As part of ongoing activity to help colleges expand their credit rating activity beyond that of their mainstream provision, in 2018-19 the SCQFP funded a project for Inverness College UHI (ICUHI) to credit rate 6 programmes for young people.

This achieved four outcomes for the SCQFP in its role of supporting Credit Rating Bodies within the college sector:

• to help overcome any perceived barriers to credit rating non-mainstream provision within colleges;
• to expand the types of credit rated programmes within colleges in Scotland;
• to build capacity of staff trained to credit rate non-mainstream provision within the FE sector; and
• to increase the number of colleges with SCQF Ambassador status and to encourage Ambassador status amongst partner schools.

The programmes which were credit rated were:

• Community Project at SCQF Level 5 with 4 credit points (Nairn Academy)
• Learning a New Skill at SCQF Level 3 with 2 credit points (Nairn Academy)
• From Seed to Sale at SCQF Level 5 with 4 credit points (Nairn Academy)
• Choose to Lead at SCQF Level 4 with 4 credit points (Highlife Highland)
• Choose to Lead at SCQF Level 5 with 4 credit points (Highlife Highland)
• Learner Engagement and Representation Award at SCQF Level 5 with 2 credit points (Inverness College)

Liz Cook, Quality Manager at ICUHI explains: “We applied for funding from the SCQFP to undertake the development of units in partnership with one school, Nairn Academy, and Highlife Highland (HLH). We have worked hard to continue to develop our partnership with our local authority, the Highland Council, and our local schools within the council area to ensure we have a joined up approach to the Senior Phase for school pupils. We recognise that Inverness College UHI plays a key role in the delivery of the Senior Phase and we have grown our provision year on year. However, we identified a gap in how we and our schools can recognise wider achievement outwith the formal qualifications which individuals undertake. We therefore saw a need for the development of units for schools to be able to award achievement more widely, from S3–6.”

The College also worked closely with HLH to develop a unit for Sports Leaders in the Senior Phase. School pupils have been undertaking a significant amount of work and development in personal skills, so the development of an SCQF unit allows this learning to be formally recognised.

From a partnership project with sparqs (student partnerships in quality Scotland), and through the discussions with HLH, the addition of a student engagement award was identified as a potential progression route within the HLH and UHI structure. A Learner Engagement and Representation unit was developed for class representatives and other students actively engaged in aspects of representing the student voice. The aim of the award is to provide learners with the skills to fulfil the role of learner representation who wish to demonstrate their commitment and participation.

These projects have facilitated ICUHI working more closely with its stakeholders. The recognition of learning and wider achievement in schools enables the College to raise the profile of the SCQF, but also its own profile as an FE and HE institution which young people can progress into.

Liz continues: “We will be piloting the roll-out of the units with Nairn Academy, which is now an SCQF School Ambassador, in semester 1 of AY 19-20 but would fully anticipate that we will offer these out more widely to all schools in Highland. The units are designed to be undertaken by all pupils in S3 which supports our widening access agenda. The Learner Representation award is also ready for delivery in academic year 2019-20 within ICUHI, and it is anticipated that other Academic Partners across UHI will engage with the award later in the session. It is too early to determine the contribution the project’s impact on student transition from informal to formal learning, although it is anticipated there will be a positive impact in this regard.”

Inverness College UHI became an SCQF Ambassador College in June 2019. As an Ambassador, staff at the College will focus on further promotion of the SCQF to students, staff and stakeholders. To further support credit rating activity within the college, capacity building activities will take place as part of the staff development scheduled through 2019-20.