Validation panels for NPA Data Science and HND Cyber Security

We’re looking for members for the validation panels for NPA Data Science and HND Cyber Security. Although both developments are on-going, we’re getting to the stage, particularly with the HND, when we will be selecting people to serve on the respective validation panels. The validation event is a vital stage in the qualification development process. The panel consists of experienced and independent stakeholders, who have not been involved in the development, who will scrutinise the proposed awards and make a…

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HND Cyber Security units

It’s been a couple of months since I last updated you about what’s happening with HND Cyber Security so this seems a good time to let you know about progress. Most of the component units are now complete, so me and my team are in the process of validating these units. Validation is the final checks before the units are coded and published on the website. There are 14 new or revised units being produced — 13 entirely new units…

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HN Review and HN Next Gen

Martin Boyle gave one of the keynotes at last week’s Computing Conference. Martin spoke about the next generation of HN qualifications — or HN Next Gen as the project is called. You can see his presentation here. The current “direction of travel” (see slide 13 in his presentation) involves: HNCs consisting of 120 SCQF points (15 SQA credits) and HND’s 240 (30 SQA credits) common core in all HN awards of “21st Century skills” (see slide 8) “bigger” units – perhaps…

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Lead Person Network refresh

I mentioned my intention to review the Lead Person Network (LPN) at the recent Computing Conference. The LPN was established in 2014, with the intention of having a point of contact in each of the new, merged colleges. The idea was to have a single point of contact, through which we could communicate with colleges and get feedback on qualifications and support materials. The Lead Person in each college was meant to cascade information to colleagues and act as a…

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Computing Conference 2019

The annual Computing Conference was held on Friday at Jury’s Inn in Glasgow. It was well attended, with over 40 people in attendance, representing schools, colleges, universities and training centres. The two keynotes were particularly well received. Martin Boyle introduced “HN Next Gen”, a major review of Higher National Qualifications, and Natalie Coull, of Abertay University, explained what universities are doing in cyber security. There were also presentations from the Lead Developers for two important developments currently taking place —…

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Online support for Cyber Security teachers

As part of the Enhancement project, we plan to provide improved support to teachers of NPA Cyber Security so that new (and existing) teachers feel that there is somewhere to turn for help. Although this additional support will mostly be provided from next session (August), we hope to provide help right now via our existing Yammer group. I’ve asked some experienced practitioners to try to help anyone who requests assistance via this group. So, if you currently teach the NPA,…

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Computing Conference agenda finalised

We recently finalised the agenda for the forthcoming Computing Conference for colleges, schools and training centres, which will take place on Friday, 1 February at Jury’s Inn in Glasgow. This annual event has taken place for the last 25 years. This year’s event will include two keynote presentations: one about HN Next Gen, which is a major review of Higher National awards, and one about  university qualifications in cyber security. We will also provide updates on specific developments – including…

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Welcome back

I’d like to offer a belated welcome back. I’ve recently returned to work after taking a post-Christmas holiday. The team has a busy year coming up. We’re in the middle of developing a new National Progression Award in Data Science, which is progressing well. This will be available to schools, colleges and training centres from August. We’re also producing more support materials for NPA Cyber Security, which is popular in Scottish schools. Please contact Lorraine about these projects. The HN…

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Digital literacy – Collaborators wanted

We are looking for collaborators to work with us on this exciting development.  To make these qualifications the best they can be and relevant to all across the educational community, Please click here for information If you would like to work with us by contributing ideas, writing, vetting, validating or all of the above then please contact the Digital Team qualsdigital@sqa.org.uk

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HN Review

As previously mentioned in Bobby’s last update, the revision of qualifications involves creating a Business Case before we can proceed. The process will be undertaken by another team within SQA, we will have an outcome by early February. We are confident that we will be given the green light to proceed with this development. I’d like to continue to add members to the Qualification Development Team (QDT) so that we can make an immediate start when the funding is confirmed. If…

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Computing Conference 2019

Just a reminder for those who haven’t registered and wish to attend the Vocational Computing Conference. Please register online here.  This years event will take place Friday, 1 February at Jury’s Inn in Glasgow. Please contact Caitlin if you want to know anymore information about the event.

