Category Archives: Primary

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: SCO VIBE

Background to the project

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is one of Scotland’s National Performing Arts Companies. The orchestra performs regularly in Scotland and overseas. In addition to this performing role, the SCO have an education programme. SCO Connect works to provide opportunities for schools, families, communities, and young people to engage with music. The SCO VIBE project is delivered by SCO Connect.

SCO VIBE is a new music opportunity which has been developed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in partnership with Edinburgh City Council. VIBE offers the opportunity for young people with some musical ability to come together in the holidays and work with professional musicians and tutors to write and perform music.

Vibe fusion band is aimed at young people who would not traditionally engage with the work of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra or the ensembles currently being offered by the Edinburgh City Council.

Recruitment for VIBE was focused on areas of multiple deprivation. SCO worked with schools, music teachers, and the City Council’s community education department to ensure that the programme targeted young people who may not otherwise have taken part in this type of activity. To increase the pool of young people coming forward, workshops were organised in schools in some of the more deprived areas to encourage participation of the target groups.

Purpose of the project

The project was designed to offer music development opportunities for young people, particularly young people who may not otherwise take part in this type of music activity (orchestral music). VIBE was also designed to be open to a broader spectrum of young musicians than other music programmes. The band includes non-orchestral instruments (guitars, voice, drums), and teaches music aurally, so there is no requirement for young people to be able to read music. This opens up participation to more ability ranges and types of instrument. Young people not only learn to play in ensembles, but also compose the music that they play

The project also provides opportunities for some of the more advanced participants to develop their skills in composition through an additional weekend workshop. These young people then support the younger members in composition.

The programme also offers volunteering opportunities for music students from Napier University and Edinburgh College. Students who take part as volunteers support the instrument groups within workshop sessions, and gain skills and experience in delivering music support at this level. The volunteers also benefit from working alongside professional musicians from Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Edinburgh city Council Music Service, learning new skills in teaching but also broadening their knowledge about possible career paths in the industry.

Project delivery

Three VIBE projects have taken place to date. Two were delivered in week-long programmes during school holiday periods – in April and July 2013. A third project took place over two consecutive weekends in October 2013. A future programme is being planned for early 2014.

While some participants are new to each event, others have attended each project.

Outcomes for young people

Young people participating in the summer programme reported having learned new techniques in playing by ear, improvising, and composing music with others.

“playing by ear – I was already trying to do that, but this has really forced me to practice. I’m so much better now”

“being able to listen to what’s happening, and adapt what you’re doing.”

Young participants in the SCO VIBE reported significant increases in their confidence in playing music. The setting, of composing and playing with other young people and adults in a mixed ability ensemble had given some the confidence to play more freely:

“I used to be really nervous of doing my own fills (drummer) – this is the first time I’ve really got into it and just gone ahead and done them”

There had also been an impact on young people’s more general musical ability:

“last time I came, I couldn’t do a flutter tongue. After the week, I could. You learn here just from being around other players, you learn from the air.”

“It’s really helping me with Higher music – lots of the terms I’ve been trying to learn, you just pick them up here, everyone is using them”.

Finally, although many of the participants are involved in learning music outside the band (for example a number are studying music at school at Higher and Advanced Higher level) they felt that being involved in SCO VIBE had been valuable experience of a kind which wasn’t offered elsewhere. It had added to their enjoyment and their understanding of music.

“It does feel professional here. This is how people come up with music when they’re in a real band.”

“It’s allowed me to play a lot more music”

“I want to play a lot more. Maybe join more ensembles or bands – it’s reminded me that music is fun and not just what we do for Higher.”

“This is a lot free-er than what we do for the Higher / advanced Higher”

Outcomes for young professionals

SCO VIBE also offers volunteering places for music students and graduates. The placements offer an opportunity for young and emerging professionals to work in a community education setting and experience a different way of teaching and supporting young musicians. The SCO also hope that there might be professional benefits for young musicians in making connections with other music professionals already working in their fields of interest.

Volunteers were motivated to get involved with SCO Vibe as it offered a unique learning opportunity:

“There aren’t any other ensembles of this size, with the variety of instruments and mixed age groups and abilities. I wanted to learn more about how it could work”

Volunteers reported that they had learned more about how to teach music in a different way and had also gained confidence in their own ability to teach and to support young musicians:

“This is a unique opportunity to learn. There aren’t any big ensembles like this anywhere else “

“Working here, helping to keep the group together and working in the right direction – it’s a great feeling to see it working well”

“I’ve really picked up a lot of teaching ideas from this. Different ways to do warm-up exercises, more ways to integrate improvisation into teaching…. This will make me a better teacher.”

