Tuesday, 23 December 2008


We had a meeting this morning about National Progression Awards (NPAs).

My team are developing a large suite of NPAs (19 in total). There are currently seven available to centres (such as PC Passport and Digital Literacy) and another 11 under development (with one not yet started).

We had hoped to validate three before Christmas but this was delayed due to a last minute hitch (the industry representative on the validation panel was unable to attend). The three delayed awards are:

1. Still Images, Audio and Video (SCQF Levels 4 and 5)
2. Animation (SCQF Level 5).

We have re-arranged the validation event to mid-January.

The other awards are quite far along the development cycle and will be validated in February (three more) and March (the last three).

The NPA that is about to commence is called NPA in Social Software and includes a new unit from the suite of Digital Culture units.

I'm confident we'll have the full suite of NPAs available to centres by May of next year.

Contact Shirley if you want more information.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Evaluation of the Heads of Computing event

After every major event, I organise a survey to gauge attendees' satisfaction with the event.

I did a survey after the recent Heads of Computing event. Nineteen attendees (around 50%) completed the questionnaire. The results can be seen here.

Overall, the response was very good, with almost 80% of respondents considering the event "good" or "very good" and 95% expressing overall satisfaction with the event. But we'll look at the criticisms and try to address these next time.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Improved Internet Safety website... and Merry Xmas

Jacque's been working on the Internet Safety website, to bring it up to date. I checked it this morning and it's looking good. It now provides up-to-date information and support materials (including an updated FAQ) on this qualification. Contact Jacque for any queries relating to Internet Safety.

The team's Xmas party is today, and I know many centres stop for the holiday today, so it seems a good time for me and my team to wish everyone a good holiday. As always, its been great working with the Computing community this last year.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Heads of Computing event

We held our annual Heads of Computing event on Friday. Over 40 people attended the meeting and there was a busy agenda covering such topics as the new HND developments (Interactive Media and Computer Games Development), SOLAR, and the new IT National Occupational Standards.

Two topics seemed to be of particular interest: the report from the Senior External Verifier (David Drennan), who told the audience about the main issues he discovered while visiting centres, and the discussion about recruitment, retention and achievement given by Ron Dillin.

I felt the event went well but I'll be surveying the attendees to find out for sure. You can download the presentations using the link below.
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Next Generation User Skills report

Some of you may have missed a report, commissioned by SQA, about the user skills required in the next five years. It can be downloaded here [PDF] and it makes interesting reading. We're in the process of hiring a consultant to review our qualifications to ensure that our portfolio matches these identified skills.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

SQA website

The SQA web team has been working hard over the last few months to improve the SQA website. Each subject now has its own home page and the (vocational) Computing one is full of useful information.

I checked the Computing home page this morning and found arrangements documents, FAQs, update letters and the whole host of other helpful documents there. We recently uploaded a report on Next Generation User Skills [PDF], which describes the IT skills that will be needed in 2013.

There are also dedicated pages on specific Computing qualifications, such as PC Passport and Internet Safety.

So, it's a page worth bookmarking.