Additional support for NPA Cyber Security

I’m pleased to let you know that the Scottish Government has provided funding to develop additional support materials for NPA Cyber Security.

This money will be spent improving the existing materials and, perhaps, devising some new materials. The focus will be on enhancement, rather than creating new materials, but this might mean, for example, creating more practical activities.

I’m not …

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Lorraine Introduction

Hello,

I’m Lorraine McFadyen and have recently joined the Computing team to cover Emma’s post whilst she’s on maternity leave. I previously worked for SQA as a Contract Officer dealing with the Maritime & Coastguard Contract. Whilst I’m not new to SQA, I’ll be familiarising myself with the vocational portfolio over the coming weeks and …

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Changes to HND Computer Science

We commenced the review of HND Computer Science in 2017 to address some of the issues that had been raised since it was first introduced in 2012. The main problem was that many people felt that it wasn’t “computer science-y” enough so we set out to address that issue. Unfortunately, the development took longer than expected — for a number of reasons, the main one being that the QDT wasn’t sure how “computer science-y” to make it. We had lots of conversations about such things as the role of mathematics within the award (should it be mandatory?) and machine code programming and other aspects of computer science. Long story short, the window for change got smaller and eventually closed before we could make fundamental changes to the award.

As you know, we’re currently carrying out the HN Review, which includes this qualification, and it felt wrong to make big changes now and big changes again next year. So, we made the pragmatic decision to pretty much leave the qualification as-is. We did tidy it and removed some of the inappropriate or low uptake optional units and added a bunch of new units such as Machine Learning and Digital Forensics. But the mandatory units are untouched and the award was not recoded.

The only take-away for centres is to make sure that you are aware of these changes and use the new framework (although the original – 2012 – framework will continue until 2021). A new HND Computer Science qualification will be produced as part of …

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Digital Skills Partnership Cyber Security December Events

Bobby previously mentioned the upcoming Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) events for November. DSP are also running Cyber Security events in December for lecturers. These events provide lecturers the opportunity to discuss the HNC Cyber Security framework with colleagues from other colleges, covering; what’s in the framework; sharing resources and expertise to aid delivery and a consideration of what is …

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Welcome to Lorraine

Lorraine joined the team on Monday. Lorraine replaces Emma, who is on maternity leave until next September. We’ve been under strength for a while and that has impacted on developments (and support to centres) so I appreciate your patience if we’ve been slow to respond to you during this period. Once Lorraine finds her feet, we’ll return to service-as-usual.

So, …

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Sector Panel meeting (2018)

The Sector Panel for Computing met on Friday in Glasgow. The Panel is one of the ways that me and my team get feedback from stakeholders. It’s been around for a (very) long time — going back to the 1990’s, when I was a college representative on it. The Sector Panel’s main role is to provide strategic advice to SQA …

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CPD events in cyber security for college lecturers

I previously mentioned that the Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) planned to provide CPD to college lecturers who want to know more about cyber security in general and the new HNC Cyber Security qualification in particular. I’ve now received more information about these events.

14 November at Edinburgh College: Introduction to Cyber Security presented by Bill Buchanan of Napier University and Federico …

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Caitlin Introduction

Hi all,

Firstly I’d like to introduce myself, I’m Caitlin Boyle a recent Business Graduate. I previously completed a Management Graduate Programme within the private sector. As I am new to SQA, I’m on a steep learning curve, it may take me some time to get up to speed. Therefore, I appreciate your cooperation.

I will be working alongside Bobby and Lorraine. Lorraine will be responsible for the non-advanced qualifications.

I am taking over the following Advanced HN Qualifications;
HNC Computing
HND Computer Science
HND Computing: Networking
HND Computing: Software Development
HND Computing: Technical Support
HNC/D Computer Games Development
HNC/D Digital Design & Web Development
HNC/D Cyber Security
Professional Development Awards

I am really looking forward to …

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HND Cyber Security structure

The last time I posted about this development, I pointed out that the next milestone was to come up with a structure for the qualification. The Qualification Development Team met on Friday, in Glasgow, to discuss this.

We produced a draft framework, which incorporates the existing HNC award and also includes new  units, such as Cyber Security Mathematics and Blockchain. We would be pleased to hear your views on the framework so either leave a comment below or add your comments directly to the document.

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NPA Cyber Security support materials

As regular readers will know, we published the teaching and learning materials for NPA Cyber Security in late July. These have been well received in centres. But we’re now starting to receive enquiries from teachers about their use in the classroom, which is not something we can really help with.

