Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More awards tonight for Student College Journalists at Glasgow City Chambers. Great to hear how much our work in this area has been appreciated - the links between qualifications and the NUJ and the rest of the industry is testament to our great team working in this area and to all the work that Colleges have put in to modernising the qualifications in this area and in working with SQA to build strong industry relations across the sector.

Nice too to meet up with many old and not so old colleagues from Cardonald College and to see the students still doing so well .

Nice to meet another appreciative ex student who is now teaching at Cardonald. Reminds me how much I miss students .

This is just one of many success stories in this area - more work on British Sign Language and ESOL Qualifications at HN will start in earnest in next few weeks when we have recruited our lead consultants . These developments are much needed if we are to have more ESOL and BSL signers and tutors in Scotland

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Started week talking to centres engaged with Partners in Learning good to see enthusiasm at all levels for the communities of practice, innovative teacher programme and the game we are rolling out across Scotland. I hope the sports store game really starts changing perceptions around how we think about assessment. It is great that we have built a partnership with the Small Business Company in New Zealand and the Scottish Premier League to deliver a product in to Scottish Schools. Microsoft have been more than a financial backer in all of this Bob McGonigall of Microsoft has been a star in supporting these projects has have the team in SQA.
There are some great tales to tell but not ones for this blog.

Planning evaluation of DIVA Project . We now have 12 global companies contributing in different ways to Scottish Education. It's been a long and hard journey from convincing policy makers that this was a positive direction to take Scottish Education in to speaking to corporates on other side of world and finally to building local partnerships with Colleges and schools to develop and deliver the programmes. The external evaluation will do the tough bit of seeing if all this effort added tangible benefits to centres and learners. Earlier post links to project web site.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Started week by reading then judging entries for the Herald Scottish Student Journalism Awards. The SQA sponsor these and my team look after Journalism area .The judging took place at Mitchell Library in Glasgow. I have fond memories of sixth year studies in the Reading Room - I can remember some work taking place. Good to see clientele have not changed that much. They were all ages and all looked to be mixing fun and study in appropriate amounts. It is great testament to Glasgow that we have the largest public reference library in Europe. In my dotage I will spend some time in the Glasgow Room and pin down all my antecedent Glaswegians.

Did a presentation today on Leitch Review of Skills and the UK Vocational Reform Programme - lots of food for thought. Important that we don't lose what we already have in Scotland in all of this. Many of the solutions in Leitch and the UK Vocational Reform programme are addressed at problems which are not quite as apparent in Scottish System - large numbers of awarding bodies and lots of qualifications of indeterminate level . But important too that we adopt the best bits of these reforms which will be hugely significant for vocational learning in the future.

It is great to know that all of the Skills for Work courses have been developed in close conjunction with the relevant Sector Skills Councils already.

Ended day with an interesting offer to develop a European ICT qualification and tomorrow working on Scottish ESOL strategy with range of key stakeholders.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Computing , Publishing and Scottish Social Services Council

I guess it is probably that time of the year. Lots of developments are now reaching their final stages . The computing team are putting the final touches to the mammoth task of renewing both the Higher National and the National Certificate portfolio . It really is an impressive list of new units - and all unveiled at Hampden in June . It is all on the SQA Computing Blog all linked to relevant Sector Skills Councils - vendor awards and the latest technologies.

Then into meetings with Leckie and Leckie who support developments with publications and finally at end of day really positive meeting with the Scottish Social Services Council we are working with them to regulate their sector with a professional development award that will be a practice learning qualfication for all the staff working in this sector.

Looking forward to finally seeing the sun and my family over the weekend.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Today was a good day beginning to see things really coming together. Moodle is up and running and powering what will be the consultation and shaping engine around SQA input to curriculum for excellence and Core Skills for the future. The rest of the site SQA Academy is being used to develop staff skills in assessment.

Assessment can be used as a dirty word until people actually realise how flexible and learner centred it can be. Interesting that school sector both seem to detest and cling on to exams and traditional forms of assessment while vocational sector are happy with portfolios and now e-portfolios. I wonder when the penny will drop and someone will realise that the SQA actually offers a very wide range of assessment strategies and can bring a depth of experience to all of this. It would be good to have more learner voices in all of this.

Please join the debate on Curriculum for Excellence and Core Skills for the Future

enrolment keys are "Excellence" and "Framework" respectively"

I had a meeting with Jane Richardson of Oracle who reported how well the Oracle Academy is rolling out in Scottish Schools and Colleges and how useful the link is between Higher Information Systems and the Oracle Programme - candidates getting dual certification and teachers being flown this year to Brussels for training. Last two cohorts went all the way to California for a week. Hey, the early adopters are the ones with the sun tans.

Marks high water mark on DIVA project we have successes to report like this with all the major vendors. School and College pupils have access to SQA Certification and Vendor Certification if they and the centres want this.

Also spotted a reassuring a reassuring school blog which I hope proves the new national certificate and National Progression awards are hitting the mark for school/college progression .

It feels like three years have passed in a blink of an eye on one level and then I look at my diary and see three years of very solid work quite scary really. The qualifications teams and all the staff from schools and colleges have done a power of work.

Is it a mirage - first time I have had chance to blog in three years too.