University of Edinburgh

SSC Braille Competency Course: Uncontracted Braille

This course has been validated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and on satisfactory completion of the course a SQA Certificate will be awarded. This is a distance learning course and is for all those working with children/people who use uncontracted braille, ie, teachers, learning support assistants, parents, etc. Course members will have up to 3 months, from receipt of the course materials, to complete the course including the Final Assessment.

The SSC’s Braille course is based on the centre’s belief that all learners of Braille should do so by using a Perkins Braille Writer (or other paper carrying machine) and paper. Offering a Braille course that can be accessed via an electronic device may mislead a new and/or inexperienced practitioner into believing that this is also the best way to teach young children. Effective and efficient use of two hands is essential for reading and interpreting tactile diagrams; this technique can only be developed by reading a hard Braille copy, never by using a Braille display that shows only a single line at a time. For young children learning Braille the importance of developing a good, two-handed reading technique can never be overemphasised.


This course offers the opportunity to acquire expertise in reading and writing uncontracted braille. The course is presented in one stage and contains writing exercises along with flat and raised braille reading material. Course members must have access to a standard Perkins Brailler and supply their own braille paper.

At the end of the course, an assessment comprising of a comprehension and a writing exercise is completed and submitted to the Course Tutor for marking. The Final Assessment is undertaken without the use of reference materials and must be supervised by a person in authority.

Course Tutor: Diane McLellan

Course Fees for 2018-19 (April-January)

£325 Standard fee
£225 Concession for parents/unwaged
£375 (outside UK)

Please note that the course fee is not refundable.

The uncontracted braille course can be joined joined at the start of a month, from April to the following January (an application for January must be received in early December). Course members will have up to 3 months, from receipt of the course materials, to complete the course including the Final Assessment.

The fee includes:

  • payment to the SQA for registration and certification;
  • complete course materials;
  • tutor time (correction, feedback on assessments and support by letter/email/telephone), and
  • final assessment materials.

Application Process

The course application form is in Word Document and PDF formats in the sidebar.

There is space for background information, and this includes any special support required, so that the Course Tutor and Centre can plan how best to provide appropriate support throughout the course.

Applications put forward by a school/service must be authorised by a line manager. Full invoice details are essential: please quote purchase order number and/or attach the official purchase order. There is an online link for card payments that will also request the application form information. Please check that a place is available before using this application route.

Please ensure that the application form is fully completed as missing information may delay registration onto the course and the form may be returned.

For statistical purposes, for the SSC’s Annual Report to its funding body and the SQA, the SSC requests information on whether the work-base is a mainstream school, special unit, or other, and pupil age range focus; we would be grateful if you would supply as much information as possible.

Receipt of applications will be acknowledged. If a place is available a confirmation email will be issued along with a Personal Details statement and a Course Agreement form; both should be checked, updated if required, signed and returned. When details are confirmed arrangements will be made to send out course materials, along with a countersigned copy of the Course Agreement and other relevant course related information, for the course start date.

SQA Registration for Certification Purposes

Requires includes full name, date of birth and home address so that when you are registered for this award, the SQA can either match up details or create a new record; your home address is where the SQA will send your certificate in due course. ATtendance and taking exams at a Scottish school/college should mean an SQA Candidate Numberalready exists (please remember to provide name and address applicable at that time; if not, one will be created.

Data Protection Agreement

By completing the application form you agree to the SSC holding your personal details, in relation to this course, until the retention period has expired for your course cohort - maximum time will be 2 years from the month the last candidate of a particular cohort completes; the course archive will then be securely destroyed.