Centre request for return of external assessment materials

Information for centres

SQA provides a service to return non-examination material submitted to us for assessment.

Although we ask that you encourage candidates to make and retain a copy of their work before it is submitted for assessment, we appreciate that some material is not so easily copied, for example recordings, photographs, illustrations, items of monetary or sentimental value, and some evidence submitted for absentees and marking reviews.

Returnable material

Please see the list of returnable materials. Items not specified on this list will not be returned.

Examination scripts

Exam scripts are exempt from the right of subject access under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and it is SQA's policy not to disclose such materials.

National 5 and Higher English Portfolios: Marked From Image (MFI)

Please note: For National 5 and Higher English Portfolios, which are marked from image (MFI), only a printout of the scanned image of the original portfolio will be supplied.

Arranging returns

Centres, candidates, or a candidate's parent/guardian may request materials to be returned using a Request for Return of External Assessment Material form.

Individual Candidate requests should be made on a specific request form; this can be found on the dedicated Candidate web page. Where both the candidate and centre request the return of materials, the work will be returned to the candidate.

Centres should use this form when making requests:

A separate form must be completed for each subject and level. This allows us to process each request efficiently and apply the appropriate charges. Any incorrect or incomplete requests forms will be returned to the centre.

Charges are calculated per subject and level. 

The closing date for request forms is 25 September 2019. Any requests received after this date will incur an additional late charge. See Late Requests, below.

No materials will be returned before the completion of the Results Services procedure. Dispatch of materials will start in October and continue through to mid-December. All unrequested material will be disposed of at the end of the year. Where a request has not been submitted, packaging and/or folio cases cannot be returned.


Please note, the deadline for requests was 25th September. We will accept late requests until 6th December. Late charges apply, as detailed below:

  • The charge for returning materials is £5.87 per folio. These are calculated per subject and per level. (Note: Students requesting the return of National 5 or Higher Art materials will be charged for one portfolio. The charge covers both design and expressive components.)
  • The charge for returning 3D work is now £11.40 per box.

The return of materials service is exempt from VAT and charged on the basis that we shall recover our costs in full.

We can send invoices to centres if required. If you would prefer to be invoiced, please e-mail your completed request form to return.materials@sqa.org.uk.

If you would prefer to pay by cheque, please print a copy of your completed request form and send it together with your payment for the appropriate amount, made payable to SQA, to:

Events Servicing
24 Wester Shawfair
EH22 1FD

Late requests

The closing date for request forms is 25 September 2019. Any requests received after this date will incur a late charge per candidate, level and subject. A separate late charge will apply to any late Art & Design three-dimensional requests. Late requests will be accepted until 6 December 2019 when the returns procedure ends.

The charges detailed above may not apply to certain pieces of artwork that are three-dimensional. Charges for returning three-dimensional pieces are calculated differently depending on the size and volume of the material. Please contact Event Servicing at return.materials@sqa.org.uk for details of the charges that will apply.

If material comprises both two and three-dimensional artwork, the charges for both two and three-dimensional pieces will apply. In the event of a dispute as to what constitutes either two or three-dimensional artwork, SQA's decision will be final.

Marking reviews/exceptional circumstances

If materials are submitted as part of exceptional circumstances (e.g. a candidate wasn't able to attend the exam), we will not send this material back automatically. If you would like these materials back, you need to follow the guidance on this page and submit an Exceptional Circumstances Evidence Request form.

If a marking review or exceptional circumstances are requested for any returnable materials, we are required to retain this work for 12 months after the final decision is made on grades awarded.

Advanced Higher Art and Design

Art and Design Advanced Higher work is no longer returned automatically to centres upon completion of its assessment in June. Advanced Higher now falls under the Return of External Assessment Materials procedure and will need to be requested using a Request for External Assessment Materials form and the appropriate charges paid.

Design and Expressive materials should be requested on the same form and will be charged as one level – e.g. 2 AH Expressive and 3 AH Design will be 5 candidates on the table of charges.

Collecting items

If you would prefer to collect your requested materials, please indicate where appropriate on your request form(s). We will contact you when the requested materials are ready for collection. Administration charges still apply for uplifted items.

Damaged items

SQA will endeavor to return submissions in their original condition; however we are unable to guarantee this due to the large volumes of work and handling during the marking process. Items are handled and moved on a number of occasions, including site relocation. If it is critical that a candidate’s 3D work remains in its original condition, we recommend that a photograph (or series of photographs) is submitted in its place.

If an item is damaged, either in transit to SQA or during assessment, it will not be returned.

There will be no compensation for any damaged artwork materials.

Care-Experienced Learners

SQA is a proud corporate parent and is committed to improving outcomes for care-experienced young people. We have recently revised our Return of External Assessment Materials process to ensure it’s easier for our learners to make a request and to validate their care status with us. As a result, we are able to offer the return of externally assessed materials to care-experience learners at no cost.

If you have a care-experienced candidate who wants to request materials, please ask them to complete a separate form and send it to us.

Care-experienced Candidate Request for Return of Project and Coursework (40 KB)