Category Archives: Health and Wellbeing

Prison Learning – What’s the Point? Labels, Stigma and Hope

On 11th June the creative writing and drama students from Glenochil Prison Learning Centre hosted a creative conversation as part of College Development Network’s The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas.

This was the culmination of a six week drama/Scottish Studies project in which students explored aspects of labeling and learning in Scotland through drama and writing processes.

The students performed a powerful piece of theatre and then hosted five separate conversations, based on topics of particular relevance to them in an open space format.

The aim of the final creative conversation was to be able to explore a range of crucial questions in a creative and innovative way with a range of participants from within and out-with the prison.

Questions included:

  • Are labels self-fulfilling?
  • When are labels useful, needed or important?
  • Positive learning in prison vs negative/sensationalist labels in the media
  • Is personal growth as important as gaining qualifications in learning?
  • Prisons learning and progression – how to progress on release with an offender label.

Following the event students wrote up their findings and identified areas that could be developed further by themselves, the Learning Centre or other parties.

Who was involved?

The project was delivered by New College Lanarkshire, Glenochil Prison Learning Centre and Scottish Prison Service.

Participants included students: fellow prisoners, prison learning manager, prison psychologist, prison chaplain, offender outcomes manager, lecturers from other prisons, artists, criminal justice researcher and Business Gateway representative.

What core skills were developed?

Students developed questions for the final event through performance, presentation, drama, reflection and writing processes.

The final performance/conversation event required all participants to challenge preconceptions, raise questions and explore potential solutions to problems with open and enquiring minds.

Performers had to be prepared for potential hostility from an audience who may have very different ideas/experiences to their own; they had to develop strategies to facilitate conversations that may include points of view they might disagree with. Likewise, guest participants had to be open to the lived experiences and emotions of the performers as well as to views they may disagree with.

According to participant feedback and learner reflections, the following characteristics were developed:

  • Motivated and ambitious for change for the better, including in their own capabilities
  • Confident in the validity of their own viewpoint
  • Able to apply creative processes to other situations
  • Able to lead and work well with others

What impacts did the project have?

The project has had the following impacts on participants, students and staff:

  • More engaged learners
  • More understanding and support for this kind of work within the prison
  • Expressions of interest in future collaborations across agencies both within and outwith the prison – eg. learners suggested a similar event could be held with trainee social workers
  • Staff learned not to be scared to do new things, to contextualize work appropriately and to ask for support when necessary

An unexpected outcome was that prison staff from other departments engaged positively with the whole project, enhancing processes across the board.

You can contact College Development Network here:

01786  892 000

Breath Cycle – the impact of singing on cystic fibrosis

Scottish Opera and Gartnavel Hospital created Breath Cycle – a music making project with 17 young Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients which saw work being created virtually on-line. The project ran for almost a whole year (May 2013 – January 2014).

The project set out to measure the impact of singing on the lung function of people with CF.  We wanted to take residence at Gartnavel’s respiratory unit and work with their patients and staff to create vocal exercises and songs; solos, duets and little pieces each written especially for, and sung by, people with fragile voices because of their condition.

We wanted to create beautiful music whilst measuring if singing increased lung function and could be used as an alternative to physiotherapy treatment (typically unpopular with patients).

The project had a huge impact on the 17 participating patients, none of whom had any previous experience of opera or performing. The medical staff at the Respiratory Unit and our team of artists were also strongly affected by the project: it was an entirely new experience for them too.

Scottish Opera’s Composer in Residence Dr Gareth Williams led the project with our partner, Lead Consultant at the Respiratory Unit, Dr Gordon McGregor. One of Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists Marie Claire Breen devised and delivered all the work in the Unit, with the support of our repetiteur Laura Baxter, and we worked with librettist David Brock who co-conceived and co-created the project with Gareth.

This was the first long term residency Scottish Opera had ever undertaken in a health setting; and moreover, in an acute ward. We were creating work especially for fragile, limited voices – work that was taking us, Scottish Opera, into new areas.

Innovative Thinking

The project was the first of its kind – creating artistic projects with, and for, people with CF.  Previously, projects with people with lung problems such as COPD have been choirs where participants sing along.  In this project, the participants worked with our artists to create their own music. We also used the internet in a new way: to rehearse with the patients (who cannot be in the same room together) and to broadcast their singing.

The project greatly developed the creativity of the participants.  There was a very low interest level in the arts prior to the project and a subsequent low awareness of their own innate creativity or confidence in their creative skills. Breath Cycle also developed the creative practice of all artists and gave them the experience of working in an acute hospital setting.

The participants were encouraged to take a leap of faith into the unknown.  They were encouraged to do this by the medical staff who were well known to them as well as by our artists who visited the Unit regularly.

The vocal exercises were designed to be done regularly: the patients are used to physiotherapy treatment demands but compliance can be very poor.  The one-on-one attention the patients received with the vocal coach meant that their engagement levels remained consistently high.  They were encouraged and nurtured by Scottish Opera’s artists but they were also tested and pushed.  Each of the participants met the high expectations placed upon them.


Medically, the participants benefitted hugely from the project.  Physiotherapists supporting the project noted that participants had increased breath size, more controlled expiration, occasional expectorating after singing as well as improved physical fitness post singing practice.

Lead consultant at Gartnavel’s respiratory unit, Dr MacGregor and his team were greatly encouraged by the psychosocial benefits of the bringing people with CF together.  Usually segregated to prevent cross infection, this project encouraged peer interaction and support.

A more tangible benefit of the project was the increase in lung function as measured in FEV testing; measuring the amount of air a person can force out in one second.  During this project, the participants enjoyed a 13% increase.  Dr MacGregor cites this as one of the best results of the project and cites the project as a whole as an incredibly positive intervention. These medical results are all evidenced through clinical research.

The artistic impact of the project is evidenced in the interviews and qualitative tools used and displayed on the website. The project’s reach is due to be expanded as co-conceiver Dr Gareth Williams has been appointed as Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh to further pursue the work.

All the participants said the project created amongst them, a sense of community.  CF patients must be isolated from each other top prevent cross infection.  We created a project structure which meant that the participants worked together on-line.  This proved to be incredibly successful and participants have maintained this new community post project, supporting each other and enjoying music beyond the life span of the project.

This website hosts all the information about the project as well as songs performed by the participants.

The Big Dance Pledge

The Big Dance Pledge aims to inspire people to dance and to create prominent public performances that reach new audiences and raise the profile of dance in the public consciousness. This case study explains how 2014 guest choreographer Scottish Ballet’s inclusive approach encouraged creative responses from participants for the first time.

On Friday 16 May, more than 67,000 people in 24 countries danced in schools, town squares, sports centres and playgrounds as part of The Big Dance Pledge.

The Pledge aims to inspire new groups to dance, existing groups to try different styles and for everyone to create prominent public performances that reach new audiences and raise the profile of dance in the public consciousness.

Scottish Ballet’s 2014 Pledge Dance

Each year, a different company or choreographer is invited to create a dance for the Big Dance Pledge that is shared with participants through online teaching films. In the year Glasgow hosts the Commonwealth Games, it was Scottish Ballet’s turn to create a new piece of choreography. Films were released in January; groups learned the piece, some also created responses to it, and then everyone performed it on 16 May 2014.

This was the fifth Big Dance Pledge and 2014 saw the highest levels of Scottish engagement – in particular more public performance events than ever before. The approach taken by Scottish Ballet was inclusive and allowed participants to respond creatively to the choreography for the first time.

Who were the delivery partners?

In Scotland, teachers were trained by Scottish Ballet and YDance, who also delivered workshops for teachers in areas without dance development provision. Other delivery partners included Big Dance, Get Scotland Dancing, Get Scotland Dancing Hubs (x6) and Dance Development Officers. The British Council distributed information internationally.

How were participants encouraged to develop their creativity?

  • The dance contained a wide variety of dance styles requiring participants to be open-minded and try new things outwith their comfort zones.
  • Groups were encouraged to create a choreographic response in their own style and to post a video online.

Through taking part, leaders and dancers became…..

  • Motivated and ambitious for change for the better, including in their own capabilities
  • Confident in the validity of their own viewpoint
  • Able to apply a creative process to other situations
  • Able to lead and work well with others, where appropriate

What impact did the Big Dance Pledge have?

