NPA Data Science is now validated

I’m pleased to let you know that the conditions placed on this qualification at the recent validation event have now been lifted. It took a bit longer than planned but we’re there now. The qualification is available at SCQF Level 4 (National 4), Level 5 (National 5) and Level 6 (Higher).

We will now “operationalise” the qualification, which is SQA-speak for coding it, publishing the units and creating a subject page. Once we’ve done that you will be able to enter candidates for this new award. We will be publishing the Group Award Specification and the unit specifications in the next week or two. We’ll let you know when the subject page is up-and-running.

We started this development almost a year ago. Although the plan was always to have it ready for next session (August 2019), I had hoped to have it finalised a little sooner than this. However, it’s not too late to get involved. Half a dozen centres (mostly – but not entirely – schools) have volunteered to offer it next session and there’s still time to come forward and offer it in your centre. We plan to give new centres as much support as possible during the first year of delivery.

I think that this qualification will be – at least – as successful as NPA Cyber Security. Data science is an exciting and expanding field that not only offers excellent job prospects (and life skills) but is also fun to learn. We’ve designed the qualification to be useful to all learners. We had three cohorts in mind when we developed it.

  1. Learners who want to improve their data literacy.
  2. Learners who want to learn about data analysis prior to commencing university.
  3. Learners who are interested in a career in data science.

I’d like to thank everyone involved in the development of this qualification. Lots of teachers, lecturers (college and university), employers and special interest groups played a part. If Scotland is the first country to offer data science in schools (and I think we are) we will definitely not be the last.

Please contact Lorraine if you want to know more about this new qualification, register your interest or see early versions of the Group Award Specification or unit specifications.


Mark Davidson

Hi Lorraine, many thanks for this we have a class of 12 pupils at Newbattle High School who have embarked upon the qualification. Do you have timelines for UASP’s?


Thanks a lot for this. NPA security and data are very important these days. Also, when I’m free I like to open some mystery boxes on Drakemall ( This is a website where you can open various loot boxes and win real items like iPhone or PC!


[…] units within the recently validated NPA Data Science have now been published on the SQA website. In total, we developed 12 new units as […]


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