“Seeing the growth in the group since Easter – young people moving forward, becoming more confident about taking part in compositions and playing more forcefully  – it’s fantastic”

“Even though I’m one of the youngest workers here, the other adults listen to me and treat me as a professional – that’s been a boost for me.”

The additional benefit for volunteers was that they had made contacts and connections with other musicians and professionals which had built their professional networks.

“I’ve made connections here with people who work at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and people who work in music tuition at Edinburgh city council. It’s been good to develop professional relationships with other musicians.”

“I’ve been chatting to other instrument teachers and finding out about other projects which might offer opportunities for me in Edinburgh – it’s been really useful”

“I’ve made connections here which might help me find work – spoken to people involved in other music projects I could volunteer in, met people who are involved in teaching instruments.”

Cashback investment: £30,000

Above Scotland

Above Scotland took an aerial photography exhibition as the starting point for an ambitious creative journey, empowering schools to make a difference to their local environment of such ambition that it could be photographed from the air.

Large scale aerial photographs taken of the areas around participating schools inspired thinking about the participants’ place in the world and served as a stimulus for their very own creative process. This developed the learners’ creativity skills and culminated in a pupil-designed intervention that meant something to them in relation to the landscape and their community.

Created and led by Architecture and Design Scotland’s dedicated Education team, it was the project’s exciting new partnerships between schools, DO Architecture, and RCAHMS that made the ambitious plans possible.

Taking a larger perspective

Learners from Inveraray, Inverness and Harris gained an understanding of their environment in terms of how it affects theirs and others lives. They considered the impact of the built environment and landscape on communities and translated their thoughts and opinions into a creative output, working with others to communicate a message about the place. It was vital to the project that the intervention took place on the site concerned, building a close relationship with place and fostering a deep understanding of the landscape.

Above Scotland used material from an exhibition at The Lighthouse, Glasgow, as a teaching resource to initiate a creative process. The project facilitated learning about the built environment and landscape, alongside the development of creativity skills. The project also gave the exhibition a legacy beyond its time at The Lighthouse and humanised the exhibition, making it more accessible.

“Proud to have been involved in this super exhibition, as Headteacher of the two schools involved on the Harris content. It was a true Curriculum for Excellence experience for the children who took part.” Headteacher

“It was good because we learnt stuff but in a funner way than just sitting in class.” Workshop participant

“The best bit was we got to decide what we wanted to do rather than being told what to do.” Teacher

Changing the landscape

The experience broke with traditional learning by centering upon the creative process with no end results in mind. Participants were trusted to create the material for themselves and encouraged to develop their creativity skills by being curious about their place, posing questions and using their existing knowledge to collect ideas. They specifically looked for patterns and anomalies in the landscape that drew their attention.

Participants had to reflect critically on the effectiveness and impact of their ideas, testing and refining them in practice before being carried out on site.

Due to the nature of the project certain elements were weather dependent and participants had to adapt and problem solve right to the end of the process. All of this developed the participants’ creativity skills in a clear and purposeful way.

The project was recognized as being innovative, and shortlisted as a finalist for Creativity in Schools, at the 2012 Creative Scotland Awards. It also led to one teacher gaining Professional Recognition for Creativity by the General Teaching Council of Scotland.

LOOK! (Pier Arts Centre, Orkney)


LOOK! was developed as an enterprise project for primary one pupils and was designed to introduce pupils to a creative environment and to help them understand and apply enterprising skills. Over several months during 2007/2008, 20 pupils from Class 1 at Dounby primary school were involved in researching all aspects of the Pier Arts Centre’s activity. They examined the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of running an Arts Centre and were direct involved in curating and marketing their own exhibition and organising a preview event for parents at the gallery.

LOOK! involved:

  • – 20 P1 pupils from Dounby primary school
  • – 3 teachers (a head teacher, a visiting specialist and the class teachers)
  • – All of the Pier Arts Centre Gallery staff
  • – Scottish Arts Council funded trainee education worker
  • – Parents and families
  • – P1 pupils from Stromness primary school


The aim was to provide a practical and active learning experience in a non-school environment.

LOOK! was developed by the Arts Centre Education staff in collaboration with Dounby Primary school for the following reasons:

  • To support schools provide creative and imaginative learning in partnership
  • To develop a strong relationship between Orkeny island Council and the Arts centre
  • To engage young parents in a rural community with the schools and the arts centre
  • To demonstrate the role the visual arts have in the delivery of other curriculum areas besides the expressive arts.

