Wednesday, 31 August 2005

Out of the Office

I stop tonight for a 2 week break where I head off into the Hollywood Hills to soak up some sun.

In my absence, Angela will deal with any urgent enquiries and I shall pick up all other enquiries on my return to the office.

Have a nice day !

People wanted!

I posted a message on the SQA mailing list this morning appealing for people to assist with a number of new projects that the team are about to commence.

We're looking for unit writers/vetters, assessment writers/vetters, teaching material writers and other roles. I asked anyone who may be interested in helping to contact Angela. The work is interesting -- and paid.

Tuesday, 30 August 2005

Some SQA history for you

SQA is celebrating the 80th anniversary of HN qualifications this year. Ted Hastings recently sent me an interesting history of HNC/D Computing which he wrote in the 1990s. It brought back many (happy) memories to me since I taught these awards at both Clydebank and Cardonald colleges.

Monday, 29 August 2005

Welcome to Tony

Tony Hamilton has joined the SQA team as administrator. We've also re-shuffled some of the responsibilities within the team. You can download the current organisation chart here.

Thursday, 25 August 2005

DIVA website is now up-and-running

The SQA website now has some pages dedicated to DIVA - the Digital media and ICT Vendor Alliance. DIVA is intended to improve the vocational relevance of SQA awards - and provide learning material to centres.

Wednesday, 24 August 2005

Computer games

Angela and I visited Stow College this morning to discuss computer games. Stow recently developed an HNC Computer Games Development which they are offering this year for the first time. I was there to discuss how SQA could support the new award. We agreed to develop a number of assessment exemplars.

We also discussed the possibility of devising one or two National Units in this area - specifically units (probably called Computer Games) at Intermediate 1 (SCQF 4) and Intermediate 2 (SCQF 5). These new units would be part of the on-going modernisation of National Certificate provision.

You can get more information about the HNC award from Angela Lees.

Tuesday, 16 August 2005

HND Computing launch event

Angela is currently organising a launch event for the new HND Computing award.

The event takes place on Friday 9 September in Glasgow and provides an opportunity for SQA and staff from centres to discuss the unique features of this new award such as its strong links with vendor certification.

You can register online by clicking on this button:

Register Online at

Sunday, 14 August 2005

Great Scottish Run

Sorry for using the blog for a personal reason but it's for charity so I thought it would be OK.

I'm running in this year's Great Scottish Run on behalf of Cancer Research and I'm looking for sponsorship. All donations go straight to Cancer Research.

Thursday, 11 August 2005

E-group FAQ

I updated the e-group FAQ this morning. Groups come and go so it's worth checking the FAQ to find out what groups are available.

Tuesday, 9 August 2005

Online assessments for HNC/D Computing

I met with Graeme Clark this afternoon to discuss online assessments. Graeme is working with SQA to develop a number of online assessments as part of the SOLAR project. He updated me on progress and developments.

The purpose of the SOLAR project is to develop a large number of online assessments for a range of HN subjects - including Computing. In fact, the project will produce 160 complete assessments for units within HNC/D Computing. These assessments should be available to centres from early next year.

We agreed to extend the project to include Multimedia and Computer Games (and possibly Networking) so some assessments within these subjects will be covered too.

Big day for Scottish students

Almost 150,000 Scottish students received their exam results today. The results continued the improvement of recent years.

Friday, 5 August 2005

HN toolit

SQA provides a toolkit for centres that wish to develop their own ("centre-devised") awards. It contains lots of useful procedures and forms. The toolkit has recently been updated.

Wednesday, 3 August 2005

New National Certificate community

I've created a new community for people interested in National Certificate provision in Computing/IT.

We are currently developing a number of new units in this area and a review of the whole NC portfolio will take place later this year so it seemed a good idea to create a dedicated forum.

You can subscribe by visiting the home page or sending an e-mail.

Tuesday, 2 August 2005

£100 grant for IT training

Today's Herald has a front page story about Individual Learning Accounts. Every adult in Scotland is now entitled to a £100 grant towards certificated IT training up to SCQF level 5 (Intermediate 2).

A wide range of Computing awards can be used -- but PC Passport (at Intermediate 1/2 levels) is particularly suitable. The low cost of PC Passport should mean that centres can effectively offer this qualification for £10 (the minimum charge) - which will make it hugely attractive to prospective students.

Centres should expect a big increase in interest when they are enrolling.