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A new qualification 

A new level 9 qualification requirement for the residential child care workforce was announced by Scottish Government on 26 November 2015.

This new Standard for Residential Child Care qualification was developed by the Scottish Social Services Council following recommendations made in the Higher Aspirations, Brighter Futures – National Residential Child Care Initiative (NRCCI) Report, 2009.

The report recommended that an ordinary degree level (level 9) qualification would best support and equip the workforce for the complex, diverse and rewarding job that they do every day in caring for children and young people. To be able to register to work in residential child care in Scotland in the future you will have to hold this qualification. 

Managers and supervisors will be the first groups required to gain the qualification, followed by residential care workers. Anyone new to the sector will also be required to gain the qualification. 

Read a letter from Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, explaining the details.


The Scottish Government has delayed the introduction of the requirement for residential child care staff to get a new qualification pending the outcome of the first phase of their Independent Care Review.

The new Scottish Credit and Qualifications (SCQF) Level 9 qualification was due to become an SSSC (Scottish Social Services Council) registration requirement for managers, supervisors and new starts from this October (2017).

However, the then Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald MSP, has delayed this saying any recommendations relating to workforce development from the Independent Care Review needs to be taken into account when implementing the new qualifications and introducing new registration requirements.

Study options

A range of colleges, universities and local Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) assessment centres will offer study courses to achieve the qualification. This will allow residential care workers the option of doing a level 9 university accredited course, or a level 9 SQA accredited course in Residential Child Care.

Prior learning

Residential care workers who already hold the appropriate SVQ/HNC will have their prior learning taken into account when identifying how much additional learning and study is required to achieve the new level 9 qualification. Other qualifications, such as a social work degree at honours or masters level and the registered manager's award, will also be taken into account. 

Related reading


Residential child care

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This Practice Note aims to celebrate good practice already taking place throughout Scotland, and give residential child care managers and practitioner…

Residential Child Care Workforce Qualifications Summary

An analysis of workforce data help future workforce planning in implementing the new Level 9 qualification for residential child care workers.


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