Replacement of SQA

The Education (Scotland) Bill, published on June 5, 2024, establishes a new qualifications body, Qualifications Scotland. Qualifications Scotland will replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and will assume the responsibilities and functions of SQA. This change is part of a wide-ranging programme of reform within Scottish education.

New qualifications body – Qualifications Scotland


Qualifications Scotland is being created to better align with the needs and expectations of young people, adult learners, educators, and other stakeholders. The new body aims to foster a culture that prioritises these groups in its operations and decision-making processes.

The structural governance arrangements will ensure a greater emphasis on the views and needs of these stakeholders.

Governance structure

Qualifications Scotland will feature a robust governance structure embedded in legislation. This includes:

  • A Board of Management consisting of a Chair, Chief Executive, and 10 other members - Seven members will have specific roles or experience, such as currently practising teachers and college lecturers
  • New committees dedicated to learners and teachers
  • An Accreditation Committee, independently appointed and governed, and separate from the main awarding functions
  • A Strategic Advisory Council to advise on functions across education, skills, and the economic system


  • Qualifications Scotland will deliver and assess qualifications.
  • Qualifications Scotland will work with the learner and teacher communities to develop charters. It will be held accountable to the commitments within those charters.

Support for SQA Staff

The Scottish Government thanked SQA staff for the professionalism and contributions during the transition.

Transition process

The Bill is currently going through parliamentary process, and may be amended. Qualifications Scotland is expected to become operational by Autumn 2025.

Transition Board

A new Transition Board has been set up to oversee activities relating to the creation of the new qualifications body.

It is co-chaired by SQA Chair Shirley Rogers and the Scottish Government’s Education Reform Director Clare Hicks. Members are drawn from the Scottish Government, SQA, and partner organisations.

It will cover important activities such as

  • the transfer of colleagues to the new body
  • a new brand and identity
  • digital and organisational infrastructures.

The members of the Transition Board are:

  • Shirley Rogers, SQA Board Chair (Transition Board Co-Chair)
  • Clare Hicks, Scottish Government Director for Education Reform (Transition Board Co- Chair)
  • Fiona Robertson, SQA Chief Executive
  • Ken Thomson, SQA Board Member
  • Seán Hagney, SQA Board Member
  • Laurence Findlay, ADES (Aberdeenshire Council)
  • Jon Reid, SLS/ADES, (Falkirk Council)
  • Shona Struthers, Colleges Scotland
  • Andy Harvey, EIS
  • Euan Duncan, Scottish Secondary Teachers Association
  • Kirsty Ayed, School Leaders Scotland
  • Stuart McKenna, Scottish Training Federation
  • Isabel Nisbet, Independent Adviser
  • Allan Lindsay/Reid Aiton, Young Scot
  • Claire McPherson, Universities Scotland
  • Pauline Radcliffe, SCQFP
  • CBI representative
  • Unite Representative
  • Unison Representative 

Further information

The Scottish Government has announced that as part of wider education reform, SQA is to be replaced by a new qualifications body.

This new organisation will take on SQA’s current awarding functions, including responsibility for the design and delivery of all qualifications, the running of exams and the awarding of certificates. SQA’s commercial activities and international work will also be included in the remit of this new organisation.

The new organisation will also take on SQA's current accreditation and regulation functions.

SQA’s priority remains ensuring the safe delivery of qualifications, ensuring that learners get the results they have worked hard for, enabling them to progress to further study or employment.

The indicative timetable for the creation of the new qualifications body is after the completion of exams in 2025 though further detailed planning is required.

Until the new body is in existence, SQA is committed to continued delivery of high-quality, credible qualifications to our many valued customers.

The indicative timetable for the creation of the new qualifications body is after the completion of exams in 2025 though further detailed planning is required.



Do you have a question about what this means to you or your business?

Get in touch