Laboratory Science (National 5) Resources

The National 5 Laboratory Science course is one of the Skills for Work courses. According to the SQA

“These Courses are  designed to provide students with opportunities for developing their Core Skills and  skills and attitudes for employability.

The Course (Lab Science) is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills which will be required for employment/further study in laboratory science. It will develop an awareness of the wide range of employment options within industry and the service sector, and enable students to gain a range of employability skills which are of particular relevance to laboratory science.

The specific aims of the Course are to:

  • encourage students to consider a career in industries and services using laboratory science
  • develop an awareness of the opportunities there may be within the sector in terms of the types and range of career options
  • develop the basic skills of measuring, weighing, and preparing compounds and solutions for laboratory
  • use develop the skills of communicating laboratory information
  • develop students’ understanding and use of the requirements of maintaining health and safety in a laboratory environment
  • develop problem solving and numeracy skills in the context of a laboratory
  • provide opportunities for the personal development of skills and attitudes which will improve the students’ employment potential within the sector
  • develop the students’ awareness of their individual strengths and weaknesses in relation to the requirements of the sector, and to reflect on how this affects their employability potential.”

Unlike many, if not most, National 5 courses, this one is not assessed by means of an end of course exam, but rather it takes a portfolio approach. While this removes some pressures from students (and teachers) it does raise other issues and should not be seen just as an option for someone ‘not good at exams’. Good attendance (by the student) and good organisation (by the teacher) are essential.

SSERC has recently started running courses to support this course, having noted its rapidly growing popularity. And these pages reflect this growing interest.

Given what we do at SSERC, we have focussed on practical work and on Health and Safety. The significant area about Laboraty Science in the workplace is one we feel is outwith our area of expertise.

In the pages below this, you will find information on:

Health and Safety: the Law, Risk assessment, Storage, spillage and disposal of chemicals and some Student Safety Sheets (a more accessible source of information on chemicals hazards for students than our website).

Practical skills: microbiology,  radioactivity, titration, weighing and measuring and more

Use of scientific equipment


A group of Biology and Chemistry teachers took part in an industrial placement at Merck BioReliance in May 2023. The aim was to gain a deeper understanding of job opportunities and routes into the Life Sciences sector for young people. A Learner Resource was developed to support young people working through the N5 Laboratory Science course. Click here to access.