HN Review is about to commence

We’re about to commence the review of HN Computing qualifications. The “big review” will involve the revision of the following awards:

HNC Computing
HND Computer Science
HND Computing: Networking
HND Computing: Software Development
HND Computing: Technical Support

These were last updated in 2013 so they are overdue a review. They will be reviewed as a group because they are closely related and best considered a “family” of awards.

The aim of the review will be to update the structure and contents of the qualifications. Although the qualifications have been tweaked over the last five years, this review will give us an opportunity to have a root-and-branch look at them.  One of the first decisions that we’ll have to make is to decide whether we need to retain both Networking and Technical Support as separate qualifications.

The first stage in the review is to “scope” the changes required. This is carried out by an individual. I intend to appoint four or five people, each of whom will have a specific responsibility for one or more qualification. Final decisions will be taken by the Qualification Development Team (QDT). We will be looking for volunteers to scope the awards …

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Launch event for support materials

The launch event for the support materials for NPA Cyber Security was held yesterday at the Royal College in Glasgow. It’s a beautiful building and there was an excellent turnout with almost 80 teachers in attendance, which reflects the huge interest in this qualification. You can get a sense of how the event went by checking the Twitter hashtag.

The event …

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Update – NPA Computer Games Development

Further to my previous blog post, I can now confirm that the existing Group Awards (version 2010) have been replaced and will go into lapsing on 31/07/18. The finishing date for these qualifications is 31/07/2021.

Furthermore, the Unit Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) have been commissioned. These will be available in time for assessment in the 2018/2019 academic year.


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Recruiting ASP writers – NC Computer Games

Further to my colleague Emma’s blog post, we are still recruiting for ASP writers for the new/revised units for the NC Computer Games. Any work undertaken will be paid.

The following ASPs are required:

Unit Title
SCQF Level
Credit Value

HY2F 45

HY2C 45
Computer Programming

HY2C 46
 Computer …

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NPA PC Passport – Supplementary Materials

Supplementary learning and teaching resources for the NPA PC Passport are now available on the website. You will find them on the subject page underneath the tab “Learning and Teaching materials.” These resources correspond with the Workbooks: Presentations, Spreadsheets and Word Processing (SCQF levels 4,5 & 6).

For any queries relating to these resources, please contact me directly.



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NPA Computer Games Development – Finalised

As previously blogged the NPA Computer Games Development was in the final stages of development. I’m now happy to advise that this Award has been finalised and is available on the subject page of the SQA website.

The Group Award Specification can be found here. If you continue to see the previous subject page, please clear your cache in your …

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Launch event for NPA Cyber Security support materials

I recently gave you early notice about a forthcoming event to introduce new support materials for NPA Cyber Security. I can now confirm that the event will take place on Tuesday, 19 June at Royal College in Glasgow. You can book a place at the event here. It’s first-come-first-served so please book your place soon if you’re interested in attending.

Attendees will receive paper copies of all of the materials (sent after the event) and some of the writing team will be there to introduce the material. A guest speaker from the Scottish Government …

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NPA PC Passport – Supplementary Materials

As previously blogged, the PC Passport workbooks have been added to the SQA website. Additional supplementary materials will be added in the coming weeks containing worked examples and sample answers.

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Women in STEM Conference

Last week I had the opportunity of attending the Women in STEM Conference 2018, which took place in London. It was a big event, with over 150 attendees (disappointingly, only a handful of male representatives) from a range of sectors, including education and industry. It was a very full day, with 12 speakers who gave interesting insights into the different approaches and initiatives …

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Recruitment of Additional QST Members

I’m currently organising the QST (Qualifications Support Team) meeting for late June 2018 in Glasgow (date and venue TBC).

The QST meets once a year to discuss and support any improvements to the HN/NC group awards within the Computing/IT portfolio. The members of the QST are from colleges, schools and training providers and are a great way to let …

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Launch event for support materials for NPA Cyber Security

As regular readers will know, we’ve been developing teaching, learning and assessment material to support the NPA Cyber Security for some time. We recently completed draft versions of the materials and we’re currently piloting this material in 20 centres across Scotland.

Once the pilot is complete, we will finalise the material and have a formal launch event on Tuesday, 19 June in …

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NPA PC Passport

New Learning & Teaching Materials for the NPA PC Passport (SCQF Levels 4, 5 & 6) have been published on the SQA website.

The Workbooks for Presentations, Spreadsheets and Word Processing can be found under the Qualification content and delivery tools tab, towards the bottom of the subject page.

Each Workbook takes an integrated approach to learning and teaching.

If you require any …

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HNC Cyber Security validation event

The validation event for the new HNC Cyber Security was held on Friday in the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. The event was the culmination of a year of intense work to produce a new qualification in this important field. The purpose of validation is to scrutinise a new qualification by a panel of independent experts. The panel consisted of …

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Update: NPA Computers Games Development

A quick update from the previous blog post about the NPAs Computer Games Development (SCQF Levels 4, 5 & 6):

The Group Award has now been validated along with the units. I’m currently in the process of operationalising it (unit coding, subject page, etc.) and it will be available to Centres within the next few weeks.

The current award will finish on the 1 …

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HNC/D Digital Design and Web Development

The framework of the HNC/D Digital Design and Web Development ( GL7Y 15 and GL80 16) has now been updated to include four optional units:

F8R6 34 Games Design Theory  (1 HN Credit, SCQF level 7)
HH3G 34 Games Design: Pitch a Treatment   (1 HN Credit, SCQF level 7)
F8R5 34 Games Development: Character Creation and Storytelling  (1 HN Credit, SCQF level 7)
F6BX 35 Narrative and …

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NC Computer Games Development – ASPs

The NC Computer Games Development was validated last Friday. For more information, please read the recent post on our blog regarding this validation event.

We are now looking for volunteers to write the ASPs for the new/revised units. We will be developing ASPs for the following units:

Unit title 
SCQF Level 
Credit value 
New/ Rev. 
Mand./ Opt. 

HY2 …

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HNC Cyber Security – Validation event

We are holding the validation event for the new HNC Cyber Security on Friday, 18th May 2018.

We are still seeking volunteers to represent the following: employers, training centres and universities.

More information about this development can be found via the FAQ or the blog.

If you represent one of these sectors and are interested in joining the validation panel or …

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National Certificate in Computer Games Development

The validation event for the revised NC Computer Games Development took place on Friday in the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. The purpose of validation events is for independent experts to check new (or revised) qualifications to make sure that they are fit for purpose.

The validation panel comprised representatives of colleges, industry, training centres and SQA. The development team was represented by the Lead Developer, a college member of the QDT, Emma and me. I thought that it was a particularly good event with really positive suggestions for improvement.

The outcome of the validation was that the revised qualification …

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Higher National units in cyber security

As part of the HNC Cyber Security development, we’ve produced a number of new Higher National units relating to the subject area. There are several new units including:

Data Security
Digital Forensics Case Studies
Internet of Things
Penetration Testing
Scripting for Security
Social Engineering.

We also took the opportunity to update some existing units, such as Digital Forensics and Ethical …

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NPA Computer Games Development

We completed the Group Award Specification for this award today and it has now been submitted for (internal) validation. You can see the final version here. The units have been ready for some time but were not published on the website because they weren’t coded. You can see final (uncoded) versions of the units here.

The validation of the group award should be straight-forward since we haven’t changed the structure of the award. However, we have significantly updated and improved the component units (which have already been validated).

I appreciate that we’re late to finalise the qualification given how close it is to the end of session but I hope some of your consider the new version of the award since the units are much better, with significantly less assessment than the current versions.

I’ll let you know when the …

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