Category Archives: Secondary

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

Inside a Kelpie – the finale to the Emporium of Dangerous Ideas

The finale of the Emporium of Dangerous Ideas was held on June 19th inside one of the iconic Kelpies. It brought together over 100 people who had hosted and attended preceding events during the Emporium. Participants congregated at Helix Park and took part in a range of dangerous conversations en route to the Kelpies. Conversations were hosted by people who had facilitated events during the Emporium, giving participants an opportunity to catch up on anything they may have missed. Once inside the Kelpie, the Emporium was reviewed and the key themes of changing perspectives, risk and failure were explored.

The key reason for hosting the event inside a Kelpie was to raise awareness of perspectives, and how we may restrict ourselves by only viewing something (The Kelpies or education for example) from a particular standpoint. By exploring a Kelpie from the inside we were challenged to consider the different components through all of our senses, thereby changing our understanding and perspective. We were also able to consider the role and experience of failure by reflecting on events that didn’t go to plan or achieve the outcome that was hoped for.

An event like this has never been held before and it required a great deal of partnership work and creative thinking on behalf of the organisers, College Development Network, and their partner education and arts organizations. It provided a model for others in risk taking, celebrating failure and success and providing opportunities for participants to experience a change in perspective.

Throughout the event participants were actively encouraged to think differently, to reflect on their preconceptions and to imagine the possibilities of a change in their thinking and perspectives.

From feedback there would appear to be a willingness to take more risks and an acceptance that failure is an important part of learning.

“ Took away many thoughts…creativity is not hierarchial, always put ideas into practice regardless of expectation to fail, ….we need leadership which allows us to take proper risks if we never fail, we never know the real way to go push boundaries”. Event participant

One of the key things learned from this event was that participants expect us not just to talk about creativity and innovation in learning and teaching but to take risks, model different approaches and share experiences of failure.

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.

iCreate – a Youth Music Initiative Project

iCreate engaged 173 young people, aged 12-17 years, from 11 secondary schools in Glasgow and Inverclyde in 300 hours of music technology workshops after school.

The project aimed to improve access to high quality education in the creative use of music technology for young people in Scotland and to increase skills in music production applicable to all creative arts. The fund had three intended outcomes:

  • Young people engage in learning activities that develop music making skills or music-centred skills including sound engineering and record production
  • Young people build their confidence, self-esteem and develop positive behaviours
  • Young people progress onto further learning and/or personal development opportunities (not restricted to music).

Project partners

Software Training Scotland delivered the training in partnership with 11 secondary school music departments and the Opportunities for All Co-ordinator, Inverclyde Council who identified those participants who would benefit most. Guest speakers from the creative industries raised awareness of progression routes and career options in the industry. Several participants were referred on to the Scottish Music Centre’s Music Plus mentoring programme and West College Scotland provided a venue for the More Choices More Chances group from Inverclyde.

Innovative approaches

A number of innovative approaches were used to meet project outcomes effectively:

  • Partnerships with music industry professionals have provided progression routes for participants
  • The project is mobile and provides high quality equipment for use by young people in venues which are accessible and local to them
  • Participants completed a skills profile to reflect on the skills they gained
  • Social media was used to connect young people and staff

Development of creativity skills

This project not only encouraged learners to develop their creativity skills, but also allowed trainees to develop their skills in supporting young people to explore their own creativity.

The project supported development of the following creativity skills in participants:

Constructively inquisitive:

Young people quickly became interested and found they could learn from the work and processes of other individuals/groups within project. They found listening to other groups/schools work intriguing.

They listened to and learned from the artistic ideas of others.
Able to harness imagination:

They were required to have a vision of how recordings would develop.
Able to identify and solve problems:

Technical problems and artistic challenges were met and solved on a regular basis.

In addition, participants became:

  • Motivated and ambitious for change for the better, including in their own capabilities: young people developed the desire to improve skills in order to continually improve the output of their projects and sought to produce a higher standard.
  • Confident in the validity of their own viewpoint: producing work of a high standard and making a positive contribution built confidence in their own opinions particularly when followed by positive feedback from staff and peers.
  • Able to apply a creative process to other situations: the activity built technical creativity able to be applied across all creative arts and beyond.
  • Able to lead and work well with others, where appropriate: the project was highly collaborative with the lead role changing regularly depending on the current task.

Benefits for young people

72% of participants completed questionnaires at the end of this project, evidencing the following impacts:

  • 173 young people gained new skills in music technology and creativity
  • 4% have already gone on to further education in sound production
  • 89% reported an increase in their confidence and self esteem
  • 95% completed a recording / mixdown
  • 74% completed a skills profile
  • 3 trainees developed skills and experience of delivering creative activity to young people
  • 80% attendance rate
  • 96% said they felt their planning and decision-making skills had improved
  • 96% said their ability and confidence to work in a group improved
  • 100% said they thought the skills would be useful to them in the future
  • 2 tutors benefitted from professional development in Equality and Diversity in the Workplace Training and Special Educational Needs training

In addition, participants were encouraged to reflect on the skills they had developed. 72% have increased awareness of progression routes suitable to their needs.

