Team responsibilities

I’ve now divided divided responsibilities between Claudia and Emma, and updated the organisation chart for the team. You can download it here. It’s worth downloading and printing so that you know who to contact about each qualification.

The division of work isn’t as clean as it was before Helen left since it’s not a simple advanced/non-advanced split. There’s a …

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Hello, I’m Claudia Lambie and have recently joined the Computing team to cover Helen’s post whilst she’s on maternity leave. I previously worked for SQA as a Qualifications Officer for school-based National Qualifications. Whilst I’m not new to SQA, I’ll be familiarising myself with the vocational portfolio over the coming weeks.

I will work alongside …

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Welcome to Claudia

I recently mentioned an imminent change to the team. Claudia has now joined the team. She will cover for Helen while Helen is on maternity leave. Helen finishes today and returns next Spring.

Claudia effectively takes over the non-advanced portfolio (National Units, NPAs and NCs) and SVQ/CBQs, and Emma takes over the advanced portfolio (HN Units, PDAs and HNC/ …

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Team changes

As many of you will know, Helen is expecting a baby soon. She stops for maternity leave next Tuesday and returns next Spring (2019).

Claudia Lambie will join the team from Monday. Claudia has previously worked for SQA (as a Qualifications Officer) so although the portfolio will be new to her, SQA won’t be, which will be a big help. Claudia’s …

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NC Computer Games Development – Validation event

The review of the NC Computer Games Development is almost complete. We are planning to host a validation event for this award on Friday, 4th May 2018.

More information about this development can be found via the FAQ and a recent update on the Computing blog.

We are now seeking volunteers to join the validation panel.

If you are interested or …

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NC/NPA Computer Games Development – Update

Last month I provided an update regarding the progress of the NC/NPA Computer Games Development review. The NPA units have now been coded and are ready to be published. Once they are published, I will write an update on the blog with the new codes and links to the unit specifications.

However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the writing of the Group Award Specification has been slightly delayed and, therefore, the award cannot yet be validated. Given that there are no changes to the structure of the NPA, the group award validation will be carried out by an SQA Officer.

In the NC camp, most of the units have been validated and coded. We are now in the process of operationalising the last two units (two new Computer Games: Mathematics units) before publishing all of the units. As stated in my earlier update, the structure of the NC has changed and the two NCs at Level 6 (ie NC Computer Games: Creative Development and Computer Games: Software Development) have been merged into one NC at SCQF level 6.

The NC Group Award Specification is progressing well. Due to the changes to the structure, the NC will require validation by a panel. We are planning on holding a validation event for this award on 4th, May 2018.

We are currently seeking volunteers for …

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NPA Cyber Security Learning and Teaching materials – Pilot

After much work and effort from the team, today I sent out to centres some of the learning and teaching materials that we are currently developing to aid the delivery of these awards in centres. The materials provided today comprised a copy of the Learners’ Notes and Worksheets. They have been made available at this time, in order to assist centres that are currently delivering the award.The documents are still in ‘draft’ and, therefore, may contain some minor errors or omissions. However, we hope that centres will find them useful and are encouraged to come forward for the pilot.

The pilot will run from mid-April to end May. Pilot centres will be required to provide feedback on all of the documents provided, which will include (in addition to the above) a Guide for Educators, Practical tasks, Formative questions, a Glossary and a link to a Cyber Security YouTube channel. Feedback will most likely be gathered via a questionnaire provided by SQA, although any comments or suggestions from centres will be welcomed.

Once the pilot is completed, final changes will be made to the documents based on the feedback provided. The ‘official’ published version of the materials will be made available to …

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New Yammer group for schools

I recently created a Yammer group for school teachers who are interested in vocational qualifications in Computing, such as the NPA Cyber Security and NPA Computer Games Development. Vocational qualifications are growing in Scottish schools (there are currently over 600 pupils doing the Cyber Security award) but many teachers aren’t sure where to get help.

The purpose of the group is to provide SQA- and peer-support to teachers so that they can get advice about a range of issues relating to vocational qualifications. The group is part of the SQA Computing network on Yammer so, if you’re not already a member of that network, you will have …

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New CBQ diplomas

We currently offer three diplomas (CBQs) called Diploma in IT & Telecommunication Professionals, at SCQF Levels 5, 6 and 8. The Tech Partnership is currently revising the associated National Occupation Standards (NOS) and crediting and levelling these standards (on SCQF). Once this work is complete, SQA will be in a position to develop new qualifications based on the new NOS.

