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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New term checks

It’s the time of year when centres begin to deliver our qualifications. There are some checks you should carry out before commencing teaching. We sometimes receive requests for help from centres that have delivered the wrong units. You can avoid that by doing the following.

Begin by checking the subject page for any qualification that you’re delivering. The subject page …

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HN Review meeting

Regular readers will know that we’ve commenced the review of several Higher National qualifications and that we were looking for people to “scope” the required changes. We got several volunteers and selected four people (all practising lecturers) to lead on each qualification. The “scoping team” met for the first time yesterday in Glasgow.

The purpose of the meeting was to …

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Welcome back

The team would like to welcome back teachers and lecturers to a new term. The team has had a busy summer. The HN Review commenced at the end of June, HNC Cyber Security was validated in early July and made it available to centres later than month, we commenced the development of new qualifications in data science, started work on …

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ASP Writer and Vetter opportunities

We are recruiting for writers and vetters for 1 additional ASP for the following Units:

Unit J0J7 34 Cyber Security: Graded Unit 1
Unit HG2V 34 Digital Design and Web Development: Graded Unit 1
Unit HT9T 34 Artificial Intelligence

If you are interested in writing or vetting one of these ASPs, please e-mail Emma Campos (copied above) by the 24th of August if …

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Team changes

This is Claudia’s last day in the team. She was covering Helen’s maternity leave but gained a place at university to train as a teacher, which she starts next week. Claudia has been a big help over the last few months and we will be sorry to see her go. I hope to have a replacement in the near future …

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Changes to the portfolio

The portfolio of Computing qualifications is changing. Mainstream computer science/IT awards and digital skills qualifications are being separated. Me and my team will continue to look after computer science/IT but Hilary and her team will now look after digital skills/digital literacy qualifications.

This means that “digital qualifications” are now Hilary’s responsibility. The following qualifications have been moved:

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First QDT meeting for NPA Data Science

Following on from my recent announcement about the development of a new qualification in data science and the formation of the Qualification Development Team (QDT), the team met for the first time yesterday. It’s a strong team with representation from industry (including Sky UK), universities (including University of Glasgow), special interest groups (including DataLab) and the public sector (including Midlothian …

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NPA Cyber Security Support Materials – Now available

After a final revision of the materials, I am pleased to advise that the Learning and Teaching materials for the NPAs in Cyber Security are now available via the SQA Secure site. This project has taken, roughly, a year, during which we have been able to work with a committed and knowledgeable development team, who have gone above and beyond to ensure the good quality of the materials produced. The materials comprise:

Educator’s Guide
Learner’s Notes
Practical tasks
Formative assessments
YouTube channel

As many of you may be aware, the materials were officially launched last June. The launch event was held at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and was well attended by school teachers and college lecturers. The event gave educators an overview of the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resiliency strategy, as well as background information on the project. However, the purpose of the event, most importantly, was to allow delegates to have a first glimpse of the materials and provide feedback on these. The feedback was incredibly valuable and was taken into account when carrying out the final revision.

In addition to the above, the materials were piloted throughout April and May 2018. A good number of centres (20) from across Scotland took part in the pilot. Pilot centres had the opportunity to use the draft materials for a period of six weeks. Where possible, the materials were used in the classroom with real learners. On completion of the pilot, centres provided feedback to us via a ‘Feedback Survey’, which revealed overall satisfaction with the materials.

Consequently, we are cautiously optimistic that these materials will be a good source of learning and teaching materials and will aid centres in the delivery of the NPAs in Cyber Security. We are aware that more could always be done, and this may be a possibility in the near future, but, as a starting point for centres that have never delivered these awards, they will prove to be an excellent resource.

For further information about these awards, please take a look at the subject page, where you will find all relevant information related to the awards and be able …

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HNC Cyber Security – Subject page live

Further to my recent update, I am pleased to advise that the HNC Cyber Security (GP10 15) subject page is now live and can be accessed via the SQA website. There, you will find relevant information about the main features of the award and will be able to access the Group Award Specification directly from the page.

For any further questions …

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