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by Fiona Robertson, SQA
23 November 2022
Associate Feature: Qualifying Scotland – now and in the future

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Associate Feature: Qualifying Scotland – now and in the future

Qualifications can positively change lives – they are a crucial part of an individual’s learning and training experience and make a valuable contribution to society. They give us a goal to work towards, prove to others what we know, and what we can do, and open the door to other education, training and career opportunities.

Scotland has a strong heritage of world-class qualifications, developed and delivered by many dedicated individuals who have maintained the standards and credibility which have become a hallmark of Scottish education over the past 150 years. Our qualifications and services cater for all types of learner at all stages of their lives and careers and support all parts of society and the economy in Scotland and beyond.

SQA has more than 2,000 different types of qualification available to schools, colleges, training providers and employers – from Higher Nationals, National Qualifications to a wide variety of vocational and customised qualifications supporting sectors such as health and social care, construction, hospitality, travel and tourism and leadership and management. We work with industry, employers, and skills specialists to develop qualifications that support businesses in continuing to develop their workforce.

Our staff are committed to help ensure that the skills, training, and education systems in Scotland are effective, and provide people and businesses with the skills they need for the future.

We talk a lot about collaboration in the education and training community – and rightly so. Very few decisions are taken alone – and it is a shared endeavour to deliver for learners.

Every member of our education and training community has felt the impact of significant, and ongoing, global events over recent years, and changes in learners’ needs over time. Education and training in Scotland, as elsewhere in the UK and around the world, has had to adapt and innovate in the face of changing circumstances to deliver for learners.

These circumstances have also led the Scottish Government to ask what kind of education system Scotland wants for the current generation of learners, and for those in the future. A wide-ranging programme of education reform is underway.

The reform programme includes the national discussion on the future vision for education – the first for 20 years, Professor Louise Hayward’s independent review of the future of qualifications and assessments, the creation of three new national education bodies, and the review of post-school education, training and the skills landscape. 

We share the ambition to build on the success of Scottish education and training, with learners and the teachers, lecturers and practitioners who support them at the heart of future change.

One of the new national education bodies will be a qualifications body that will take on SQA’s current awarding functions, including responsibility for the design and delivery of all qualifications, the running of exams and the awarding of certificates, SQA’s commercial activities and international work. The Scottish Government will confirm where the current accreditation and regulation functions will sit.

The work associated with the creation of the new qualifications body is being overseen by a Delivery Board, accountable to the Scottish Government’s Strategic Programme Board. The New Qualifications Body Delivery Board includes a wide-ranging external membership, including from the training, college, school and local authority sectors in Scotland as well as from the education sector in the rest of the UK.

The Delivery Board will be undertaking an extensive programme of engagement with learners, teachers, lecturers, training providers plus a wide range of other stakeholders and users, to ensure they shape the new qualifications body. I would encourage you to get involved.

Until the new body is established, we will continue to work productively and collaboratively with every part of Scotland’s education and training community, including the teachers, lecturers and subject specialists who form such a vital part of our work.


For more information please visit

This article is sponsored by SQA.

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