A NEW qualification, equivalent to a Scottish Higher, will be trialled at Alloa Academy during a pilot scheme.

The qualification, called the International Sustainability Diploma, is open to learners across Scotland and beyond, and will be piloted at a number of schools this year ahead of a wider launch in 2025.

Other schools participating in the pilot scheme, launched by the Futures Institute at Dollar Academy, include Braes High School, Speyside High School, Clifton Hall School and Dollar Academy.

The diploma offers a different style of learning and teaching and will allow students to learn through developing solutions to real world problems in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The course has been set in line with Scottish Highers, meaning it will allow progression into further and higher education.

Ian Munro, rector of Dollar Academy and FIDA founder, said: “Over the past year, we have been working with universities, colleges and industry to deliver the FIDA Sustainability Diploma and we are thrilled to launch the accredited course to young people across the country.

“The diploma allows learners to collaborate, to problem solve, to manage time and resources, and showcase the skills that will be useful for the challenges they will face beyond school.

“It is an ambitious qualification in terms of design, content and delivery, that will enable our youngsters to be a real force for good in an ever-changing world.”

The diploma will offer an alternative route outwith a traditional examination, allowing students to build a portfolio of work and have opportunities to present it throughout the year.

They will start by exploring the concepts of sustainability through the UN SDGs and create a social media campaign to raise awareness of an SDG of their choosing.

This qualification has been launched through FIDA, which began in 2021 to tackle sustainability and place it front and centre within education.

FIDA secured Scottish Government funding to support the credit-rating of their diploma, working closely with Glasgow Clyde College to ensure it meets the criteria for a Level 6 qualification.

Jenny Gilruth, cabinet secretary for education, added: “The Scottish Government is committed to developing a system of qualifications and assessment that ensures pupils are well-equipped to tackle future challenges as they progress through education.

“Young people are facing a range of global challenges, including the climate emergency, which is why we have supported Dollar Academy to gain accreditation of its sustainability diploma, as part of the implementation of our Learning for Sustainability Action Plan.

“I am pleased that vitally important education resources such as these can be accessed for free by pupils across the country.”