Douglas Osler, the senior chief inspector, has long regarded an additional sixth level as "the unfinished business of 5-14". But the previous government put it on the back burner as part of its workload agreement with teachers.
Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, has now decided that concerns over stagnation in pupils' progress warrant a new challenge during the early secondary years.
The draft guidelines cover 15 subjects and are based on the existing Beyond level E guidance. But the Scottish Office makes clear they are relevant for both primary and secondary teachers.
Full details next week