It was also intended for the pupils to develop an understanding of what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ at an art gallery and for them to know and understand the various jobs that are undertaken by gallery staff. Children took on and delivered these tasks themselves in a practical and real working environment with gallery professionals


The challenges delivering the project were mainly to do with working with such a young age group and how the staff engaged the children with the complex organisational structure of the Arts Centre. A good deal of support was given to teachers and children helping them to understand the process and integrate the ideas. They also provided support in helping the children make critical decisions and select the artwork for the exhibition.

Other challenges were:

  • – practical transport issues
  • – managing a large number of young children in the gallery
  • – the amount of arts centre staff time
  • – ensuring active engagement with the project

All these were overcome by planning and evaluating in partnership as the project evolved and by involving teachers, parents, the trainee education worker at the gallery, visiting specialist teacher and support staff.


The pupils have made many return visits to the gallery, giving their friends and families ‘tours’ of the artwork especially the permanent collection housed at the gallery

The ‘preview’ event allowed for teachers to meet parents in an informal occasion – especially some who had been difficult to encourage into the school environment



  • – The Pier Arts Centre
  • – Dounby Primary School
  • – Orkney Island Council

Levels and stages:

  • – Early
  • – P1


  • – Pier Arts Centre core budget

For more information contact:

Carol Dunbar, Education Office, The Pier Arts Centre on 01856 859 209 or email

Or visit:

Authors Live (Scottish Book Trust)


The Authors Live programme exploits cutting-edge technology to bring the best children’s authors to children, young people and their parents across the UK. The project broadcasts children’s author events live over the internet, in conjunction with the BBC. The events are also recorded and available to watch and download from the Scottish Book Trust website.

The project successfully engages parents in sharing the same high-quality arts activity their children take part in at school. Video recordings of the events are available to watch and download from the Scottish Book Trust website.

The Scottish Book Trust provides teachers resources for each event suitable for the age group and stage of that particular event before-hand. The resource features activities for preparation for the event, links to the actual event and suggestions for activities to follow the event up. Each resource also clearly signposts links with Curriculum for Excellence and covers experiences and outcomes across all appropriate levels and in a wide range of curriculum areas. You can visit the Scottish Book Trust Events Glow group to watch our events through Glow Meet.

There are links to the live events and more at the foot of this page.

Michael Rosen Michael Rosen Michael Rosen


Scottish Book Trust’s main objectives for the Meet Our Authors programme are:

  • – to meet soaring demand for the best children’s author events
  • – to allow as many children as possible to participate, no matter where they live or what their economic circumstances are
  • – allow teachers to access transformational events from the comfort of their UK classroom, at no cost to the child or school

Julia Donaldson Julia Donaldson Julia Donaldson

The aim is to introduce pupils to the great quality literature that is available and for them to understand the connection between the books they enjoy and the person who wrote them. A further aim is to support pupils to understand the benefits and pleasures of discussing books with their peers, parents and teachers, and build up a relationship with their favourite authors.

To date the programme has featured a wide range of top authors, including Julia Donaldson, Michael Rosen, David Walliams, David Almond and many more. Two further events are planned with Polly Dunbar and Tony Robinson: schools who register to watch will be entered into a prize draw to win one of five class sets of the author’s books for each event.

Accessing the author events were:

  • – 32 local authorities
  • – c. 105,000 children and young people (Michael Rosen)
  • – c. 82,000 children (Julia Donaldson)

Craingentinny - Julia Donaldson Event Michael Rosen Julia Donaldson


Feedback from events:

  • “Great to involve children directly. My children felt very special to be spoken to by Julia herself!” (Teacher, Niddrie Mill Primary School)
  • “We really enjoyed the event and all the children loved the song and the visit from the Gruffalo. We had used the ideas from the teacher resources and had been focussing on Julia’s books for a few weeks before the event so it made a great climax to our work.” (Teacher, Burravoe Primary School)
  • – “It was wonderful to be able to provide an event for World Book Day without breaking the budget.” (Teacher, Coleraine High School)

The events have provided a stimulus for some fabulous teaching practice. Whether you just want to dip in and do one activity, or you want to do an extended project, Scottish Book Trust have resources and case studies to help you. Visit the ‘Get the Most Out of Our Programmes’ section of Scottish Book Trust’s site for more information.



