SQA Returns

I was delighted to discover that all the pieces I’d submitted to the SQA for Higher and Advance Higher were approved. While I enjoy the flexibility of being able to supplement the short list of set works, there are various problems with the way things have gone this year:

Sharing expertise

Each piece is approved for use in a specific school. Therefore, were a newly qualified colleague to be recruited, one would be unable to offer useable repertoire.


The approval arrived in time for returning to work this week. Higher Music practical prelims are imminent and some schools are asking for the complete programme. Anyone banking on using works which were not approved might face a problem.

The Future

AS far as I understand, no database is being compiled of approved material. This means that only three PTs Music and I know of these recent approvals.

Positive feedback

If you submit a piece for Advance Higher and it is not approved, it does not return with approval for Higher. The piece has to be resubmitted the following year.


The system could be open to mischief. Supposing I were to write a piece under a pseudonym – let’s say Antarctica by Olivia Bray. I could submit said piece, containing sufficient technical and musical content for approval. The paperwork returned to me consists of the list of pieces with the red SQA stamp of approval and the returned copies of the music. I could then substitute that piece with something much, much easier, but bearing the correct title and composer’s name. Were it to be queried on the day, I could produce the written approval of Antarctica and a piece called Antarctica by Olivia Bray.

Some of you may recall my mentioning the game where I present a piece to classroom colleagues and instructors of other instruments and ask them to guess the grade. A piece which was Trinity College, Grade 1 in 2000 was guessed as being between grade 3 and 6. It has been approved for Higher (Grade 4) by the SQA.

One thought on “SQA Returns”

  1. So who is right, the SQA or Trinity?

    If you can convince the SQA of the grade of this piece, what else can they be hoodwinked in to believing?!

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