However, we have created a Yammer support group for teachers, …

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Tech Partnership closing

The Tech Partnership ceases operations this month. Together with its predecessor organisation – E-Skills UK – it has served as the Sector Skills Council for IT since 2003. Transitional arrangements have been put in place to ensure the smooth transfer of its work to other bodies.A key function previously carried out by The Tech Partnership was its work in Apprenticeships, …

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SQA’s digital team

A few weeks ago, I told you about changes to the Computing portfolio, whereby “digital” qualifications and “computer science” qualifications would be separated and ran by different teams.

Hilary Weir leads the digital team, and recently posted a message on the digital blog about the changes. This post also describes the responsibilities of her new team. These changes will permit …

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Digital Skills Partnership training for HNC Cyber Security

Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) is an initiative from Scotland IS to provide CPD to college and university lecturers. A number of events have been arranged to help college lecturers deliver the new HNC Cyber Security. Each event will cover:

an introduction to cyber security
how cyber security is applied in a real world setting
demonstrations of aspects of cyber security that can be recreated with students in class
discussions on the HNC in Cyber Security which focus on sharing existing learning and expertise in this area and considering how this can be delivered
an update on developments relating to HND Cyber Security.

These events will have input from academia and industry, so they will have a different feel to the events …

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Assessments for Computer Games

The NPA Computer Games Development and NC Computer Games Development qualifications were revised last year to update their contents and streamline their assessments. I’ve received several queries about the availability of assessments for these awards.

The Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) for the NPA are integrated assessments. We are developing one ASP for each level. So there will be a Level 4 ASP, a Level 5 ASP and a Level 6 ASP. The Level 6 ASP is available now (on SQA Secure). The Level 5 ASP is almost ready for publication and the Level 4 …

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SQA committees

As part of the induction for the new staff members, I’ve been discussing the various committees that help the team do our jobs.

The Sector Panel consists of employers, educationalists, professional bodies and special interest groups, who provide strategic direction to the team about the sorts of qualifications that we should develop.

The Qualifications Support Team (QST) consists of practising lecturers and teachers, who advise us about the sorts of support materials that are needed and help us to maintain existing qualifications.

Qualification Development Teams (QDTs) are used to create new qualifications. These teams consist of teachers, lecturers, employers and others, who help us produce new awards. These teams come and go, depending on what is being developed at any point in time.

The team of External Verifiers consists of practising teachers and …

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New team responsibilities

I recently posted about imminent team changes. This is Emma’s last day, before she stop for maternity leave. Emma will return in Autumn next year.

I’ve updated the team organisation chart so that you know who is responsible for what. We’ve went back to a simple division of work. Lorraine will take responsibility for non-advanced qualifications (such as NPAs, National …

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HND Cyber Security update

I recently announced the development of HND Cyber Security and, since then, we’ve made some progress. We’ve started writing the Group Award Specification (GAS), which details the aim and structure of the qualification among other things, and selected a Lead Developer.

We met with the Lead today. This initial meeting with the Lead Developer is an important part of the qualification development process since it sets the scene for the entire development. His first task is to talk to stakeholders about what they would like included in the qualification. He will carry out this qualitative research over the next few weeks so, if you’re approached for your views, I would appreciate your co-operation.

The priority, at this time, is to come up with a draft …

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Staff changes

As regular readers will know, Claudia recently left the team to commence teacher training. Claudia was covering for Helen during her maternity leave. Claudia’s replacement commences today and will be with the team until Helen returns next Spring. Caitlin is a recent graduate who was working in the private sector before starting with SQA.

Emma stops on Friday (7th) to …

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Data Science update

The NPA Data Science is progressing well. Since my last post about it, we’ve selected a Lead Developer (a well known and experienced teacher currently working with the Edinburgh City Region Deal project) and produced the aims of the qualification. We met with the Lead on Friday to discuss the qualification development process and the next tasks that have to be carried out.

Readers of this blog will know that we plan to develop a suite of awards in data science. The National Progression Award in Data Science will be available at SCQF Levels 4, 5 and 6. The Lead Developer’s first task is to carry out some qualitative research into what the qualification will look like. We’ve developed a lot of NPAs over the years, spanning PC Passport to NPA Cyber Security, so we’re familiar with what appears to “work” in centres. But every development is different and we’re open to suggestions about the “shape” of this new qualification.

So, if you’re approached by the Lead Developer to answer some questions about what the award should look like, I’d appreciate your co-operation. The Lead will be talking to a range of people – including school teachers, college lecturers, university staff and employers.

This research will be carried out over the next few weeks and we hope to have an agreed structure for the new qualification by mid-October, which would let us get down to writing the component units. In the meantime, please contact Emma if you want to know more about this development. The qualification will …

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Freeze on changes to HN Computing awards

Some time ago, I reminded you about the procedure for making small changes to existing qualifications, such as adding a unit to the options.Because we have commenced the HN Review, we will no longer “tweak” the qualifications involved in that development.

The review is a root-and-branch look at the suite of awards so it’s not appropriate to continue to …

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