Benefits for teachers

9 of the 11 teachers completed a report, which evidenced the following impacts:

  • Improved confidence in music performance, music technology and social skills
  • Improved behaviour and focus
  • Increased sound production skills

What we learned

As a result of this project, an informal partnership has developed with the Scottish Music Centre’s Music Plus mentoring programme, with young people being referred on to further develop industry skills and awareness.

The production of a body of work coming from a variety of schools, groups and areas had an inspirational effect on young people, with them able to compare and learn from others and showcase/be proud of their own work.

Other schools/groups that weren’t part of project in 2013 are proactively asking to be part of it.

Software Training Scotland are now working on a potential partnership with Inverclyde Trust for a music recording project for ex-offenders, as a result of this project.


Sound recordings and photos: www.soundcloud/softwaretrainingscotland

Supporting Your Ambition – Employability and Creativity

Supporting Your Ambition was a one-day conference, bringing together a wide range of partners to support and advise young people on careers, further education and training in the land based industries and creative sector. Parallel activities allowed pupil support staff, Head Teachers and other relevant officers to update and inform their practice.

The event, which took place in March 2014, aimed to give young people aged 15-25 years up to date advice and information on career and further education/training choices, and to provide a platform for them to have their say about future services and events designed to support them in making career decisions.

The event was developed by D&G Education Services through the Creative Learning Network (CLN) in partnership with the Employability and Skills Service in response to focus group feedback gathered in last year’s CLN programme.

Delivery partners brought together for the event were: LANTRA, Chamber of Arts, Community Learning and Development, Skills Development Scotland, University of Glasgow and West of Scotland, Dumfries College, Holywood Trust, SQA, Princes Trust & Inspiring Entrepreneurs, Barony College, DWP, Young Scot/Creative Scotland/Creative and Cultural Skills, Modern Apprentices co-ordinator DGC and Local Employers such as the Aston Hotel Dumfries.

Maximising potential through partnership

Through joint planning, the partners were able to create an event which was innovative in scope and scale and which capitalised on existing strategic partnerships. For the Employability Service, land based industries was an area of focus, and the CLN has close links with arts partners through its partnership with the Chamber of Arts.

By sharing their time and resources and creating realistic and joint expectations, whilst putting faith into a new partnership, they were able to create a multi-faceted event and develop new ways of working to support employability.

Developing creativity skills in young people

Participants were encouraged to be open-minded about the offer of the day, and to reflect on their own needs, skills and talents. They were engaged in continuous dialogue with a wide range of professionals in order to understand better what their next steps might be – either further/higher education, training or employment. Participants were also asked to share their ambitions for young people in Dumfries and Galloway and identify barriers affecting their decision making process; they confidently shared their views throughout the day.

The enthusiasm of speakers and facilitators created a real buzz which had a knock on effect for young people and other participants in terms of their own motivation and ambition for change.

“Dumfries and Galloway Council is leading on ensuring that our education and skills provision links directly to the workforce needs of our local employers.  Events such as this which bring together employers, young people and their career supporters help us to make sure that our young people are well prepared to become our region’s workforce for the future.  Similarly young people become aware of the opportunities available here in Dumfries and Galloway and begin to understand what skills and attitudes employers’ value in their employees.”

Lynne Burgess, Employability and Skills Service

“We truly wanted to get to the crux of what young people were thinking about their future careers and to listen and talk to them about some of the difficulties they encounter when making such big decisions. The feedback from the day gives us a clear picture of this and will help us move forward in how we practically support young people in Dumfries and Galloway.”

Lesley Sloan, Curriculum and School Improvement Team

What difference has the event made?

Further joint planning and information sharing is already taking place between Education and Employability Services and CLD who learned that young people really need their support and understanding of the pressures they feel trying to make their way in the world.

A hugely positive outcome of this project has been the strong partnership and close bond created by departments coming together who are all working for the good of the young people.

Although it is too early to say whether the event will have a direct impact on young people taking up further/higher education places, the organising partners hope that the event will attract more modern apprenticeship opportunities to the region through the MA Co-ordinator for Young Scot/Creative Scotland/Creative & Cultural Skills as well as increased numbers of young people taking up local job/training opportunities.

