Thursday, 14 June 2012

Sector Panel meeting

The Sector Panel for Computing & IT met this morning. The main purpose of the Panel is to advise and guide me and my team. The Sector Panel meets twice per year.

The membership includes people from education, industry and professional/industry bodies. The current members are drawn from E-SKills UK, Skills Development Scotland, Scotland's Colleges, Microsoft, Education Scotland, British Computer Society, and Scotland IS. There are also a number of practicing teachers and lecturers on the Panel.

I always take the opportunity to update members about qualification developments that have taken place since the last meeting, so at today's meeting I discussed the new Mobile Technology awards, the Online Basics unit, Internet Safety, and the new NC in Computer Games Development (at SCQF Level 6), among other developments. I gave a separate presentation on the HN Review since I wanted specific feedback from the Panel on that important development.

A couple of particular issues came up. One was about engagement with employers, and the other was about the unit writing process. It's a long-standing problem in education how best to engage with employers. One of the recommendations from the recent HNC Computing validation was to improve consultation with employers. We had an interesting dicussion about this topic and agreed to revisit it at the next meeting. We also discussed how SQA goes about writing new units. The current model of employing a writer and vetter (and, sometimes, an EV) works reasonably well but it was felt that more people had to be involved in unit writing to improve their quality. We agreed to revisit this issue at the next meeting. If you have any comments on employer engagement or unit writing, please use the comment facility on this blog.

It was a good, productive meeting. We don't minute the meeting, but we do list the agreed actions, and there will be many concrete actions coming out of this one.

Please contact Caroline if you want to know more about the work of the Sector Panel or find out more about becoming a member.

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