  • Feedback gathered by Get Scotland Dancing shows that many participants were new to dance and felt encouraged to continue with further dance activity.
  • In future years the approach to creating the choreography and film resources will be informed by the successful developments of 2014.
  • Project leaders have learned that more inclusive video resources and a more co-ordinated effort from dance hubs and development officers increases participation.

Further reading



YDance, Supporting Higher Dance through Glow (a Co-Create demonstration project)


The Co-Create project built on a previous YDance project, ‘Aim Higher’, fusing dance with technology, by providing live CPD support to teachers through Glow Meet to support their delivery of Higher Dance. YDance also delivered tutored sessions in each of the schools, facilitated a ‘Festival of Choreography’ on Glow, and developed a microsite to be hosted within Glow with a range of dance-based support resources for both teachers and pupils. This resource is now live on Glow for use by Higher Dance teachers and pupils across Scotland.

click here to watch 5 minute video

The project involved:

  • YDance
  • 5 PE teachers and their classes of Higher Dance pupils (45 in total)  at 4 secondary schools


  • Graphical House design consultants
  • Dumfries and Galloway; East Dunbartonshire; and Inverclyde local authorities


The project aimed to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Increased skills base for PE teachers to enable them to deliver more dance within the Curriculum for Excellence
  • Increased number of teachers using the Glow site for distance learning
  • Improved quality in the delivery of Higher Dance in schools
  • Increased number of pupils presented for Higher Dance and improved pass rates
  • Enabling schools to share experiences and best practice in Higher Dance delivery
  • Increased dialogue between teachers and pupils across the 3 local authorities and other schools delivering Higher Dance.
  • Improved relationships between pupils and teachers in geographically diverse schools who are providing Higher Dance.

Curriculum Areas

  • Expressive Arts
  • Higher Dance
  • Biology
  • English
  • Health and Wellbeing

Levels and Stages

Senior pupils from S4 upwards

Types of Learning

Active learning – developing practical dance and choreography skills; performance and presentation skills; group work

Peer review and self assessment

Project Activity

YDance had worked with the teachers on a previous project, ‘Aim Higher’, where they trained PE teachers to deliver the Higher Dance course independently in schools not previously subscribed to the course. The Co-Create project built on ‘Aim Higher’, fusing dance with technology, to provide innovative live CPD support to teachers through Glow Meet to support their delivery of Higher Dance in a more ‘hands off’ way. CPD sessions covered African, Alternative Contemporary, Contemporary and Jazz dance styles. The project also:

  • developed a microsite to host dance-based resource zones for pupils and teachers within the YDance Glow group;
  • organised a Festival of Choreography – pupils from different schools shared their choreographies through Glow Meet;
  • hosted online question and answer sessions through Glow Discussion Forum; and
  • delivered 10 hours of YDance-led tuition within each of the schools, focusing on a dance style of the school’s choice.

Planning and development

YDance already had good existing relationships with the teachers involved in the Co-Create project, and a good understanding of their needs in terms of support for Higher Dance delivery – this helped facilitate the success of the project and allowed partners to adapt to challenges and difficulties along the way. One of the drivers for setting up the Co-Create project was feedback from the teachers on their need for further support to deliver the Higher Dance qualification.

Teachers were involved in shaping the Co-Create project and were consulted and involved in shaping project delivery throughout the project, through weekly Glow Meets and regular communication, resulting in a fairly flexible and collaborative approach to project delivery between YDance and the schools.

Pupils were not involved in initial project planning but they were consulted on an ongoing basis about which areas of dance interest them – this informed CPD Glow discussions between teachers and YDance, helping ensure the support teachers provided directly aligned with pupils’ needs and interests.

How was Glow used?

YDance used Glow to deliver 15 virtual CPD sessions for the four PE teachers, jointly, through the Glow Meet function. This allowed teachers to watch Y Dance tutors perform live dance techniques and discuss teaching approaches to different dance styles with other teachers and professional dance tutors.  Glow was also used to broadcast a ‘Festival of Choreography’ which linked pupils and teachers from the four schools together to watch and learn from each other’s choreography.


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers

The project promoted the following key learning:

  • curriculum requirements for Higher Dance;
  • practice and theory around different dance styles;
  • choreography and critical analysis skills.

Consultation shows that the project has had a fairly significant impact on the teachers and schools who have been involved. The virtual and online support from YDance has led to increased confidence and ability in PE teachers to be able to continue to plan and deliver the Higher Dance programme independently in their schools without recruiting specialist support. This has allowed the schools to offer greater opportunities to pupils in terms of a new subject choice while using and developing existing teaching resources. Co-Create has also supported some teachers to deliver aspects of the Higher Dance course they had not initially trained in.

Teachers and arts professionals feel that without the Co-Create CPD programme, the learning and development journey for the PE teachers would not have been as successful, and the progress achieved through ‘Aim Higher’ would have been harder to sustain; one teacher suggested without YDance’s support the school might have been forced to discontinue Higher Dance this year.

Two of the three teachers consulted through feel the project has resulted in greater creativity in their teaching practice. Teachers feel the project has supported a more active approach to learning, creating increased opportunities for pupils around peer-assessing, self-assessing, producing material, greater awareness of the performing arts and different dance styles and techniques, and increased skills in terms of choreography and group work. Teachers really welcomed the opportunities promoted through the project to share experiences and learning with other schools and with specialist dance tutors and found these valuable in enhancing their teaching practice.

“Regular Glow Meets with YDance leaders and other schools involved in delivering the Higher Dance course have enabled me to check teaching outcomes, techniques and stay on track throughout the year. Video examples and written checklists have also helped me to ensure I am delivering to the best of my ability.” (Teacher)

All three teachers felt the project would have a positive impact on future learning and teaching within their schools and hopefully allow them to continue delivering the Higher Dance qualification.

New skills and knowledge acquisition for pupils

Click this link for pupil feedback on the project: Why you should do Higher Dance

The project promoted the following opportunities for/types of learning:

  • solo performances and presenting in front of teachers and peers, including those from other schools;
  • working in groups to choreograph and perform routines;
  • sharing experiences of Higher Dance to generate enthusiasm throughout the school;
  • increased ability to recognise and address their own strengths and weaknesses and those of others;
  • opportunity to be inspired by other pupils and professional dancers;
  • taking responsibility for designing and managing their own choreography and performance, in groups and solo;
  • active learning benefiting health and fitness; and
  • some opportunity for inter-disciplinary working as pupils were asked to think about stimuli from other subject areas to inspire their choreography.

The project developed a range of new skills/knowledge for pupils, including:

  • opportunity to study Higher Dance when previously not offered;
  • greater awareness and understanding of their own physical abilities, and the physical abilities of others;
  • theoretical and practical awareness of a range of different dance styles;
  • choreography skills;
  • peer review skills;
  • learning about what their own bodies can do – biomechanics of the body;
  • increased health and fitness.

Learning Outcomes

All the pupils consulted felt the project had increased their confidence and helped them communicate more effectively; two of the pupils felt the project had increased their team working skills. They all felt that the skills and knowledge they had learned through the project would benefit them when they left school, and would be useful to some extent to other subject areas. All had enjoyed being challenged and really enjoyed the opportunity to work in a different way from usual at school.

Teachers felt the project had supported them to realise the following capacity areas for pupils through teaching the Higher Dance course:

  • Successful Learners – pupils demonstrated enthusiasm and motivation to achieve at Higher Dance;
  • Confident Individuals – pupils gained increased confidence in their own dance abilities as well as achieving a sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing; and
  • Effective Contributors – elements of the Higher Dance course, such as peer review, and the presenting to other schools facilitated by the project have supported pupils to become more confident and effective contributors.

New skills and knowledge for YDance

The Co-Create project has helped YDance develop a use and understanding of Glow, as well as developing their approach to offering support at ‘arms length’. YDance feel the project has had some impact on the organisation’s development in the following areas:

  • their day to day practice;
  • thinking about how YDance support and initiatives can support CfE; and
  • their approaches to working with teachers and schools – including greater recognition of the timetabling and other issues/practicalities associated with working in schools and trying to encourage schools to work together.

Challenges and Learning

The initial intention was to deliver live choreography sessions through Glow to classes in each of the schools at a set time each week. This was not possible due to lack of internet connections in school gyms, and difficulties co-ordinating a time to suit the timetables of all schools. YDance responded by visiting in schools person to support choreography classes, and scheduling additional Glow Meet support sessions. While schools would have benefitted and enjoyed live sessions, this actually meant that the schools received more tailored support. Despite this adaptation to the original project plan, all partners felt the project had been a success and that everyone involved had benefitted from the experience.