Next steps

Building on the partnership this year, the Employability and Education Services will continue to work together to plan for a similar event for 2015. Based on the feedback from this year, they are working towards a mini Scottish Learning Festival style event with a wider range of employers, partners, training and further education providers to support and advise young people. Together, they will create a bank of ‘good’ employers with a series of short film clips that will support young people in their decision-making. They will also create some promotional material based on people from the region who have ‘made it ’ to inspire young people to be ambitious and think beyond their original expectations. Follow up meetings are being arranged with the DG Modern Apprentice Co-ordinator and the Creative Scotland MA Co-ordindator to examine a] opportunities that have been taken up and b] opportunities to be explored with creative partners.

The Employability Service is also working on developing a regional employability award.

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:

The Book I will Never Forget (Scottish Book Trust)


The Scottish Book Trust worked with Bishopbriggs Academy to adapt the ‘Book That Changed my Life’ campaign for use in a schools context.  The pupils at Bishopbriggs adapted the project to The Book I Will Never Forget and spent a week collecting stories, interviews and writing their own personal response to the project.  Collectively, they developed a series of podcasts sharing a range of stories around the topic.

The project developed support materials for the project, following planning meetings with the Principle teacher of English, which clearly linked the project with Curriculum for Excellence – particularly the Literacy and English outcomes and Experiences.  Because the project was implemented in Bishopbriggs as part of Determind to Succeed, the approach also focussed on skills for life, and included interviewing techniques, collaborative planning and working, team work and problem solving.


The project was developed as part of the school’s enterprise approach with the aim of building a sustainable relationship with an organisation (Scottish Book Trust.)  SBT was interested in developing methodologies for schools to engage with The Book That Changed My Life. Supporting pupils at Bishopbriggs to develop their own version of the project offered an excellent opportunity to understand the impact of this campaign within the context of Curriculum for Excellence.

Scottish Book Trust wanted pupils to understand the impact and meaning that books can have upon individuals’ lives and to apply that understanding to their own reading.  It was the intention that pupils would develop knowledge of how to design and conduct an interview to gather desired information, and use that information to make podcasts to share the findings of the project.  By the end of the project pupils were able to share the story of the book they would never forget, make podcasts of interviews they had collected from the school population and its community.


Evaluation with the participating pupils at the end of the project demonstrated that a majority of pupils agreed that this project had helped them to develop their talking and listening skills, and that the activity had made a positive impact on their attitude to reading.  Further to this, a large majority of pupils agreed that they had enjoyed this approach to learning and would like to do more activities like this in English.

Some feedback from pupils:

  • – the main aims of the project were made clear at the start of the project and they were set clear achievable targets
  • – felt they had successfully overcame a particular problem
  • – agreed that they were set a challenging task
  • – agreed the project helped them develop their talking and listening skills and that they enjoyed this approach to learning
  • – felt that the project had made a positive impact on their approach to reading

Bishopbriggs has been shortlisted for a Determind to Succeed award and this project formed a key part of their presentation to the prize committee.



  • – Scottish Book trust
  • – Bishopbriggs Academy
  • – Members of the community

Levels and stages:

  • – Third and fourth levels
  • – All S1 pupils


  • – Scottish Book Trust staff time

For more information contact:

Philippa Cochrane, Learning Manager (Scottish Book Trust) on 0131 524 0160 or email

Or visit:

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


Everyone’s A Critic – Scottish Chamber Orchestra


SCO Connect worked with staff and S5 and S6 pupils in Firrhill High School and Forrester High School in Edinburgh. Everyone’s a Critic takes a look at what it means to write about music and examines the ideas underpinning critical writing about the arts.

Over 3 months, students worked with a professional music critic and were given opportunities to attend concerts and write their own reviews with professional advice and feedback.

The project looked at the following ideas:

  • – critical analysis of the experience of attending a concert, not the music
  • – developing critical skills – listening and writing
  • – experience of live concerts
  • – engaging with the expressive arts and literacy experiences and outcomes

Everyone’s a Critic was not seeking to work through a deep and detailed musical analysis, rather, the project was about exploring the skills of writing about the experience of attending a live music concert.

Students attended an SCO concerts and wrote practice reviews. These reviews were read by a journalist who then provided each student with suggestions for improvement before they wrote a final review of a different concert.

The project introduced students to a specialist type of journalism, stressing the importance of working to tight deadlines. This gave students an opportunity to access the expertise of professional journalists and learn from the experience.

Everyone's a critic

Click here to read Firrhill High School Students’ reviews

Click here to read Forrester High School  students’ reviews


The project was developed to encourage Higher Music and English students to listen critically to music, and develop the skills to write about a specialised subject. The design of the project was intended that the critical writing skills developed in response to listening to music and attending live concerts should be transferrable to other artforms and situations. The project also brought students to a series of concerts around Edinburgh featuring different repertoire and in different venues.

