourock High School


Drummond Community High school, who won the school prize of £200 of gift vouchers for the school, will also be at a Scottish Parliamentary reception at Holyrood on Wednesday 23 April.

Find out more about the BETT Awards.