“The Co-Create project was a very positive experience. We experienced technical hitches but I can still see the potential in the technology.” (Teacher)

Key Learning

In future, YDance said they will have better foresight in terms of logistical issues such as school timetabling and access to technology, including pupil-access to Glow accounts.

The project has also increased teachers’ confidence and ability to continue to deliver the Higher Dance programme independently in their schools, and has supported a more active approach to learning, creating increased opportunities for pupils around peer-assessing, self-assessing, producing material, greater awareness of the performing arts and different dance styles and techniques, and increased skills in terms of choreography and group work.

One of the key successes of YDance’s Co-Create project is that it enabled non-specialist dance teachers to competently deliver Higher Dance and maximised the potential of the virtual and online support available to them. This was, in part, successfully achieved due to the effectiveness of the partnership model established between YDance and the teachers involved – based on regular communication and flexibility as well as a commitment to support pupils to achieve to the best of their ability in Higher Dance.


All teachers and arts professionals we consulted felt the project had created innovative and useful resources for ongoing and future use in the delivery of Higher Dance; and would result in continued use of new approaches to learning and teaching within the schools.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund. 

For more information contact:

Or visit:

YDance website

YDance Glow group

Visible Fictions, State of Emergency (a Co-Create demonstration project)


Over a week-long, intensive period, pupils watched five online dramas (webisodes) telling the story of a fictional country in a state of emergency caused by civil conflict.  The webisodes were watched at the start of the school day and stimulated debate and cross curricular activities relating to themes of war and conflict throughout the rest of the day. Schools developed their individual approach, supported by a teaching artist to help inspire their State of Emergency journey. Glow was primarily used by teachers and teaching artists to share ideas in preparation for the intensive week period.  Glow was also used to host and show the webisodes. All seven schools participated in a Glow Meet at the end of the week to discuss the activities and learning they had experienced.

Click here to watch 5 minute video

The project involved:

  • Visible Fictions Theatre Company
  • 7 freelance artists
  • 7 S2 year groups (approximately 650 pupils) and their subject teachers (approximately 70 teachers) an0d school management from 7 secondary schools;
  • 7 local authorities: Argyll and Bute; East Ayrshire; Glasgow; Inverclyde; North Lanarkshire; South Lanarkshire; and West Lothian


  • British Red Cross
  • British Army
  • War Child
  • BBC
  • Scottish Refugee Council


The project aimed to:

  1. Connect teachers and artists to explore, deliver and evaluate new approaches to delivering subjects with S2 pupils through Glow:
  2. Create of a dynamic and innovative on-line arts education resource for teachers and pupils which will remain with the local authority as a legacy for future work
  3. Embed CfE in every component of the project
  4. Nurture inter-disciplinary work
  5. Explore new ways of using Glow within classrooms by pushing artistic boundaries and creative processes

Curriculum Areas

  • Expressive Arts
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • Social Studies
  • Sciences
  • Technologies
  • Religious and Moral Education

Levels and Stages

S2 year group

Types of Learning


Task based


Project Activity

‘The webisodes gave a focus for a number of projects that were developed ‘in-house’. This created a unique opportunity to work with S2 pupils over an extended period. They were all fully engaged and contributing well to lessons. They could see the link between subjects and the last day activities brought all they had learned throughout the week to a conclusion’.

Teacher, Glow survey

In November 2010 the entire S2 year group in the seven schools came off the normal timetable for one week and took part in ‘State of Emergency’.  This project created a virtual world through four online dramas (webisodes) which documented the lives of a group of teenagers caught up in civil conflict.  The pupils were asked to become involved in the decisions and dilemmas faced by the characters to better understand the consequences of war.

In preparation for the intensive week school teaching staff were supported by a team of Visible Fictions teaching artists to create resources through the Glow network, linking up with other schools across Scotland.   The project encouraged teachers to creatively enhance all curricular areas and Visible Fictions supported them to find the right approach for their subject and explore how it could link with other curricular areas through the themes of war and conflict.  This structure means the skills developed during the project will remain within the schools with the prospect of the project being delivered by the staff teams for the years to come.   Examples of classes were:

  • a Home Economics department in one school working alongside a local organic farmer to explore what food could be grown if the area was cut off from the rest of the world and then cooking from a ration bag;
  • the Maths department in one school exploring volume and weight through a dynamic exercise that asked pupils to think about what they needed in the event of fleeing their home land – packing a bag full of essentials to survive an emergency situation;
  • a Science department teaching water filtration by sourcing water from the local burn and using a pair of tights to make it suitable for drinking;
  • PE staff using role play techniques to explore Democracy and Regime;
  • a Computer Studies department allowing the school internet system to be taken over by the underground newspaper;
  • the Technical department in one school worked with a survival expert to explore shelter and fire building in the local woods and the army setting up an outdoor assault course;
  • critically analysing war art and photography from different periods and discussing the emotions the art provoked;
  • role play exercises, with groups of pupils becoming aid workers/ refugees/ press corps/ army personnel/ besieged – within each role pupils participated in a variety of activities designed to enhance their understanding of the reality of life for people caught up in a state of emergency; and
  • talks and workshops with a range of external agencies and partners, including the Red Cross, Scottish Refugee Council, the Army, a human rights lawyer.

Planning and development

Teachers, or Head Teachers, were involved extensively in planning how the project would look and work in their particular school and within their subject area; developing activities and resources to be used during the intensive week; and finally, delivering the project.  The input in terms of planning time for teachers was quite extensive, representing between 11-20 hours for most teachers, although less for others. In a number of schools, teachers from all subject areas involved met together to do the planning along with senior management; in one school, the Head Teacher was the main person involved in planning activities with the teaching artist and with Visible Fictions – this resulted in subject teachers at the school feeling detached from the planning process. Teachers were guided throughout this process by a teaching artist, assigned to each of the seven schools – their role was to support teachers to think of creative, innovative and active activities for pupils to take part in which covered and cut across each area of the curriculum.

Pupils were not involved at all in planning, and to a very minimal extent in project delivery – this was crucial to the success of the project, to build suspense and excitement amongst pupils and keep them guessing about what every day would bring.

As a result of how the project was planned, there was significant variation between schools in terms of how ‘‘State of Emergency’ was implemented within their school – some kept time-tabled subjects, but ensured each addressed or related to war and conflict-related themes; other schools came completely off-timetable for the whole week and had a very active, fluid week of activities related to the project’s themes. Schools were encouraged to communicate with each other throughout the planning process, via Glow, to share ideas and resources for different subject areas.

How was Glow used?

‘State of Emergency’ used Glow in the following ways:

  • to host and show the webisode dramas;
  • teaching artists and school teachers posted ideas for class activities and resources they had developed on the project Glow group to share with other schools;
  • some use of the discussion forum by schools to share experience and update other schools and Visible Fictions on progress in terms of project planning;
  • evaluation surveys conducted using Glow; and
  • a Glow Meet between the seven schools on the final day of the intensive week when pupils from each school shared their learning and experiences.

I used Glow to look at different schools and what their plans were for State of Emergency and how they had responded to it.  As staff in HC created their own lessons and put them on Glow I was able to work with some of the ideas to help create my lessons.  Some issues were resolved by software issues in the authority and we now have a template for what is required in a glow computer so that all areas can be used.  Getting into the site on a regular basis made me feel more comfortable with it, by finding a few hints and shortcuts it made me use it more’.

Teacher, Holy Cross


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers

‘I was perhaps the most negative of all the members of the English department about the State of Emergency project; however, the pupils themselves have completely changed my mind. Their conduct and attitude over the course of the week has been phenomenal and the work they have produced is outstanding. They have truly blown me away!’

Teacher, Clyde Valley High

The majority of teachers involved in the evaluation found ‘State of Emergency’ to be a ‘very useful’ teaching resource; only one teacher said that they had not found the approach to be useful. The majority of teachers also felt that ‘State of Emergency’ had had quite an impact in terms of improving pupils’ engagement with classroom activities; some felt the impact was significant.

