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Co-ordinator Update 29 February 2024

Approvals update 2024-25

Qualification approval is an important process for both centres and SQA. 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. This means that centres intending to deliver them for the first time must apply for approval. You can submit approval applications for 2025 certification at any point up to the deadline of Monday 30 September 2024

It is important that the approval process is complete before delivery of a course starts.

Securing approval 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 granted to deliver certain units and courses, the qualifications of both the staff member delivering/assessing and the centre internal verifier are key. Centres must ensure that they have suitably qualified and experienced staff and that the required resources are in place to deliver the qualification. 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.

From any time after approval is granted, if you are unable to provide the same level of staffing, resources, equipment, or accommodation for courses that are not auto-approved (listed under Partnership Working section), 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 that 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 our 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 Interdisciplinary Project.

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 2025 if applications are received by Monday 30 September 2024 at the latest. If you don’t seek approval, or are unsuccessful in your approval application, you won’t be able to enter and result candidates for the qualification, even if delivery is underway.

If you’ve 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.