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The SCQF is Scotland’s national qualifications framework which helps you understand Scottish qualifications. It provides a way of talking about, and comparing, qualifications. This will help you make better choices about learning and help you progress with your learning journey. The SCQF brings together all the mainstream Scottish qualifications. It gives them credit points, which show how much learning has been achieved, and a level which shows how demanding the learning is.
The SCQF is Scotland’s national qualifications framework and helps employers and learners understand Scottish qualifications. It provides a way of talking about, and comparing, qualifications. As an employer, this will help you make better choices about staff recruitment and workforce development. The SCQF brings together all the mainstream Scottish qualifications. It gives them credit points, which show how much learning has been achieved, and a level, which shows how demanding the learning is.
There are many different qualifications – for example, Nationals, Highers, SVQs, HNC/Ds, Degrees and Apprenticeships – and the Framework is a way of showing how they relate to one another. It shows that qualifications are broadly comparable, but it does not mean they are equal. The SCQF supports the Scottish Government’s lifelong learning strategy and – now that there’s more mobility of learners and workers across the UK, Europe and internationally – qualifications frameworks are the method by which learning will be understood globally.
You can visit the SCQF Database to search for the learning programmes you have undertaken. The Database provides you with information on SCQF level, credit value, EQF level and programme owner.
The SCQF has 12 levels. The different levels indicate the level of difficulty of a particular qualification, with level 12 being the most demanding. Credit points are a way of showing how much time it takes, on average, to complete a qualification or learning programme. Like other credit systems in the UK and abroad, the SCQF works on the basis that one credit points represents the amount of learning achieved through 10 hours of learning time. This covers everything you have to do to achieve a qualification, including assessment.
SCQF credit points are general credit points to show the amount of learning you need to undertake to gain a qualification. For credit transfer, the SQA and individual colleges and universities will decide how relevant that piece of learning is for the new programme of learning you want to do and award specific credit points.
No. The Framework does not describe qualifications at the same level as being equal. And qualifications at the same level are not interchangeable. But different qualifications can contain learning which is equally difficult or complicated and when this is the case they will be at an equal level on the Framework. However, even when qualifications are at the same level, some require a greater amount of time to complete because there is more to learn, and therefore they are not equal in terms of credit. It means they are at a comparable level in terms of knowledge, skills or competence required.
You will still be awarded the number of individual Highers that you pass. The level of an award in the SCQF is a guide to the general level of knowledge and skill you need to achieve to gain that award. How many qualifications you achieve is still important, depending on what you want to do next.
Yes. You will still need to study the subjects that you think will be best for you to go on to further or higher education, to get a job or start a career. Colleges and Universities may ask for particular subjects for entry into their programmes depending on what you want to do.
SCQF credit points are not the same as UCAS tariff points. UCAS is the organisation that processes applications for higher education courses, and tariff points relate to the grade at which a qualification has been achieved. SCQF credit points are a measure of how much learning needs to be done to achieve a particular qualification, whatever the final grade. Visit the UCAS website for more info on tariff points.
No, it covers vocational training like Apprenticeships and SVQs that can give you a better chance of getting a job or a promotion. The Framework also covers other learning that you might do; for example, in your local community or with an employer.
The SCQF aims to help people of all ages and circumstances to access appropriate education and training over their lifetime. It can cover learning that you do in the community or in/for the workplace. For example, the Workers’ Educational Association Scotland has had its Counting on a Greener Scotland programme placed on the Framework, and professional qualifications offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are now on the SCQF too.
No, the SCQF is not a regulatory framework and the SCQF Partnership is not an awarding body – it doesn’t provide or develop qualifications. Awarding and accrediting qualifications is still the job of organisations like the SQA, universities, colleges and statutory and professional bodies.
No. That is not part of the SCQF’s purpose. The Framework is a way of looking at, comparing and understanding Scottish qualifications. Other organisations review the quality of teaching, like Education Scotland’s HM Inspectors.
For qualifications and learning programmes to be included on the SCQF, they must have their SCQF level and credit formally confirmed. This process is called credit rating. There are a number of SCQF Credit Rating Bodies in Scotland, including the SQA, colleges, universities and approved bodies such as The Institute of Counselling.
No. You would need to contact the awarding body concerned e.g. the SQA for Highers, Nationals and HNC/Ds or the university you attended for degree certificates.
This information is available on the SQA website.
The Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) strategy outlines a seven-year programme to offer all young people in Scotland a broader range of choices in the Senior Phase (from S4 to S6) of their school years and higher-quality work experience. It also aims to build closer connections between schools, colleges and employers. The SCQF supports the strategy by showing the equality between vocational and academic qualifications.
Use the Qualifications Can Cross Boundaries leaflet to compare qualifications across Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Republic of Ireland. It is helpful if you studied elsewhere in the UK or have moved from Scotland to another location in the UK/Republic of Ireland and need to compare your Scottish qualifications.
If an individual studied in Europe and their country of origin has a qualifications framework which has been referenced to the EQF, you can use the EQF level to compare against the SCQF level. If their qualifications were achieved in a country not aligned to the EQF or outwith Europe, you should contact an organisation called UK NARIC – the National Agency responsible for providing information, advice and expert opinion on vocational, academic and professional skills and qualifications from over 180 countries worldwide. You will need to pay for this service. Careers Advisers at Skills Development Scotland centres may also be able to help.
If you studied in Europe and your country of origin has a qualifications framework which has been referenced to the EQF, you can use the EQF level to compare against the SCQF level. If your qualifications were achieved in a country outwith Europe, you should contact an organisation called UK NARIC – the National Agency responsible for providing information, advice and expert opinion on vocational, academic and professional skills and qualifications from over 180 countries worldwide. You will need to pay for this service. UK NARIC can be contacted on +44 (0)871 330 7033 (within the UK). Skills Development Scotland may also be able to help. You can contact them on 0800 917 8000 or have a look for your nearest centre.
The EQF can help you compare qualifications gained in different countries within Europe. This will help learners and workers wishing to move between countries. For example, currently an enterprise in Ireland may hesitate to recruit a job applicant from, say, Hungary, because it does not understand the level of the qualifications presented by the Hungarian candidate. However, referencing national frameworks to the EQF can help in this respect by providing a common reference point in terms of the level of a particular qualification. You may find it useful to have a look at the EQF portal. The EQF level for all qualifications on the SCQF can be found for each programme listing on the SCQF Database.
The primary users of the EQF will be bodies in charge of national and/or sectoral qualification systems and frameworks. Once they have related their respective systems to the EQF, the EQF will help individuals, employers and education and training providers compare qualifications from different countries.
Staff would receive recognition, in the form of a qualification, for the learning that they have undertaken since working for your organisation. This improves staff morale and retention, and could make your organisation a more attractive and rewarding place to work for prospective and current employees.
No, but the SCQF Partnership provides the tool and resources to allow an employer to carry out an individual, job family or organisational skills profile. Read our Employer Guide.
Scottish Government has issued guidance on this at http://insight-guides.scotxed.net/support/InsightTariff.pdf. You can also contact the Insight Team at Scottish Government at email@example.com. All learning programmes included in the Insight tool must be on the SCQF and meet criteria related to the Curriculum for Excellence.