For all teachers, using the dramas portrayed in the webisodes as a basis to drive curriculum activity for a week was a completely new approach to learning and teaching activity. Although one teacher felt things could have been improved by some live interaction with the actors playing each of the characters. Teachers felt the webisodes were of very high quality and that they offered a unique focus for the week, exploring a range of interesting and inter-disciplinary issues which allowed teachers to plan and link related activity across all subjects of the curriculum resulting, in some cases, in a truly inter-disciplinary learning experience (to varying extents in each school).

Other approaches such as taking a whole year group off-timetable to such an extent represented new approaches to teaching for some schools; others said they had come off time-table before for whole year group activities, but that this had not been on as ambitious a scale as with ‘State of Emergency’. One teacher commented that having the whole year group working so closely together for a full week helped pupils learn a lot about each other, including each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how best to work together.  While many schools had used some form of active learning/task-based approach to teaching in the past, this had not previously been done to the extent managed during ‘State of Emergency’ week.

A few teachers said the project represented a new approach to working in partnership with arts organisations, artists and other external bodies, which felt more collaborative and creative. Schools felt having a dedicated teaching artist to support all their project planning and delivery gave them confidence to realise their ideas and be more creative – there was a sense that the teaching artists were able to inspire teachers and also to encourage them to be more ambitious in their plans. One teacher commented that the project had made teachers in the school realise how innovative they could be and that the teaching artists had helped generate ideas and let the teachers take them forwards.

All teachers felt ‘State of Emergency’ absolutely embodied a CfE approach and had therefore made a contribution towards their school’s approach to CfE. Some teachers felt that the project had demonstrated the extent to which inter-disciplinary working is possible within schools and would make them think about further inter-disciplinary opportunities in future.

New skills and knowledge acquisition for pupils

Many of the pupils talked about other lessons and activities. They also commented on their relevance to the theme. Some realised that in a real SoE things would be very different.  The science water purification was treated with far more seriousness as the students could see the relevance, as was the creation of a protest song and the repeating of the scenes for videoing’.

Teacher, Cumnock Academy

All teachers consulted felt ‘State of Emergency’ had had a positive impact on pupils’ learning experiences, and had opened them up to new types of learning experiences. Teachers also said that the project had demonstrated to pupils how fun and interesting learning can be.

A number of schools noted a small increase in attendance, improvements in behaviour and reductions in punitive exercises carried out during the intensive week period because, as one teacher put it, “pupils were busy and engaged with new stimuli to motivate and enthuse them”.

The project promoted the following key learning:

  • highly inter-disciplinary learning linked by the themes of war and conflict;
  • debating and discussing issues related to war and conflict;
  • knowledge about the role of different organisations and professions in conflict situations.

Pupils’ participation in ‘‘State of Emergency’ ’ supported them to develop the following new skills and knowledge, much of which would be helpful to them in the future, particularly in terms of helping them think about career paths they might follow:

  • decision-making and problem-solving skills because a number of tasks require them to make quick decisions in response to mock conflict situations;
  • respect for other people, no matter where they come from;
  • how lawyers are involved in promoting and protecting human rights;
  • “there’s more to the army than just fighting” – discipline and working as a team; and
  • prioritisation skills.

Pupils felt the Co-Create project had helped them think about a number of things very differently and also about things they had not thought about before, such as:

  • how comfortable their life is and how this contrasts with others who face more hardship;
  • how some people struggle to meet their basic needs when they have luxuries like X box game consoles;
  • what their personal priorities are in life; and
  • whether there is ever a legitimate case for war.

The project also helped pupils develop their presentation skills and confidence in presenting, as during the week they had to make presentations to small groups, to the rest of the school, and to the other participating schools via Glow Meet. Teachers also felt the project had been successful at promoting leadership skills amongst pupils due to the many opportunities for different pupils to lead different groups and activities and be supportive of others.

Pupils described the week as mentally and physically challenging. They would all like to participate in something like this again, primarily because of the physical and active learning the project promoted.

The project enabled pupils to learn in a very active, task-based and inter-disciplinary way which the majority engaged very well with. It was also highly effective in promoting independent thought and debate around significant issues related to war and conflict.

The project supported a greater appreciation for how curricular subjects interact and crossover and the relevance of each. It contributed significantly to all of the capacity areas:

  • Successful Learners – as a result of increased engagement and motivation for learning due to the active and task-based nature of project activities;
  • Confident Individuals and Effective Contributors: debate and discussion, as well as presentation were activities and skills promoted throughout the week, helping pupils to be more confident, effective contributors; and
  • Responsible Citizens – the issues of war and conflict gave pupils an understanding and appreciation for how life is elsewhere in the world, supporting them to be more responsible citizens.

New skills and knowledge for Visible Fictions

As keen proponents of arts based active and rich task-based learning, Visible Fictions used the Co-Create opportunity to test out their aspiration to use the arts as a way to promote and create a genuinely inter-disciplinary, exciting approach to learning, designed to actively engage all pupils, even those schools which sometimes struggle to engage. The successful completion of the Co-Create project gave them the opportunity to pilot this approach and has given them confidence to pursue similar ideas of such an ambitious scale within schools in future. The success of this project will allow them to persuade other schools to participate in similar activities.

Other outcomes for Visible Fictions include:

  • greater understanding of the potential of Glow and increased enthusiasm for use, as well as better awareness of its limitations and school attitudes towards Glow;
  • better understanding of the complexity of timetabling issues and the planning and thinking required by schools to enact a project such as ‘State of Emergency’ ;
  • recognising that schools have to drive and have ownership of initiatives such as ‘State of Emergency’ to ensure success;
  • greater appreciation of needs of school to risk assess and to pin down and plan out where each pupil is at all times when doing something so different to usual; and
  • planning, preparation and a good lead in time are crucial.

Challenges and Learning

Visible Fictions experienced the following main challenges in delivering ‘State of Emergency’:

  • the IT support and capability (in terms of broadband) available to schools at Local Authority level affected the effective functionality of Glow;
  • negativity and lack of enthusiasm by teachers to use Glow; as a result most of the shared ideas and resources posted on Glow were put up by teaching artists, rather than by the teachers as intended
  • due to delays in production, the webisodes were only made available to schools a week before they were shown (although scripts were provided earlier than this)– this made some teachers anxious as they would have preferred longer to familiarise themselves with the material and plan their resources and classes accordingly;
  • struggling to convince all schools to come off timetable for the whole week and buy completely into the ethos of the project; and
  • constant negotiation with schools to allow time and space for teacher steering groups to come together. When teachers were allowed the time to collaborate effectively, planning progressed quickly, however outside these meetings, some teachers struggled to find the time to dedicate to the project. This was resolved by arranging in-service days at the schools throughout the project and getting the teaching artist to liaise with their school to ensure agreed tasks were completed.

Key learning

Learning from the above, future delivery of the same or a similar project would include:

  • being more realistic about school ability and capacity to use Glow, allowing more time at the beginning to support teachers to be confident users of Glow;
  • convincing schools of the benefits of having a teachers’ steering group to co-ordinate project planning and activity, supported by in-service support days; and
  • enabling schools to see the webisodes further in advance


Generally teachers, teaching artists and Visible Fictions were in agreement that the partnership model adopted by the project was effective. Having a teaching artist in each school meant each school had tailored support and a key person to contact; it also meant schools could adapt the ‘State of Emergency’ approach to best meet the need of the school and pupils and build on the strengths and resources locally.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund. 

For more information contact:

Paul Gorman, Head of Education and Participation

Or visit:

State of Emergency Glow Group

Visible Fictions Website

NVA, The Potato Heads (a Co-Create demonstration project)


Environmental art organisation NVA worked with P7 – S5 pupils from Glasgow, Dundee, Stirling and East Renfrewshire schools to explore the cultural, social, ethical and political aspects of food production and growing food locally. The Potato Heads project gave pupils creative opportunities to explore and articulate desires for environmental change and a greener, more sustainable future.

Pupils from each participating school were invited to join The Potato Heads, a group of green activists, and asked to design their own fictional leader and write a manifesto for change. They took part in a series of workshops and online activities, and were given a plant to take care of throughout the summer holidays, and to grow potatoes for Glasgow Harvest as part of the Double Rubble Chip Challenge.

Click here to watch 5 minute video

The project connected to NVA’s wider community project SAGE (sow and grow everywhere™) and involved a collaboration with digital design studio ISO.

