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Making Good Progress: The SCQF School Ambassador Programme

SCQF School Ambassador pupils at Clydebank High School holding an A0 Framework diagram poster

Background and aims

Since 2015, the SCQF School Ambassador programme has helped schools raise awareness of our framework and how it can be used to develop a whole range of different learning pathways. With significant changes taking place to Scottish qualifications over the last 10 years, it’s important that schools, pupils and parents not only have an understanding of what’s being delivered in schools, but also how all these qualifications compare.

With that in mind, everyone in the school community can develop an understanding of the parity of esteem between thousands of vocational and academic qualifications available to schools including SQA qualifications, Foundation Apprenticeships and those from other providers like Youth work organisations.

In 2019-20, 50+ secondary schools across Scotland joined the SCQF School Ambassador programme, committing to raise awareness and promote the SCQF among their school communities. In total, 107 schools are now engaged with the programme with many more schools keen to take up the opportunity.

Schools the length and breadth of the country are signing up, from Orkney and Shetland to the Borders, regardless of their size, demographic or location. All secondary schools in Scotland are encouraged to be involved with the programme and work with neighbouring schools to share ideas and work collaboratively.

In order to become an Ambassador school an SCQF Development Officer will come and deliver a staff session for senior management or all members of staff covering how the SCQF can be used in schools, developing learner pathways for pupils and raising awareness with parents. Following this session, schools appoint pupil ambassadors who will be responsible for running sessions for their peers and presenting at parents’ night with mentor support from staff. The SCQF offers support and lots of great resources to help schools and we look for schools to engage with our social media and showcase some of the great work their staff and pupil ambassadors are involved in.

By using SCQF resources, pupils can begin to map out potential study or career pathways and what learning they might need to complete in order to get there. The traditional route to university may not suit all students, so it’s important for schools to have pathways to further education, work or apprenticeship programmes. With so many different routes into careers, university or college, the journeys that pupils can take can be very flexible.

For example, a pupil might progress from school to an HNC/HND at college and progress into a degree at university, whereas another pupil may complete a graduate apprenticeship. Now more than ever, there are so many options for pupils to develop their own individual learning pathways and it’s key that schools, pupils and parents understand the SCQF and how it can be used to shape those journeys. For an example of using the SCQF and learner pathways, have a look at the blog from Beth.

Benefits of being an Ambassador school

There are various benefits of being involved in the programme, including:


  • Access to continuous support from the SCQF Partnership team

  • Staff resources in the Ambassador training area of our website

  • Take part in our annual Ambassador event

  • Sharing of ideas and best practice with schools across Scotland

  • Free printed and digital resources for your school

  • Access to case studies and blogs about how schools are using the SCQF

  • Stay up to date with news in our School Ambassador e-zine

Tiered accreditation

This year we have decided to enhance the School Ambassador programme through a new tiered accreditation system where schools can apply to be a bronze, silver or gold level school. Through this process, we can recognise the great work and dedication in schools and highlight their successes, as well as identify any areas for development.

The process is designed to be as simple and take up as little time as possible for busy staff and pupils, but also let them understand where they sit nationally and have their work and effort appreciated. Currently making an application to move up a tier is a manual process supported by our Development Officer Donnie Wood but it is our aim to have an online assessment tool to help with this in place for the new school year in August.

Schools will be encouraged to continuously develop and work towards their silver and gold status and will receive support from the SCQF Partnership team and our school ambassador resources. For more information on the criteria download our resource.

Visit the School Ambassador Programme section of our website for more information or, contact Donnie Wood on d.wood@scqf.org.uk. Donnie will be happy to take any questions you may have and can arrange an online meeting, or in person at a later date (when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted).

About the author

Donnie Wood

Development Officer, SCQF Partnership

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