  • – Scottish Book Trust
  • – BBC
  • – Schools, nurseries and parents across the UK

Levels and stages:

  • – First, second, third and fourth levels (Michael Rosen)
  • – Early and first levels (Julia Donaldson)
  • – P1 – S3


  • – National Lottery Inspiring Communities Fund
  • – Scottish Friendly Assurance

For more information contact:

Jasmine Fassl, Children’s Programme Manager (Scottish Book Trust) on 0131 524 0160 or email


Authors Live page on Scottish Book Trust website:

Below are three previous events which should give you a flavour of the programme:

Authors Live Poetry Slam (S1 to S6)

Full-length event:

Highlights from the BBC website:


A great blog by Peter Kelly from Holy Cross High School about his use of the event:

A teaching resource designed by Helen McKenzie from Lanark Grammar School:

Authors Live with Oliver Jeffers (Nursery to P3)

Full length event:

Highlights from the BBC website:


Authors Live with David Walliams (P4 to S2)

Full length event:

Highlights from the BBC website:


A blog from Mairi Livingstone at Easdale Primary about using the event to inspire her pupils in writing:

Meet Our Authors Online Hub links:

What’s the War Got To Do With Us? – WWII and Heritage in Banff


Previous arts education work for schools developed by Aberdeenshire Council’s Cultural Co-ordinators on the Theme of World War II provided the perfect starting point to link Museums Galleries Scotland’s national project, ‘Remembering Scotland at War’.

‘What’s the War Got To Do With Us?’ engaged schools in Aberdeenshire in a multi-layered partnership brokered by the Arts Education Team. Emerging from work on the theme of WW2 around unique artefacts in the Banff area and Duff House Museum, artists and researchers were engaged to work with local schools and the community to create an exciting and informative exhibition.

Children's artwork

The project involved:

  • – 626 pupils in P6 – S2
  • – 38 teachers
  • – 1 academy and 3 primary schools
  • – 7 artists
  • – 1 researcher


The project was build upon previous arts education work and it’s purpose was:

  • – To engage pupils with the topic of World War 2 through learning in partnership with the local community, heritage groups and professional artists
  • – To deepen understanding about World War 2, the local context and the impact on modern society  as well as the local community
  • – To reveal to teachers, pupils and the community, aspects of Duff House Country Museum  that are important resources but essentially unknown
  • – To create a virtual and touring and exhibition with the potential to education more widely and for use as a future teaching and interpretive resource

To develop opportunities where children and young people would benefit from working with creative professionals to simultaneously develop skills and understanding about World War 2 and in the expressive arts

activity at Duff house


  • – Short time scale between the receiving of the grant and the activating of the project was awkward
  • – Imminent loss of Cultural Co-ordinators, who were pivotal in the project and who retain a role in the project development
  • – Some of the best material in Duff House is extremely difficult to photograph.

The Arts Education Team was instrumental in working through the challenges.

“….. Arts Education team gave me sufficient information in advance to carry out the project to the best of my ability; the staff were well prepared, welcoming and supportive; the class teacher continued to work with the children between my visits.  The pupils enjoyed bringing the past to life through movement and acting.” (Charles Barron, actor and playwright)

working together


The effects of the project were widely felt, it:

  • – Significantly raised the profile and relevance of Duff House, especially for educational purposes
  • – Raised the public awareness of the focus geographic area
  • – Gave pupils and school staff a valuable series of cultural experiences that significantly supported Curriculum for Excellence in an area that is remote from cultural hubs
  • – Raised the standard, quality and expectation of heritage and arts projects in the Banff area

“This was a great project; it fully engaged our upper stage pupils in the history of their town and gave them a useful sense of what it was like to live during those testing times. The project addressed many of the Experiences and Outcomes of the Social Studies, Expressive Arts and Technologies subject areas and helped us to ensure that our children were able to ‘learn in, about and through the unique natural, cultural and economic environment of Aberdeenshire and the North-east’- as recommended in the Aberdeenshire 3-18 Curriculum Guidelines.  It was a wonderful opportunity for our pupils to meet and work with professional artists and craftspeople and especially the researcher, Allan Burnett, who came with a knowledge and freshness that enthralled the children.”’ (Jenny Stone, Head Teacher Banff primary School)

“The knowledge that they were taking part in a joint project and that their work was going on display gave the pupils a boost and gave them more incentive.” (Violet Milne, craftmaker)



  • – Aberdeenshire Arts Education Team
  • – Museums Galleries Scotland
  • – Banff Heritage Group
  • – Boyndie Airfield Preservation Society
  • – Duff house Gallery
  • – Local citizens

Levels and stages:

  • – Second and Third levels
  • – P6 – S2


  • – Aberdeenshire Council
  • – Scottish Arts Council
  • – Heritage Lottery Fund
  • – Friends of Duff House

For More information contact:

David Atherton, Arts Education Co-ordinator (Creative Links) on 01224 665363 or email