The project involved:

  • NVA
  • 19 pupils (S1) from a Glasgow secondary school
  • 6 pupils (S5) with additional support needs from a Dundee secondary school
  • 32 pupils (P7) from an East Renfrewshire primary school
  • 7 pupils (P7) from a Stirling primary school


  • Central Station
  • ISO digital design studio
  • East Renfrewshire, Dundee, Glasgow and Stirling local authorities


The project aimed to:

  • Start pupils growing their own food – each pupil was given one plant of their own to take care of throughout the summer. They were also given potatoes to grow collectively for Glasgow Harvest 28.08.10.
  • Engage pupils in thinking about how they could lead social change – in this instance towards a greener, more sustainable future.


  • Expressive Arts
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Science


P7 – S5


The project included a lot of group work and active learning, was ‘hands-on’, and empowered young people to take control of their own learning, enabling them to try things out for themselves, think for themselves, becoming more aware of their responsibilities and putting forward their own ideas/suggestions.


Participants communicated with other schools, learned about Glasgow Harvest, and contributed to the community. At each school a live workshop was hosted every four weeks, including a Glow Meet with one of the other schools involved if possible. Outside of the workshops, schools engaged with the project via the Potato Heads Glow group where NVA posted short podcasts and instruction sheets for the schools to access online.

The inspiration for ’The Potato Heads’ project was a Mexican group of revolutionaries called the Zapatistas (a socialist revolutionary movement, mainly active in Mexico) who use the internet and art as their chief method of publicising their work. Rather than protesting and marches, the Zapatistas use humour, art and the internet to spread their message for social change. NVA adopted a similarly creative process with participants in the project, as they used art to provoke collective action.

The Learning Programme was based around the concept that all the pupils were part of a group of green activists called ‘The Potato Heads’. They were each headed up by a fictional leader designed by themselves (the leaders were given names, characteristics and superpowers). Pupils explored the concept of change and how to effect change, and the role of activists. They also explored alternative approaches used by artists such as Banksy. Nick Mellville, an Edinburgh based poet, led some workshops about poetry, linking to slogans about what the pupils wanted to change, and how they could communicate these desires succinctly and engagingly. The pupils also carried out research into reducing fuel emissions and the benefits of growing food locally.

All pupils were invited to the culmination of the project at NVA’s Glasgow Harvest event at Tramway in Glasgow on the Saturday 28th August 2010. At this celebration of urban growing, the pupils were invited to cook their potatoes as part of the ‘Double Rubble Chip Challenge Competition’.

How was Glow used?

Glow was used to post a series of tasks for teachers to download and complete with their class. Glow Meets were held between participating schools. Pupils used the Glow group to communicate with each other and their teachers/project leaders regarding their growing tasks, to discuss climate change and to post their own work.


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers

  • Knowledge of and enthusiasm for Glow
  • Recognition of pupils’ interest in growing and environmental/green issues – resulting in plans to repeat the project and develop a sensory garden in one school.
  • Hands on learning/teaching methods had been successful
  • Benefits of working with a partner arts organisation who used creative, hands on, interdisciplinary approaches

New skills, knowledge and experiences for pupils

The project promoted the following key learning:

  • an understanding of how to grow and cook food;
  • more knowledge of food and food production, climate change and globalisation;
  • understanding of social action, change and taking control;
  • working together and teaching other young people;
  • poetry, drawing and photography;
  • using Glow;
  • participating in the Glasgow Harvest Event at Glasgow’s Hidden Gardens

The project supported pupils to achieve progress in the following ways:

Successful Learners – during the work of the project pupils became enthusiastic and motivated learners and became open to new thinking and ideas. Pupils became better at communicating, thinking creatively and independently, linking and applying different kinds of learning in new situations, learning independently and as a group and using technology for learning.

Responsible Citizens – as a result of the project pupils became more respectful of others and committed to participate responsibly in political and social life. Pupils developed understanding of the world, became more aware of others beliefs and cultures, more able to evaluate environmental and scientific issues, and informed and ethical views of complex issues.

Confident Individuals – the project increased pupils’ self-respect, and helped them to have more secure values and beliefs. Pupils became better able to relate to others and manage themselves, pursue a healthy and active lifestyle, be self-aware and develop and communicate their own beliefs and view of the world.

Effective Contributors – the project supported pupils to work in partnership and in teams and also to become more self-reliant. Pupils had the opportunity to take the initiative and lead, communicate in different ways and in different settings, apply critical thinking in new contexts and create and develop.

New skills and knowledge for NVA

The main lesson that NVA took from the project was that they need to be more open minded about adapting materials to suit the level of different pupils involved in a project.

NVA learned the importance of allowing sufficient tiem for planning and consultation at the start of the process.

NVA felt there was a lack of buy-in from teachers in-between the workshops they delivered, and that teachers viewed NVA as deliverers, rather than it being an exchange between teachers and arts professionals. NVA felt it would have worked better if there was more collaboration.

NVA learned that they need to be clearer with teachers about what involvement/time-input is expected of them at the planning stage of the project.

NVA developed new relationships with ISO, Central Station and the Hidden Gardens which they felt would benefit future projects.


NVA had originally intended to work with Glasgow schools due to the geographical reach of the Glasgow Harvest event, but the authority had not yet carried out full Glow rollout, so schools were selected from several other authorities.

The project was the first time that most of the teachers involved had used Glow.  Some felt that the training they had received was not very comprehensive and several of them experienced technical problems when they tried to use Glow.

NVA had expected Glow to be more intuitive both for uploading resources, and social networking, and said that they and participants spent more time becoming familiar with Glow than they had envisaged.

Not all participating schools were able to use Glow Meet.

There was some difficulty in terms of communication with teachers, who could be difficult to contact due to their teaching schedules.


The impact of the project was positive, and Glow was particularly useful in bringing people from different geographic locations together. However, in retrospect, NVA feel it would have been better to ‘twin’ schools as opposed to ‘group’ schools together as the communication lines could have perhaps been more focused for the pupils – i.e. each school working with one other school, instead of three schools each.

Other lessons included:

  • pupils enjoyed the project, were really enthusiastic about growing food  and liked using Glow;
  • teachers needed to schedule time during the week to work on the Glow site independently of the Glow Meets or live workshops;
  • it would have been preferable to have a training session for teachers before a Glow programme started for them to take ownership of the programme and integrate it into the curriculum;
  • pupils would have benefited from being given email ‘cluster’ groups within their class to link to other ‘clusters’ in the other schools- this would have allowed them to work on tasks together and take away the anonymity of their connections


One of the primary schools said that the main legacy for them would be having a better idea of how to use Glow, and that they had got to know their pupils better. They also said they intended to repeat the Potato Heads project next year with a new class, and have developed a sensory garden as a result of the children’s interest in growing and nature. It appears that the project has really expanded out to other classes and pupils in the school. Some of the pupils have also been teaching their younger peers about how to grow potatoes, and the school have expanded the theme of ‘growing’ to school-wide activities. They have also discussed the possibility of connecting with a school abroad.

Staff at all of the participating schools said that the project would increase their use of Glow, as their pupils had really enjoyed using it during the project – they had seen that it was a great resource for teaching purposes.

Pupils agreed that Glow was interesting, fun and easy to use, that there was nothing they disliked about it and that they would like to use it more in future.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund. 

For more information contact:

Nichola Godsal, NVA,

Or visit:

Glow Group


Horsecross Arts, Hooks + Bites (a Co-Create demonstration project)


The ‘Hooks + Bites’ project involved developing a digital art bank for Glow, working with nursery, primary and secondary pupils. The ‘hooks’ were topics, in this case focusing on ‘transition’ and what it means at critical life stages as children move from nursery to primary, primary to secondary, secondary onwards. The ‘bites’ were the digital sound and image files created by the children. A series of workshops run by a team of artists and musicians, Plan B Collective, were held between May and June 2010 to develop the bites, which included sound recording, animation and videos.

A project celebration took place in June 2010 at Perth Concert Hall, where project partners, schools and members of the local community were invited along to view the Hooks + Bites exhibits, including a showing of all pupil work on the Threshold Wall – a bank of 22 monitors in the Concert Hall’s main front of house space.
The project was focused on producing an end result for Glow, rather than using Glow throughout the process, however Glow was also used as a means for posting project updates and materials, and to upload project work to show the project in progress. The resulting Glow Group provides a model which teachers across Scotland can use for inspiration and practical advice on how to make digital animation and sound artwork.