The project involved:

  • – 20 Higher Music and English students
  • – 3 teachers (2 x music and 1 x English)
  • – 1 workshop leader and full orchestra
  • – 1 professional journalist

Everyone’s A Critic was designed to link to the following Experiences and Outcomes:

  • – EXA 3-91a, EXA 4-19a
  • – LIT 3-02a, LIT 4-02a, LIT 3-05a/LIT 4-05a
  • – ENG 3-27a/ENG 4-27a
  • – LIT 3-28a, LIT 4-28a


Scottish Chamber Orchestra plans to develop a resource for teachers on how to write critically about music. This resource will be available from the SCO Connect website. The resource should enable a wider audience to benefit from the aims of Everyone’s A Critic, not just those in the Edinburgh area.

SCO Connect is also investigating the possibility of any school in Scotland entering reviews of concerts to be submitted on the SCO website with possible feedback from a journalist giving suggestions for improvement.

SCO Connect is also exploring the possibility of offering Everyone’s A Critic through Glow.



  • – SCO Connect
  • – City of Edinburgh Council

Levels and stages:

  • – Senior Phase
  • – S5 and S6


  • – SCO Connect Core budget
  • – City of Edinburgh Council

For more information contact:

Lucy Lowe, SCO Connect Director on 0131 478 8355 or email


Music Factory and Masterworks – Scottish Chamber Orchestra


66 Advanced Higher Music pupils from 22 schools across six local authorities participated in Music Factory. Students worked on the creation of individual compositions inspired by musical concepts from the ‘Masterworks’ repertoire. The students composed new work for a trio of Scottish Chamber Orchestra musicians with support and guidance from a professional composer. The composers lead workshops in schools over a 3 month period and at the final session, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra made an informal recording of the work. Each student and their teacher received a copy of the recording.

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Music Factory involved:

  • – 66 Advanced Higher music students
  • – 6 local authority areas
  • – 10 teachers
  • – 2 professional composers
  • – 10 Scottish Chamber Orchestra musicians

The project schedule is available through Glow.

Masterworks schools workshop


SCO Connect’s flagship ‘Masterworks’ project for standard and higher grade students has reached many hundreds of pupils and has proved incredibly popular. Masterworks was so successful that it raised the question ‘what can you do for us now’?’ from teachers, pupils and parents, resulting in the development of Music Factory.

Music Factory was developed to support teachers in an aspect of the music curriculum often cited as being one in which they feel least comfortable. It also offers young composers the chance to engage with professional players and composers, thus understanding the reality of composing new music for players.

The project was designed to offer senior pupils and the more advanced ‘Masterworks’ participants an opportunity to further hone their grasp of the musical concepts and techniques they had been studying, by putting them into practice.

The purpose of Music Factory is:

  • – To support and complement composition in Advanced Higher Music
  • – To offer teachers and pupils the opportunity to engage with professional musicians and composers
  • – To inspire young musicians through the work of contemporary orchestral masterpieces
  • – To nurture young composers’ skills and confidence
  • – To develop young composers’ understanding of musical techniques and concepts by putting them into practice

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Teachers were strongly encouraged to attend sessions along with their pupils, in order to understand the process and be able to support the young composers as they worked on pieces in school between workshops sessions.

In practice it proved difficult for many staff to get themselves released from timetable to do so, however the design of the project enabled teachers to use the material produced by the composer with lower level classes.

“I have used the material with a lower level higher class. The results have been excellent.” (teacher)

Those teachers who did attend found the experience useful as good CPD and have gone on to apply the experience with other classes.

“It was good to ‘force’ the pupils to compose without their instruments or a computer programme. As a teacher, I also found the sessions extremely valuable as it reminded me that there is more than one way to approach composition. Thank you.” (teacher)

Funding agreements were reached with each of the local authorities involved in order to ensure schools could participate.

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Young composers reported that they had been challenged and encouraged to expand their creative thinking and practice:

“I used to hate composition, but the workshops showed me I can actually do it, they game me much more confidence and more enthusiasm to compose more music. Thanks!” (Young composer)

“I liked getting to work with professional orchestral players and communicate with other musicians” (Young composer)

Teachers responded positively:

“Would love to have this opportunity again – really inspiring and refreshing’ (teacher)

“It was interesting to observe the pupils being taken out of their comfort zone and getting to work with instruments they were not familiar with.” (teacher)



  • – Scottish Chamber Orchestra Connect
  • – 6 local authorities

Levels and Stages:

  • – Senior phase
  • – S6


  • – SCO core budget (via Scottish Government)
  • – Participating local authorities
  • – SCO ‘250’ Society
  • – Scott Davidson Charitable Trust
  • – Educational Institute of Scotland

Experiences and Outcomes:

The project specifically linked to the experiences and outcomes as follows:

EXA 4 71a, 17b, 18a and 19a

For More information contact:

Lucy Lowe, SCO Connect Director on 0131 478 8355 or email

or visit