PDA Tutoring Adult Literacies SCQF level 8

This PDA has been developed to fill a professional development gap between the PDA Introduction to Tutoring in Adult Literacies Learning (ITALL) at SCQF level 6 and the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) (Adult Literacies) at SCQF level 10.

This product is available to any centre.

This subject will not have alternative assessment guidance for session 2023-24. You should refer to the Group Award/Unit specifications for detailed delivery and assessment information. For general support on delivery and assessment see the HNVQ assessment guidance 2023-24.

The general aims of the PDA are to:

  • Furnish adult literacies tutors with practical teaching strategies for use in group settings
  • Develop study and research skills
  • Enable career progression
  • Enable progression within the SCQF
  • Develop skills in the use of technology for educational purposes
  • Provide the opportunity to develop Core Skills and Essential Skills

The specific aims of the PDA are to:

  • Develop knowledge of planning for adult literacies teaching and learning
  • Develop teaching strategies in literacy and numeracy
  • Develop awareness of relevant context and policy in Scotland
  • Improve professional effectiveness in assessment and educational guidance
  • Use technology within learning and teaching contexts
  • Develop group-work skills and confidence
  • Develop the skills required of a reflective practitioner
  • Promote the use of the social practice approach in adult literacies learning

The PDA meets the needs of employers by offering a national qualification in tutoring adult literacies, enabling employers to recognise staff CPD in a more formal way.

Skills for Scotland recognises that the ability to read, write and use numbers underpins everything we do in our everyday lives ¿ at home, at work and in our communities. The Scottish Government is committed to raising the profile of skills in this area and values the difference adult literacy and numeracy support can make to the economic recovery and social cohesion.

Top features and benefits for centre

This new PDA is aimed at tutors who currently work with individual students but who wish to work with groups of adult literacies learners.

It provides a practical teaching qualification between the PDA in ITALL (aimed at volunteers and tutor assistants), and the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) (Adult Literacies) (aimed at professional tutors currently tutoring in the field), so completing a development pathway for adult literacies practitioners.

Top features and benefits for candidate

Raises the profile and confidence of tutors/trainers of adult numeracy and literacy.

It is aimed at tutors of individual students who wish to work with groups of adult literacies learners. It will help tutors to develop practical teaching strategies and skills for use within group settings, and for individuals within group settings. It also develops a broader understanding of relevant contexts and current policy relating to adult literacies in Scotland.

For those working in a voluntary tutor assistant role, this PDA is an appropriate progression from the PDA ITALL at SCQF level 6 (or equivalent). Candidates might progress on to the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) (Adult Literacies) at SCQF level 10.


Access is at the discretion of the centre. However candidates would normally be expected to have achieved the PDA ITALL at SCQF level 6, or equivalent such as 2 years' prior experience as a practitioner in the area of adult literacies. Where centres are unsure about a candidate's level of expertise, buddying, coaching or volunteering may enable a pre-entry route into the PDA.

Candidates should also be able to demonstrate that they are confident and proficient in their own use of literacy and numeracy.

 Specific approval criteria has been set for this qualification.

SQA centres applying for approval to offer the PDA Tutoring Adult Literacies at SCQF Level 8 must:

a) Ensure their assessors and those proposing to deliver the PDA Tutoring Adult Literacies at SCQF Level 8 have a minimum of three years experience of delivery in an adult literacies context as a trainer or practitioner, either within Scotland or elsewhere; and

b) Have current working knowledge of the social practice approach to adult literacies in Scotland ( ie a good working knowledge of SSAL 2009 , ALIS 2020 and The Curriculum Framework);

Guidance on offering PDA TAL (54 KB)

Centres interested in offering this qualification should come forward for approval and contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide (510 KB).

Group Award Code: GD5X 48 (30 SCQF credit points)

The PDA in Tutoring Adult Literacies at SCQF level 8 consists of three mandatory Units with a total of 30 SCQF credit points.

The Scottish Government report, Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland , recommended a national training strategy and a new qualification for specialist literacy and numeracy practitioners.

This was reinforced in the Scottish Government's Adult Literacies in Scotland 2020: Strategic Guidance, which recommended that adult literacies practitioners continually to develop their skills and knowledge; and that employers of literacies workers encourage and enable staff to undertake appropriate professional development opportunities and qualifications.