Click here to watch 5 minute video

The project involved:

  • Horsecross Arts
  • 1 combined model campus (nursery, primary and secondary) in Perth and Kinross
  • 110 pupils aged 4-5; 10-12 and 15-17
  • 6 teachers


  • Plan B Collective
  • Creative Links Officer, Perth and Kinross
  • Perth and Kinross Council


The project aimed to:

  • create a digital art bank for Glow, providing a model which teachers across Scotland could use for inspiration and practical advice on how to make digital animation and sound art work;
  • explore how creativity can support the transition stages, delivering Experiences and Outcomes across Music, Art, ICT and Health and Wellbeing.


  • Expressive Arts
  • Technologies
  • Health and Wellbeing


Early Years – P1; P7-S1; S5-S6


The project encouraged lots of group work and active learning, listening skills, digital technology skills. It promoted inter-disciplinary learning and space to be creative.


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers

  • The project provided an experiential learning CPD opportunity for teachers, supporting them in developing new thinking on using cross-form art as a tool to explore different themes with pupils;
  • Teachers grew in confidence to use creative methods in teaching and gained a greater understanding of creating digital art;
  • Teachers realised the possibilities of using new technology and using Glow, and recognised their power to inspire pupils;
  • The project reinforced the benefits for pupils of learning outside the classroom and the importance of breadth and diversity in learning and teaching;
  • The mix of teachers working in partnership with arts professionals was a productive learning experience for all.

New skills and knowledge acquisition for pupils

The project promoted the following key learning:

  • creating high quality digital art works;
  • gaining skills and experience in sound recording and digital animation;
  • increased experience and awareness of Glow;
  • exploring the concept of transition, and expressing emotions about the changes associated with this;
  • presenting their work to others at a public launch event in an arts venue.

The project supported pupils to achieve progress in the following ways:

Successful Learners – during the work of the project pupils were enthusiastic learners, became open to new thinking and ideas and were determined to reach high standards of achievement. Pupils became better at communicating, thinking creatively and independently, learning independently and as a group and using technology for learning.

Responsible Citizens – as a result of the project pupils became better able to make informed choices and decisions, and develop informed and ethical views of complex issues.

Confident Individuals – the project increased pupils’ self-respect, and their sense of emotional and mental well-being, helped them to have more secure values and beliefs and increased their ambition. Pupils became better able to relate to others and manage themselves, and achieve success in different areas of activity.

Effective Contributors – the project supported pupils to work in partnership and in teams, take the initiative and lead, communicate in different ways and in different settings, apply critical thinking in new contexts, create and develop and solve problems.

New skills and knowledge for Horsecross Arts and Plan B Collective

For Horsecross Arts the project was the first time they had extensively used new media art with school pupils. They felt they had learned a lot from the process and would feel more confident doing so in future.

Through the project, Plan B learned that:

  • working with teachers to plan the project was extremely beneficial;
  • children were much more creative when they were facilitated rather than told/taught (e.g. when they had more control over their choices and actions);
  • young people needed lots to do; any gaps and they lose focus quickly;

For both organizations this was the first time they had used Glow; now they are familiar with it they will continue to use it in future when appropriate. A number of relationships were formed, and existing relationships were strengthened by the project.


Although some participating teachers had experience of Glow, the majority involved were not familiar with Glow before the project started and did not yet have Glow accounts; the use of Glow was not consistent across the participating schools. Plan B therefore spent more time developing the Glow group than they had expected to, and also had difficulty in using Glow Meets to communicate with project partners.


Teachers had enjoyed the experience of using Glow during the project, despite some early apprehension. Responses to a survey conducted with teachers by Horsecross Arts suggested that staff felt Glow would be useful for sharing information and ideas within the school, and possibly between other schools in Perth and Kinross. They also showed some interest in linking with wider groups and organisations using Glow.

Horsecross and Plan B found that working with groups at this level of involvement has had a lasting impact on teachers’ and pupils’ understanding and interest in digital art.

The project has raised the profile of Glow in the schools and local authority.

The project also brought together partnership between Education Services and creative industries, opening doors for staff to work with arts organisations in future.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund. 

For more information contact:

Jenn Minchin, Horsecross Arts,

Hooks + Bites Glow Group

Horsecross Arts Website

Feis Rois, Traditional Music and Gaelic Arts (a Co-Create demonstration project)


Fèis Rois brought together P5-6 pupils from two Aberdeenshire primary schools and two Highland special education units for pupils with complex additional support needs. The project supported schools to work with artists to learn the art of traditional storytelling, music and song writing.  The young people used the stories they were told as inspiration and stimulus for composing their own songs and stories, which they shared with each other through Glow.

Click here to watch 5 minute video

In most of the schools, activities were delivered through regular short workshops, with each session building on the last so that pupils were introduced to traditional storytelling, then traditional music and instruments. Over the weeks, their learning contributed to writing, composing and performing their own songs. At the end of the project each school spent a day with sound engineers to record their material and a CD of this was given to each school.

P5/6 Pupils in Aberdeenshire worked with a traditional storyteller, Ruth Kirkpatrick, to learn about the art of telling stories and the history behind traditional tales.  The classes worked on the stories Ruth taught them outwith the scheduled time to make story plates and sticks.

Musicians Findlay Napier and Angus Lyon worked with the classes to create their own compositions and songs around the stories pupils had been working on.

In the secondary school in Aberdeenshire, pupils spent three consecutive days, off timetable, taking part in dance, music and storytelling workshops and creating their own songs and artistic interpretations of their culture.  These were recorded onto CD and also performed live as part of a performance evening with the two feeder primaries.

The pupils in Highland worked with Fèis Rois to learn about traditional music and the art of song writing. Applegrove school used their class topics as stimulus for creating songs and the pupils were introduced to and taught about a different instrument each week.  Both schools worked with song writer, Jim Hunter, musician Colin Mclean and Rachael Duff from Fèis Rois.

The two groups, including pupils, teachers and support staff, kept video diaries and interacted with each other using Glow tools. As the project developed, videos of pupils’ work, together with images and creative writing compositions were put up onto the project Glow group.

Throughout the project, pupils were immersed in traditional Scottish culture, and had the opportunity to enjoy performances by professional artists and performers. They developed new skills and created and performed their own work for others.

The approaches taken to activities and project delivery were tailored to account for the individual needs of pupils, as well as the timetabling restrictions in schools.

The project involved:

  • Fèis Rois Ltd
  • 2 musicians from Highland Alternative Music
  • 1 freelance storyteller
  • 1 freelance traditional dancer
    • 3 mainstream schools in Aberdeenshire (1 secondary, 2 primary);
    • 2 schools supporting disengaged learners and learners with additional support needs


  • Aberdeenshire and Highland local authorities
  • Highland Alternative Music


The project aimed to:

  • give young people the opportunity to learn about their cultural heritage through traditional music and the Gaelic language
  • all of this enables young people to engage in music-making and experience the inspiration and power of the arts


  • Expressive Arts
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Literacy


P5 – P6 (stage 2); Secondary


Pupils gained from a flexible approach to learning and worked in groups to write and perform songs. They developed interpersonal skills through working directly with professional artists and performers and gained confidence from performing their own songs in a recording studio and infront of their peers.


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers:

The project supported an active approach to learning. It shared creative approaches such as a ‘mystery box’ of sensory objects and instruments to stimulate interest and provide prompts for composing and writing songs.

The Highland school saw how engaged pupils were with music and will try to incorporate different aspects of music and use of instruments into their teaching in future.

The project gave schools access to artists with specialist knowledge and skills, allowing both pupils and teachers to learn from external expertise in music and storytelling.

New skills and knowledge acquisition for pupils:

  • knowledge of Scotland’s cultural heritage, including traditional music, dance and storytelling;
  • storytelling and song writing skills
  • increased confidence in playing instruments and performing
  • applying interdisciplinary learning across English and Music
  • technological skills relating to aspects of filming and recording
  • working with arts specialists and developing interpersonal skills

The project supported pupils to achieve progress in the following ways:

Responsible Citizens – through exploring Scottish traditions, pupils developed a greater knowledge and understanding of Scotland and its history and culture as well as increased respect for others

Effective Contributors – the project supported pupils to work in teams to produce and perform material

Successful Learners – pupils demonstrated enthusiasm for the use of musical instruments and engaged well with Feis Rois staff to produce their own individual creative material

New skills and knowledge for Fèis Rois:

Fèis Rois project staff and artists gained a greater understanding of how to deliver effective workshops to disengaged learners and learners with additional support needs.

