Where a need for a qualification has been established and the Business Case has been approved by SQA to proceed to development, SQA will assign an SQA Lead Officer to support the lead centre with the development, validation and operationalisation of the qualification. Qualification Portfolio Management (QPM) team monitor and report on progress of the development.

The development stage comprises four phases:

Phase 1 - establishing content, structure and support materials
Phase 2 - developing new/revised Units for a Group Award (if required)
Phase 3 - developing Assessment Support Packs
Phase 4 - developing the Group Award specification

Design Principles

Each qualification type has its own set of design principles. The relevant set of design principles must be adhered to when considering a qualification's structure.

Planning the development

The SQA Lead Officer supporting you through the development will provide you with a partially completed Group Award Specification (304 KB) based on the information provided in the Business Case.


On receipt of the partially completed Group Award specification from the SQA Lead Officer, the person leading the development should:

  • source the project plan template  and use their experience to complete as much of it as possible (the SQA Lead Officer can assist you with this). The project plan should be e-mailed to SQA's Qualification Portfolio Management Team (QPM)
  • book a room in the centre for hosting the validation meeting (plus additional break out room if a full validation event)
  • establish a Qualification Design Team (QDT)

The SQA Lead Officer will:

  • book provisional spaces on the relevant Unit writing training session (if applicable)
  • send an invitation to the SQA Qualification Manager for the subject area to confirm their attendance as the SQA Officer at the validation meeting
  • if a Qualification Partnership Agreement (QPA) is to be set up, the SQA Lead Officer will contact a member of SQA's Regulated Qualifications section of QPM to request assistance with setting up the QPA.
  • identify whether a new verification group and/or additional EVs are needed
  • produce a draft web product overview sheet and send to SQA's Marketing team to begin the process of setting up a subject page on SQA's website for use once the qualification is coded