Design of new Higher National awards

Regular readers will know that we’re currently reviewing a suite of Higher National (HN) qualifications in Computing. This isn’t a normal review. Computing is one of three subjects testing a new design for HN awards. The initiative is called “HN Next Generation”.

New Higher Nationals will have a different look to the current awards. The “design parameters” include:

  • fewer and larger units
  • less assessment
  • inclusion of metaskills
  • project-based learning.

New Higher Nationals will have a consistent framework consisting of:

  1. Common core
  2. Sector specific
  3. Industry specific

We’re looking at every aspect of the qualifications including our approach to grading, the way we define units and the way we write qualification descriptions.

The plan is to create three prototype qualifications (in Broadcasting, Computing and Engineering) and try these out with some centres next year. We’ll use what we learn to roll out new HNs in every subject area.

We’ve made a lot of progress in Computing. A Qualification Development Team (QDT) has been formed and met a couple of times. Lead developers have been selected. We’re working with the leads to develop prototype frameworks for all five Computing awards (HNC Computing, HND Computer Science, HND Data Science, HND Networking & Infrastructure and HND Software Development).

The QDT has over 30 members — representing every key partner including colleges, schools, universities and employers. There is a great deal of enthusiasm for the proposed changes.

Please contact Helen if you want to know more about this development.

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