They gained a greater understanding of working with schools, in particular that working with ASN schools requires a flexible approach to structure and timetabling.

The project allowed Fèis Rois to develop new relationships with a number of artists and performers and to strengthen their relationships with schools and specialists they had previously worked with.


Some of the schools did not actively involved themselves in project planning and delivery which resulted in a number of challenges including difficulties accessing rooms, working space and resources. Where some teachers had a more hands off approach, Feis Rois found there was reduced capacity for collaborative working between the schools and the artists.

Young people from the school for disengaged learners had the opportunity to opt into the project, making attendance unpredictable and reducing continuity of participation

Project timescales slipped slightly due to the adverse weather conditions in Scotland in December 2010. Sessions were rearranged.

The project experienced delays getting Glow logins for pupils and staff. As a result Fèis Rois staff uploaded project work for the schools until they got their login details and have been involved in providing some basic Glow training on how to upload materials to Glow.


The special needs school in Highland, whose pupils are also enrolled in mainstream schools, had not used Glow before, and felt that Glow offered great potential for their pupils in terms of being able to post pupils’ work on Glow, demonstrating to their mainstream peers their activities and accomplishments outside of school.

The partnership model developed between Fèis Rois and the Highland schools was found to be effective by all partners, resulting in tailored provision of activities to suit individual school and pupil needs. One teacher commended the project for their patience and flexibility and ability to learn from the school to provide suitable support to their pupils.

In future Fèis Rois will have a better understanding of the challenges facing schools, including access to equipment, training and accounts for using Glow. They will build additional time into project planning to alleviate the challenges created by these issues.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund. 

For more information contact:

Rachael Duff, Fèis Rois,

Project Glow Group

Fèis Rois Website

TAG, Don’t Start Me! (a Co-Create demonstration project)


TAG worked in partnership with Strathclyde Police to deliver a multi-artform interactive project in 19 different Glasgow primary schools. The project explored the origins of violent and criminal behaviour and was aimed at P3 and P4 pupils. The children saw a live professional theatre production, took part in drama workshops and took a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how a play is made by taking part in live web conferencing, direct from their classrooms into the Citizens Theatre.

In the play, Don’t Start Me!, a 9 year old boy, Craig gets involved with his older cousin Johnny’s gang, resulting in serious consequences for Craig and his classmates. Prior to seeing the play in their schools, pupils and teachers became familiar with the play and its characters through the project Glow group, which contains a body of teaching resources for pre and post performance activities complete with CfE Experiences and Outcomes for teachers.

Pupils were invited to find out about Craig, his mum Sandra, his sister Jamie Lee and cousin Johnny by reading character cards for each of them. They created their own character card and comic strips depicting a scenario from Craig’s story and shared them via Glow.

Through Glow Meet, children were able to watch a rehearsal and meet the actors and director of the play, and they also met PC Geoff Smith, an officer from Strathclyde Police, to talk about issues raised by the play.

Click here to watch 5 minute video


TAG, Citizens Theatre

19 primary schools in the Southside and East End of Glasgow

2 classes in each school – P3 and P4

1004 pupils

44 teachers


Strathclyde Police

Glasgow local authority


The project aimed to:

  • explore the origins of violent and criminal behaviour;
  • educate young children in the choices open to them if they find themselves in difficult social situations;
  • break down barriers between the local community and the police;
  • develop pupils’ and teachers’ awareness of Glow and ability to use Glow


Expressive Arts

Health and Wellbeing

Social Studies


Religious and Moral Education


P3 and P4


The project involved pupils in group work, active learning, interdisciplinary working and learning outside the classroom


There were many strands to the project, including:

  • each school saw a live theatre production of a new play, ‘Don’t Start Me!’, which explored the origins of violent and criminal behaviour;
  • each class participated in a professionally led post-show drama workshop;
  • online resources (via Glow group) available for teachers to access (pre and post show);
  • a number of Glow Meets taking place during the project – including a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse of the rehearsal process, interview with the director and actors, and with a policeman from Strathclyde Police;
  • video clips for the pupils and teachers to access and use during lessons
  • four CPD training sessions to prepare the teachers for using Glow
  • a film maker worked with four ‘Key Schools’ to film feedback and pieces of drama that the children prepared in response to seeing the play;
  • online discussions and sharing of information between the teachers involved;
  • TAG worked with the Young Women’s Project in Bridgeton, Glasgow. 6 sessions took place whereby TAG tutors worked with the young women and a film-maker to create video clips for the Glow group.


Glow was an integral part of every stage of the project:

  • Glow Meets held with the actors/director in the play and a Police Officer;
  • TAG posted teaching resources, tasks and video clips of the play for teachers to access and use with their classes;
  • Pupils and teachers documented the progress of the project using the Glow group picture gallery and discussion board


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers

  • using drama more effectively in the classroom
    • increased confidence in using creative methods in teaching, particularly for challenging subject areas.
    • training in and experience of Glow
    • recognising the value of working with arts specialists.

New skills and knowledge acquisition for pupils

The project promoted the following key learning:

  • awareness of choices and consequences, and the problem of peer pressure;
  • an understanding of the risks of joining a gang, and the origins of violent and criminal behaviour; and
  • awareness of the role of the police
  • knowledge and experience of Glow and Glow Meet

The project supported pupils to achieve progress in the following ways:

  • Successful Learners – during the work of the project pupils were enthusiastic learners, and became open to new thinking and ideas about gangs, peer pressure and decision making. Pupils became better at communicating, thinking independently and making reasoned evaluations.
  • Responsible Citizens – as a result of the project pupils learned to respect others, make informed choices and decisions, evaluate environmental issues and developed informed and ethical views of complex issues.
  • Confident individuals – the project increased pupils’ self-respect, and their sense of emotional and mental well-being and helped them to have more secure values and beliefs. Pupils became better able to relate to others and manage themselves, be self-aware, develop and communicate their own beliefs and view of the world and assess risk and make informed decisions.
  • Effective contributors – the project supported pupils to develop resilience and self-reliance, and increased their ability to work in partnership and in teams, communicate in different ways and in different settings, apply critical thinking in new contexts, create and develop and solve problems.

New skills and knowledge for TAG

  • TAG noted the value of being able to do pre/post visit activities with the pupils, as this prepared them for the performance, increased engagement and meant pupils got more out of the whole experience.
  • Staff  felt the main benefits of the project were that they had been able to deliver live performance in schools and learn about Glow.
  • TAG developed new relationships with Glasgow schools, and strengthened their existing relationship with Strathclyde Police.

Technical and Practical Challenges:

Project timescales slipped slightly due to the adverse weather conditions in Scotland in December 2010. Sessions were rearranged with minimal disruption.

Glow was new to everyone involved in the project which was challenging for teachers who had limited time to learn (and to take on the project as a whole). However, the project provided an exciting incentive for all to learn how to use it and most participants are keen to use Glow again in the future.

Some schools did not have all the equipment to make the most out of Glow Meets (web cam, mic) others experienced technical problems during Glow Meets such as poor sound and image quality.

TAG suggested that more experienced Glow users may have made greater use of Glow (e.g. discussions, forums, evidencing work) and that the Glow group had perhaps not been as interactive as it could have been. In addition, Glasgow pupils had not yet been issued with Glow accounts; they were keen receive logins having experienced Glow through the project.


The project had a large impact on the pupils taking part. They were really engaged by the delivery method, learned about issues relevant to their lives (particularly around gangs, violence and peer pressure), which teachers suggested there was a real need for, and were encouraged to be able to make good decisions.

The project also enabled young people to speak with a local police officer, and learn that the police are there to help them, which may help to improved relations between young people and the police locally.

The project was successful in encouraging some teachers to think more creatively about teaching, and it encouraged some of them to consider how they could use drama more in their teaching practice.

TAG felt that the work done on the Glow group was also a really successful element of the project, as it left a resource that can be used by other teachers and schools in future, and it encouraged some pupils and teachers to use Glow more.

Another positive aspect of the project was that teachers were able to get as much out of it as they wanted, with plenty of additional work suggested by the arts organisation, but with room for teachers to expand on/adapt this where they wished.

Staff in one school suggested that if you want to encourage teachers to start using Glow, it is a good idea to try to engage them with their passion, on a topic they are interested in, for example drama (as this project did). They felt this was the best route to encouraging more teachers to start using Glow.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund.

