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Co-ordinator Update 31 August 2023

National Qualifications - verification and approvals update

NQ Verification - Evidence Submission Service

The digital evidence submission platform will be available on SQA Connect later this year. This will allow you to upload candidate evidence and supporting documentation for digital verification. You will also be able to confirm whether you will submit digitally or use the physical uplift. We strongly recommend use of the digital evidence submission platform where possible, as this allows more flexibility for centres in submitting evidence within the timescales provided, as well as reducing the environmental impact of a physical submission.

The digital evidence submission platform for round 1 and updated guidance will be available after the release of round 1 selections on SQA Connect in early December. 

NQ Approval 2023–24 – National Courses, Units, Skills for Work, Awards and Baccalaureates

Qualification approval is an important process for both centres and SQA as it ensures that a centre has the staff, reference materials, learning materials, assessment materials, equipment and accommodation needed to deliver, assess and internally verify a qualification. We also need to ensure that conditions of assessment for external assessments are understood and will be met. 

The majority of national courses are auto-approved, but there is a small number that are not which means that centres intending to deliver them for the first time must apply for approval. You can apply for approval  for 2024 certification from now  up to the deadline of Saturday 30 September 2023. 

It is important that the approval process is complete before delivery starts. This is in the best interest of candidates, centres and SQA. Schools have auto-approval for many qualifications but must apply for approval for qualifications that are not auto-approved. Training providers must submit approval applications for all qualifications they intend to deliver for the first time. Colleges can use their devolved authority for approval. You can view a list of the qualifications your centre is approved to deliver on (under Qualifications – Approved Groupings or Approved Units) and in Navigator on SQA Connect.

When approval is given to deliver certain units and courses, the qualifications of both the staff member delivering / assessing and the centre internal verifier are a key factor. Centres must ensure that they have suitably qualified and experienced staff and the required resources in place to deliver qualifications. You must therefore establish a process to review your resources regularly to ensure they remain relevant, current and available in quantities appropriate to the qualification requirements and candidate numbers.

For non-auto approved courses (listed below), if you are unable to provide the same level of staffing, resources, equipment, or accommodation as at the time of approval being granted, then you must not deliver this qualification.

Partnership Working

For partnership working you must act within the initial approval agreement and ensure you are aware of your responsibilities. Each partner must understand their role. The presenting centre must ensure that learners are prepared for their assessment and that all quality assurance processes (including external verification) are met.

Centres are responsible for:

National Qualifications courses/units which are not auto-approved

*Please note that freestanding units which were formerly part of the National Courses marked with an asterisk are also not auto-approved. The requirements for approval to deliver these units are the same as those for the courses (as shown on the subject pages on the website).

Also, please remember that gaining approval for one level does not automatically grant it for all. Details of the requirements for approval are available on our subject specific webpages

As stated above, if there has been a change to staffing, resources, equipment, or accommodation since approval was granted for non-auto approved courses then you cannot deliver this qualification.

Applying for approval

NQ approval forms, covering all types of National Qualifications and including a section on external assessment, are available on SQA Connect under the section ‘Approval for National Qualifications’. There is also a specific application form for the Baccalaureate Inter-disciplinary Project. Please ensure that you are using the current approval form from SQA Connect as this helps us to process applications in a timely manner.

Details of the approval status (auto-approved or not) of all national provision is available in the National Qualification Catalogue

Please remember that we can only guarantee certification in 2024 if applications are received from now until 30 September 2023 at the latest. If you do not seek approval, or are unsuccessful in your approval application, you will not be able to enter and result candidates for the qualification, even if delivery is underway.

If you have any questions or need advice on completing your approval application, please contact your SQA Business Development Account Manager.

Thank you for your co-operation in this important matter.