The existing qualifications will be replaced by three new awards:

IT Solutions Development (SCQF 6/8)
IT Infrastructure (SCQF 6/8)
Telecommunications Engineering (SCQF 6/8).

These will replace the current qualifications. I can’t give a precise date for when this work will be complete but it will be done before next July (when the current awards lapse). The new qualifications …

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Updating qualification portfolio

I updated the qualification diagram today. You can see it here. I made the following changes to the previous version.

HNC/D Technologies in Business is now available
PDA Cyber Security is now being developed
NPA Mobile Technology (SCQF Level 6) is removed
NPA Digital Media (SCQF Levels 4 and 5) is now available
NPA Web Design (SCQF Level 5) is now available.

As …

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Technology Industry Advisory Board

The Technology Industry Advisory Board (TIAB) is a Scottish Government/SQA committee that looks at the best ways for education to meet the needs of industry. Members are drawn from organisations across Scotland. I attended a meeting today to discuss the qualification development process.The Board wanted to know if there was anything it could do to improve the process.

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ASP writers needed- NPA Computer Games Development

We have now finalised the review of the units of the NPA Computer Games Development. We are now, therefore, looking for writers to undertake the task of writing the ASPs for these units.

We are aiming to develop three ASPs. We would like the ASPs to have an integrated approach, whereby each ASP would cover all units at one level ( …

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HNC Cyber Security update

It’s been a while since we updated you about the new cyber security qualifications. As many of you will know, we’re developing a suite of new qualifications over the next three years: HNC Cyber Security, HND Cyber Security and PDA Cyber Security.

We’re currently working on the HNC qualification. It’s coming along well. The Qualification Development Team (and some others) …

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Refreshed HND Computer Science

I recently posted an update about the revision of HND Computer Science. Since then the QDT has finalised the framework. The main change to the qualification is that Managing a Web Server has been replaced by Computer Architecture in the mandatory section of the award. We’ve also tidied the optional units to make them more relevant to the field of …

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NPA/NC Computer Games Development review – Update

The review of the NPA Computer Games Development is progressing well. The units have all been written and validated. The next stage is house styling and operationalising the units. This should be done within the next few weeks. All revised units should be available for delivery by end March.

No changes have been made to the titles of the units. …

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HNC/D Technologies in Business is now live

The HNC/D Information Technology (2006) review is now completed. The HN IT will be replaced by GN5N 15 HNC Technologies in Business and GN5P 16 HND Technologies in Business and finish in 2021 (HNC)/2022 (HND).

The following units have been developed and are now available on the SQA website:

HT9F 35 Database Server Administration / HT9G 34 Network Security Concepts / HT9H 34  …

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New CPD events for lecturers

I’ve previously mentioned the Digital Skills Partnership (DSP), which provides free CPD to college and university lecturers in areas of emerging technology.

The DSP is offering more (free) training this Spring. It will cover two topics: user experience (UX) and secure software. The events will take place throughout March in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.

I attended one of the previous events (on data science) and enjoyed it a great deal, so I can highly recommend the …

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Computing Conference

The annual Computing Conference took place on Friday at the Radisson Hotel in Glasgow. There was a good turnout, with over 50 people in attendance. I was pleased to see so many teachers find time to attend, perhaps reflecting the growing importance of vocational Computing awards in Scottish schools.

The event was a mix of information, updates and keynotes. They keynotes …

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Support materials for NPA Cyber Security

The development team for this project met on Saturday. It’s been a while since I updated you on how things are going, so this seems like a good time to do that.

We’re developing a range of teaching and learning material including:

Teacher’s Guide
Learners’ Notes
practical activities (linked to Learners’ Notes)
Formative assessments
YouTube channel
List of resources.

The Teachers’ Guide will help new (and existing) teachers prepare for, and deliver, the NPAs — including advice about what you need to get started, what software you will require and how best to teach the awards. The Learners’ Notes will be self-contained notes on all of the topics within the units. Three sets of notes will be produced – one for each strand in the award (Data Security, Digital Forensics and Ethical Hacking). Each set of notes will be multi-level (covering Levels 4, 5 and 6) but each level will be clearly designated in the notes. This will permit learners to “read on” if they wish.The notes will also link to formative questions on each topic to permit learners to consolidate their learning before moving on to the next topic.

The material is coming along well. Complete draft versions of the Learners’ Notes are almost ready, as is the …

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CyberFirst Girls Competition is back for 2018

CyberFirst is a key part of the UK government’s National Cyber Security Programme. It covers a broad range of activities, which includes a girls only competition. Young girls and women don’t often consider a career in cyber security, which means that industry is missing out on a lot of young talented people. This competition is a great start to …

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