For more information contact:

Angela Smith, TAG,

Don’t Start Me! Glow Group

Citizens Theatre Website

TAG website

TRANSFORM, National Theatre of Scotland


Photo by Eamonn McGoldrick

Transform was designed with backing from and through collaboration with Determined to Succeed, Scottish Power Learning, local authorities and schools, as a creative and immersive means of connecting with the new curriculum.

Bringing together schools and communities with theatre professionals, the partnerships produced high impact theatre events that used the local environment as a backdrop to tell compelling stories. The development process as well as the final theatre events, made links across the curriculum and developed skills in all participants.

The National Theatre of Scotland placed a creative team into each of the schools and their communities, and together they created the vision and programme for their own Transform project. Working through a collaborative process with a wide range of partners and stakeholders, high quality theatre events were developed and performed. Each Transform had a dedicated budget with support from the National Theatre in the form of production, marketing and management resources. Each project was managed by a Steering Group comprising representatives from the school (usually the Head Teacher), the local authority and voluntary arts organisations in the local area.

On average, each Transform delivered approximately 230 two-hour workshop sessions (there were 2,292 workshops in total). The total audience at Transform performances was 5,999. There were 39 performances across the ten local authority areas.

Transform Aberdeen
Photo by Rhuary Grant

Over the course of 2 years, TRANSFORM performances involved:

  • – 935 individual pupils
  • – 201 community members


Photo by Eamonn McGoldrick

This underestimates the extent of pupil, teacher and community involvement as many more were involved in the processes that lead to the performances.

Transform projects took place in Aberdeen, Caithness, Dumfries, East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Moray and Orkney.



Transform had four main objectives:

  • – artistic: to create the best possible theatre experience for audience and participants
  • – learning: to introduce theatre and creative industry practice as enterprise learning tool in schools and communities
  • – partnership: to create effective partnerships across the public and private sectors
  • – legacy: to ensure longer term benefits for partners and participants


Transform Caithness
Photo by Fin Macrae
Transform Dumfries
Photo by Zvonko Kracun

Transform was developed to contribute to and inform the future implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, and to assist in developing a sense of community pride. The fact that the Transform projects were about theatre and not simply drama was significant. Performing on stage was not the only way in which pupils could get involved. The projects addressed every stage in the process of producing a work of theatre from writing, staging and production, costume and production design, marketing and promotion. Through these activities, Transform projects aimed to develop a range of skills in participants.

The process, (working with professional creative teams) sought to achieve the following for young people:

  • – the development of a range of skills for learning, life and work
  • – an awareness of and participation in a creative and artistic process
  • – improved relationships – with peers, school, community
  • – increased confidence in planning and presenting their thoughts, opinions and the results of their efforts



Transform was evaluated by Ekos Ltd. and in seeking to provide an account of the impacts, Ekos focussed their research on the four main participant groups:

  • – pupils
  • – teachers
  • – schools
  • – communities


Impacts on Pupils:

The projects were universally reported to have had a positive impact on the pupils:

Photo by Fin Macrae
  • – self confidence
  • – belief in their own abilities
  • – self esteem
  • – learning in that they developed new skills
  • – interest in the arts and creative activity
  • – attitudes towards learning


The range of choices offered engaged pupils who might not otherwise take part in drama activities and broadened their understanding of theatre and the professional opportunities within the industry.

“By the time the performance came I was confident enough to operate a pretty scary sound desk. I’ve now thought about a whole new range of careers because of Transform.” (pupil)

All teachers questioned reported that the year groups that had participated had become more cohesive, many citing specific instances in which barriers between groups of pupils had been broken down by the shared experience of working together on the production. This translated into more productive work in the classroom thereafter.

“Before the project we all had little groups which we were always in but by the end we had become close friends. I worked with people I wouldn’t have before.” (pupil)

The attitudinal impacts are perhaps the most significant. Teachers reported that following the Transform experience pupils were more settled and more positive about school, and that they appeared more motivated to learn. Many teachers also reported that pupils had developed a greater sense of responsibility for their own learning and in many case the pupils were required to take on extra work to catch up on lost classroom time which they did willingly.

These impacts were often most visible evident amongst pupils typically regarded as either having behavioural issues of lacking in confidence. Many teachers described the impacts on these pupils in transformational terms, such as:

  • – pupils working on the project in their own time
  • – unexpectedly choosing to stay on at school
  • – making new or unexpected subject choices as a result of Transform


Transform Dumfries
Photo by Zvonko Kracun

In terms of impact on attainment, at the time of the Ekos evaluation, it was considered by most schools to be too early to say. However, expectations were broadly positive.

In one school, the year group that participated in Transform had achieved the highest aggregate Year 4 results for some years, and none of the Transform participants had performed worse than expected, with many exceeding expectations. This was attributed to Transform.

Some teachers were concerned that the loss of class time may affect exam results. In one case a teacher reported a drop in attainment in prelim exams attributing this to time lost to Transform. Interestingly, the teachers expressing this concern talked very positively about personal, behavioural and learning benefits of the Transform process, suggesting the link between these and attainment in exams is not well established.

Impacts on teachers

Transform was met with a full spectrum of different attitudes ranging from complete commitment and enthusiasm to outright scepticism and even hostility. There was however consistent feedback that many of those that  were initially sceptical about the value of Transform, were at least partly converted by the end of the process, particularly when they observed the quality of the end performances and the impacts on pupils.

Impacts on teachers can be summarised as follows:

  • – raised awareness of the ways that learning can take place in differenent contexts
  • – raised profile and status of arts activities as a valuable learning context
  • – some individual learning benefits and skills development through involvement
  • – more encouraged to take risks
  • – developed trust in other professionals, even when there were initial doubts
  • – level of input from staff exceeded initial expectations
  • – some teachers would like to have been more involved in the projects
  • – 2 head teachers reported that the school as a whole might have benefited with wider staff involvement
  •  – significant demand on teaching staff with some head teachers having to devote time and energy keeping teaching staff on board


Transform Orkney
Photo by Alistair Peebles

“The experience was also transforming for the school staff. Watching the pupils develop throughout the rehearsal period was, personally and professionally, inspirational.” (Deputy Head Teacher)




Working within curriculum time:

  • – managing school timetables and space requirements
  • – accommodating a flexible, creative process within highly structured school environments
  • – ensuring effective communications between creative teams, school staff and other partners


The creative process at the heart of the Transform model is inherently risky – the creative teams do not arrive with an idea in place. While many schools recognised the need to take risks to advance teaching practice, risk is not always as readily accommodated in educational contexts as it is in the arts. Again, it is important that all sides recognise the risks and understand how they can be managed. The successful track record of Transform should help in this respect.

Transform was a well resourced programme, both in financial terms and in relation to the more hidden costs of staff time, school resources and the support provided by the National Theatre of Scotland. This was a significant factor in its success and in its ability to deliver large scale projects that engaged entire school years (a unique benefit of the model). It does, however, limit the potential for replication without significant input of resources.  

 Transform East Renfrewshire


The evaluation identified a number of characteristics or features of the Transform model that appear to have been particularly important in its success. These are:

  • – the importance of artistic ambition and leadership, placing artistic quality centre stage in the process
  • – the crucial role of head teachers in committing schools and teachers to the projects
  • – the role of local authority partners in facilitating access to the wider community
  • – the scale and ambition of the projects
  • – the fact that the projects were about theatre production and not just drama
  • – working with pupils in curriculum time, reinforcing the link with school and mainstream learning
  •  – the participant centred process helped build participant engagement and sense of achievement
  • – schools applied to the National Theatre of Scotland ensuring schools’ commitment
  • – nature and quality of interpersonal relationships between the creative teams and participants
  • – the prestige associated with being involved in a National Theatre of Scotland production  


Transform Caithness
Photo by Fin Macrae



  • – National Theatre of Scotland
  • – 10 local authorities and 16 schools
  • – Determined to Succeed
  • – Scottish Power Learning


Levels and Stages:

  • – Third and fourth levels
  • – Senior phase
  • – S1 – S6



  • – Determined to Succeed
  • – Scottish Power Learning
  • – National Theatre of Scotland
  • – Local authority contribution


For more information contact:

Simon Sharkey, Associate Director (Education) on 0141 227 9006 or email

Or visit:

Transform Caithness:

Transform Aberdeen:

Transform Moray: