Higher National units Adult Literacies

The Higher National (HN) units in Adult Literacies have been designed to raise the profile and value of numeracy learning among learners, tutors, managers and policy makers, and to build confidence and competence in supporting numeracy learning. These HN units are set at SCQF level 8 and fill a gap in the existing professional development framework (above ITALL, before TQAL).

The Scottish Government is committed to raising the profile of adult literacies and to increasing skills. The government values the difference that adult literacy and numeracy support can make to economic recovery and social cohesion.

The HN units can be delivered as stand-alone Units or alongside each other. They are also suitable for open and distance learning. The qualifications are nationally certificated, credit rated and recognised.

These units have been designed for candidates who are already working in the field of adult literacies.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. However, candidates would normally be expected to have gained a qualification in ITALL or have at least two years prior experience as a practitioner in the area of adult literacies.


These HN units are an appropriate progression from the Professional Development Award in ITALL (or equivalent) for candidates working in a voluntary tutor assistant role. They are ideal preparation towards a role working with groups.

Candidates might progress onto the Adult Literacies teaching qualification - a higher education course at SCQF level 10 currently offered by the Universities of Aberdeen and Strathclyde.

Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval through their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance in completing the combined CA1/SA1 form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements as outlined in the guide to approval.

The Contexts of Adult Literacies in Scotland unit is assessed by case studies, assignments and a mapping exercise prepared by the candidate.

The Tutoring Numeracy in Adult Literacies unit is assessed by oral or written accounts, a reflective diary, evaluative report, course proposal and an observed practice session including lesson plans, records, individual learning plans, and copies or resources used.

In both cases, the candidate can complete these during their study for the qualification as and when they are ready to do so. Assessment may be completed in the time set aside from work or in the candidate's own time.

The units can be assessed together or separately.

Contexts of Adult Literacies in Scotland

Unit code: F8N8 35 (12 SCQF credit points)
SCQF level: 8

This unit enables candidates to understand the context and theory in relation to adult literacies tutoring practice in general. It is designed to increase the candidate's knowledge of the national and local policies, principles and priorities and their impact on adult literacies provision and practice.

Tutoring Numeracy in Adult Literacies

Unit code: F8N7 35 (12 SCQF credit points)
SCQF level: 8            

This unit enables candidates to develop the skills and knowledge required to plan, prepare, deliver, and assess numeracy teaching and learning, so they can use a variety of approaches to empower, motivate and support learners. This involves taking account of the prior knowledge and skills of the learner; their possible previous negative experiences of numeracy; learning activities; teaching and assessment strategies; and available resources.

Any other information

SQA has developed an online question bank for the Units which is available on SOLAR.

Resource packs are available for both Units on SQA Academy. 

A growing bank of Scottish-based learning and teaching resources, training materials and useful research and reports can be found at: http://www.aloscotland.com/alo/44.html.