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NPA Data Science update

Since my last post about this development, we’ve made a lot of progress. Unit writers (and vetters) have been selected and training has taken place. The Qualification Development Team (QDT) had its third meeting yesterday and made a lot of important decisions. The framework is now finalised. The qualification will have a 2-3-3 structure — two units at National 4 (SCQF Level 4) and three units at National 5 and Higher (SCQF Levels 5 and 6). Data Science and Data…

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HND Cyber Security progress

This seems like a good time to update you about HND Cyber Security. This development is the second part of a three-stage development that has produced HNC Cyber Security (stage 1), is currently developing HND Cyber Security (stage 2), and will produce PDA Cyber Security (stage 3). Since my last update, we have finalised the qualification structure, appointed unit writers and vetters, and carried out training. So, right now, we’re at the sharp end of the development, with a team…

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HN Review update

Since the last update, we have been in discussions with stakeholders about our plans, and specifically the idea to combine technical support and networking into a single, new award. There has been support for this change so we now intend to develop the following awards. HNC Computing HND Computer Science HND Networking & Infrastructure HND Software Development. Apart from Networking & Infrastructure, the other awards will have relatively minor changes — although a significant amount of updating will have to…

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Computing Conference 2019

I’m pleased to let you know that this year’s Vocational Computing Conference will take place Friday, 1 February at Jury’s Inn in Glasgow. This is a long-standing event, which goes back (at least) 20 years. It provides an opportunity to meet face-to-face, and network with colleagues from other centres. Although the focus is college qualifications, there has been an increasing school presence due to the popularity of some National Progression Awards, such as the NPA Cyber Security. Of course, all…

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Digital Skills Partnership Events Registration

Please see below to register for the upcoming Digital Skills Partnership Events; Webinar on Digital Forensics– for further details and to register visit – events.cdn.ac.uk/ehome/372854?&t=9efcdb6dc99952ff12edc5b9c3404654 28 November – from 13:15 – 15:30  (Hosted by UHI). Cyber Security 2 (more advanced session) – for further details and to register visit – events.cdn.ac.uk/ehome/374816?&t=c52b409c7572abbcdc2394f795074465 6 December – from 13:30 – 17:00 at the Hamish Wood Building at Glasgow Caledonian University. Cyber Security 2 (more advanced session) – for further details and to register…

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Engineering Strategy Group

I was invited to speak at the Engineering Strategy Group meeting yesterday, which was held at the College Development Network building in Stirling. Engineering qualifications are going through a major review, similar to the HN Review for Computing awards. I was invited to speak about the new Higher National units that have been developed during the last couple of years. The engineers were interested in units such as Computer Programming, Emerging Technologies & Experiences, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Machine…

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ASP Update – Non Advanced Qualifications

Computer Games Development Level 5 – will be published early next week. Artificial Intelligence for Computer Games – currently still in development with an estimate completion date of early January. Digital Design and Web Development: Graded Unit currently still in development with an estimate completion date of early January.

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NPA Data Science update

We’re making a lot of progress with this qualification. We now have a draft qualification structure, and unit writers (and vetters) have now been selected. Although the structure isn’t finalised (yet), the final form of the award won’t be a million miles away from this. Most of the debate has been around the options, so we’ve taken a belt-and-braces approach and included all of the ideas that were being discussed. I’m fairly confident that the mandatory units will survive (at…

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External Verifier standardisation meeting

The annual standardisation meeting for External Verifiers (EVs) took place today in the SQA offices in Glasgow. The meeting was led by the Senior External Verifier. The purpose of the meeting is to prepare EVs for their forthcoming visits to centres and to ensure that the whole team apply the same national standards. Me and my team attend these meetings for two reasons. Firstly, to find out more about field issues and also to update EVs about new and revised…

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