Consultants needed for qualification scoping

Before we start a formal qualification review, we will carry out a scoping exercise to identify changes needed for an existing qualification. We have currently identified three qualifications due to review and are looking for consultants to undertake scoping for the following: G9J8 45 NPA Computer Networks and Systems G8L5 48 PDA Network Technology G9HL 44 NPA Software Development We have created a scoping FAQ to help you understand this process. If you are interested or have any query, please…

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Training events for teachers of NPA Cyber Security

Every school and college in Scotland should have received a complimentary copy of the enhanced support materials for NPA Cyber Security by now. The next stage is to provide training on how to use the materials. We plan to hold three training events at different locations across Scotland. These events will take place on the following dates: Wednesday, 5 February (Stirling) Friday, 21 February (Glasgow) Friday, 28 February (Edinburgh). The first event will be part of the forthcoming 2020 Computing…

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HNC Cyber Security support materials

The Digital Skills Partnership has developed the learning materials to support the Digital Forensics and Data Security SCQF level 7 units within the HNC Cyber Security, in collaboration with college lecturers from City of Glasgow College, Dundee and Angus College, New College Lanarkshire and North East Scotland College. The materials are hosted on the college Moodle platform. More information about this development can be found on the Digital Skills Partnership website. The materials will also be helpful for the HND…

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HN review update

It’s been a while since I last updated you about our plans to review a number of core Higher National awards. The qualifications due for review are: HNC Computing HND Computer Science HND Networking HND Technical Support HND Software Development. We carried out “scoping” of the required changes and it was agreed that HND Technical Support and HND Networking would be rolled-up into a new, single award entitled HND Networking & Infrastructure to reflect changes in industry. More recently, we…

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Upgraded materials for NPA Cyber Security are coming

I’m pleased to let you know that the enhanced materials for NPA Cyber Security are on their way to schools and colleges. Every school and college in Scotland will receive a complete set of nine brochures that cover the contents of the NPA and provide advice to teachers about how best to deliver the qualification. The complete list of brochures is: Educator’s Guide (x1) Learner’s Guides (x3 one each for Data Security, Digital Forensics and Ethical Hacking) Worksheets (x3 one…

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Sector Panel meeting

The Sector Panel for Computing had its annual meeting yesterday at the Doubletree Hotel in Glasgow. The purpose of the panel is to provide strategic advice and guidance to the team to ensure that the qualification portfolio meets the needs of educators and employers. The membership of the panel reflects that objective with people from schools, colleges, universities, businesses and national organisations serving on the committee. It was a good meeting. We discussed a wide range of topics — including…

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Qualification portfolio update

I’ve updated the portfolio diagram with a couple of recent changes, the main one being the development of PDA Data Science, which I recently announced. You can download the diagram here. I know that many schools and colleges plan their curriculums around this time of the year, so I’d like to highlight some things that might interest you. NPA Cyber Security is a few years old but it’s growing exponentially (particularly in schools). So, if you don’t already deliver this…

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NPA Cyber Security support materials update

It’s been a while since I last updated you on the new materials to support NPA Cyber Security. Firstly, my apologies for the delay. I hoped to have them ready for the new term. The delay has been caused by a number of factors. The good news is that the materials are complete and ready to publish. The enhanced materials not only look (a lot) better than the original materials but we’ve also plugged some of the gaps in the…

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Cyber Security Graded Unit 2 ASPs

Two Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) for this graded unit are under development and will be made available early 2020. Since HND Cyber Security is a multi-disciplinary qualification covering a wide range of topic areas, a thematic approach to course delivery was recommended in the HND Group Award Specification. The unit specification for this graded unit has been written very openly due to the same reason, therefore, we have decided to apply the same (thematic) approach to the assessment development. One…

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Professional Development Awards in Data Science

I’m pleased to let you know that we’re about to commence the development of a new suite of Professional Development Awards (PDAs) in Data Science.  The new awards will be available at SCQF Levels 7, 8 and 9. This development follows the successful introduction of the new National Progression Awards in Data Science, which has attracted a lot of interest from schools and colleges. At the end of the development, there will be national qualifications in data science available at…

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Digital Skills Partnership’s CPD events

The Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) will be running the following events in November and December 2019: 1. Industry Current Practice on Cloud Architecture and Cloud Services: take place at 1-5pm on 6/11 at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. will be repeated with a different speaker at 1-5pm on 13/11 at Inoapps, 2 Fountainhall Road, Aberdeen, AB15 4DT. include presentations from Pulsant (in Glasgow) and Inoapps (in Aberdeen) on current practice they are implementing in this area; include presentations illustrating how our…

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Cyber Escape Room Challenge

If Cyber Resilience is up your street, then the College Development Network has the thing for you. They are organising three days of Cyber Escape Rooms this month. They are aimed at college staff initially, but they have now opened it up to staff/students too. The Cyber Escape rooms will be held at Strathclyde University as follows: Date: 22nd to 24th October Location: Strathclyde University Times: Date AM (2 sessions running in parallel) PM (2 sessions running in parallel) Tuesday…

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SQA values

The Qualifications Development Autumn conference was held yesterday in Glasgow. This annual event provides an opportunity for SQA staff to get together to reflect on things and plan for the future. I attended a number of workshops, one of which was about SQA’s values. Our values are: Trusted Enabling Progressive. We normally score highly in external surveys for trust and equipping people but less highly for innovation, which was borne out at the workshop (SQA staff think likewise). I plan…

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Support group for NPA Data Science

SQA’s remit is to develop and maintain national qualifications. We also produce some support materials (assessments) for centres and, of course, provide the annual diet of examinations. Our support role is normally limited to these activities but every now and again we’re able to go further and provide additional support to centres in the form of teaching and learning material. Thanks to extra funding from the Scottish Government, we were able to provide significant additional support for NPA Cyber Security,…

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Team changes

I recently posted about Emma’s return to the team. I had an extra team member for a couple of weeks (when Helen, Emma and Lorraine were working for me) but that has now come to an end and I am back to my original team. So, from this point on, it’s me, Emma and Helen. Operationally, this means that we’re “back to normal”. Emma is responsible for non-advanced qualifications (National Units, NPAs, NCs) and SVQ/CBQs, and Helen is responsible for…

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NPA Data Science – Additional Support Materials

Further to Bobby’s blog post a couple of weeks ago, we have managed to secure some funding to produce additional support materials for the newly developed NPA Data Science. We are currently producing support materials for all of the mandatory units, so the additional funding will go towards producing materials for some (most) of the optional units, ie: J2G6 45 – Machine Learning (SCQF Level 5) J2G6 46 – Machine Learning (SCQF Level 6) J2GT 45 – Data Science Project…

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Changes to unit codes for Data Science units

One of the features of the new data science qualification is that it is hierarchical, which means that you can mix and match units across levels and still gain a group award. Due to an administrative error, the original units were not coded correctly (the first four characters of the unit code must be the same for units in hierarchies). We’ve now recoded the units with the correct codes. Nothing has changed (apart from the codes) so in terms of…

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Welcome back to Emma

I’m pleased to let you know that Emma has returned from maternity leave. She returned to work (full-time) on Monday. Emma can be contacted at emma.campos@sqa.org.uk. I’ve got Lorraine for a couple more weeks (before she returns to her substantive post in Contracts) so, for a short time, I have the luxury of three Qualifications Officers. Emma returns to her portfolio of non-advanced qualifications, which includes the recently developed NPA Data Science and the enhanced support materials for NPA Cyber…

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Additional support for NPA Data Science

There has been lots of interest in the new data science qualification. It’s similar to the huge interest generated by NPA Cyber Security in 2015. I’m hoping that it turns out to be equally successful. Although some schools and colleges will offer the award this year, two things appear to be holding back centres. One is the relative lateness of it being available and the other is lack of confidence (in data science) among teachers. To help with the second…

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Computing Conference 2020

We’ve held an annual conference for Computing qualifications for a long time (going back more than 20 years) but next year (2020) we’re doing something a little different. Next year’s conference will combine vocational and academic qualifications, so it will cover the full suite of Computing awards ranging from Nationals to HNDs. The event will be a mix of keynotes, workshops and demonstrations. We’ve already thought about the workshops, which will likely include the new materials for NPA Cyber Security,…

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