Employability and Creativity Skills across Learning Award

The Scottish Education Awards recognise early learning and childcare settings and schools that have developed a vibrant and progressive culture and climate of continuous innovation. There are 15 award categories in total.

 From 2013 onwards the Awards featured a Creative Learning Award category with notable shortlisted winners from primary, early learning and childcare, and secondary schools. Last year we took the awards a step further by embedding creative teaching, creative learning, and creative improvement in all of the award categories, and with a focus on creativity skills within a new Employability and Creativity Skills across Learning category.

You may wish to submit a nomination or encourage nominations from your authority/area for this award which recognises establishments that promote the development of employability and creativity skills for pupils and staff in partnership with the wider school community across all contexts and settings where young people are learning.

Find out more and make nominations by 6pm on Thursday 14 February here:


Please read the guidance notes incorporated into this page which explain what information should be provided.

 For information about the Scottish Education Awards and all fifteen categories, visit the website here:


Free Rehearsal Space at Scottish Youth Theatre – 16-25 year olds

Open House Thursdays

Turn up – be creative – do your own thing
P.s. its free!

One Thursday night every month, we invite young people aged 16 – 25 to use our Glasgow venue for free, to be creative in their own way. It should be related to the performing arts, so you can rehearse, improvise, experiment across art forms – whatever you choose… just come along!

How we really listened to learners – Imagine If…

How we really listened to learners at a recent National Creative Learning Network event

Each year at its annual event, the National Creative Learning Network takes a current priority in education and works with local authority colleagues to explore it through the lens of creativity. In previous years, we have focused on attainment; skills development, and equity. This year, our attention turned to the curriculum – ‘curriculum’ meaning the totality of our education offer to young people. We wanted to know what they think of it and to talk about how it might be improved.

Our two ‘must haves’ were:

  • Learner voice – in order that professional dialogue was informed by children and young people’s experiences of education.
  • Creativity – it was essential that we adopted creative approaches and delegates were immersed in creative thinking from the outset. This meant not planning the content in advance, rather, having a framework within which conversation, ideas and reflections could flow, the content being generated through the power of the relationships and dialogue between the people in the room.

Our aims were to:

  • inspire, challenge and engage
  • equip delegates to be better able to deal with challenges in their own local contexts;
  • increase understanding of creativity and the role Creative Learning Networks can play in effective partnership working.

Imagine If…..workshops

Key to the success of the day, was the involvement of children and young people. Education Scotland’s Creativity Team devised a workshop that took place in Friockheim and Arkleston primary schools and Calderglen secondary school prior to the event.  As expert ‘users’ of  the education system, learners were asked to draw on the best and worst of their experiences, and use blue sky thinking to imagine their ideals, and to generate ‘Imagine if….’ statements to share their views and ideas.

Learner voice

Creative Learning Plan Chair, Christine Pollock, invited fifteen young people representing the three schools to take to the stage.

Delegates heard from pupils about their very positive experiences of undertaking a Civil Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship, which means they spend a third of their time in school, a third in college and a third with an employer. Being able to make clear links between all three was motivating for them and they spoke with confidence and purpose.


Next up, primary and secondary learners shared their own and their peers’ ‘Imagine if’ statements, which were at once funny, ambitious, thought provoking, profoundly moving and wonderfully creative. Here are just a few examples:

Imagine if the school was on a cruise and you learnt going to every country in the world and experiencing the culture.

Imagine if every day felt the same as when I got selected for the soccer sevens.

Imagine if school didn’t put massive pressure on exams. Imagine if it was OK to fail.

Imagine if instead of schools we learned through experiencing new things – through using creativity to work things out on our own.

Imagine if school was about skills, experiences, opportunities for everyone regardless of talent or ability. Each pupil reaches their own personal targets.

Imagine if we could always feel the buzz of inclusion like school shows and fundraising events.

Imagine if there were new ways to meet new people every day and to be able to develop with them.

Delegates reflected on and discussed their responses to the young people’s statements, and had the opportunity to ask further questions of the learners who joined table discussions as equals. Facilitated by a CLN coordinator (local authority creative learning lead), each group was invited to identify a key theme they would like to put forward for the focus of deeper discussion in the afternoon.

Emerging themes for afternoon workshops were:

  • Imagine if we, in real terms, Get It Right For Every Child
  • Imagine if we could improve relationships in school between teachers and learners and learners and learners
  • Imagine if we listened to learners
  • Imagine if every learning experience was fabulous – what would that look like, sound like, feel like
  • Imagine if the curriculum was bigger than the school
  • Imagine if we could improve our learners’ mental wellbeing at school in a meaningful way
  • Imagine if the curriculum offer was driven by the learners

Delegates self-organised into themed workshops groups, each of which was led by a facilitator who used creative tools and techniques, and drew on the views of the young people, to support exploration of their specific theme.

Through a final reflection, we discovered that the following themes had been discussed across a number of the workshop groups:

  • Who has the voice?
  • A clear understanding of what curriculum means
  • Interdisciplinary learning/different learning environments
  • The importance and impact of positive relationships (teacher- pupil and pupil-pupil)
  • Time and space to reflect and innovate
  • Be brave and take risks in leadership – new options / personalisation and choice / timetabling / flexibility / collaborative planning
  • GIRFEP (Person)
  • Quality of listening

To help close the event Calderglen pupils were invited to share:

  • one thing they’d been surprised by
  • one thing they were excited by
  • one thing they were disappointed by

They took the opportunity to thank everyone, and to say how surprised they had been by how open and receptive everyone was – they really felt listened to. They were surprised more young people from other schools were not there and suggested we have just as many young people as adults – a challenge for future events.

In order to encourage ongoing engagement following this event, we invited one of the young people to issue the call for feedback, and delegates were asked to share what they promised to do in the next week, and in the next six months. Our commitment is to share actions resulting from these actions via Twitter so that the young people can see what has resulted from their contributions.

In the next week, I promise to…

  • Speak to quality improvement manager to challenge council curriculum framework and enable us to “be brave” and create our curriculum – starting with “imagine if…”
  • Make plans for a set of teacher and head teacher engagement meetings to explore more creative ways of learning
  • Take a fresh look at the teaching approaches I use – are they enabling the best possible learning experiences?

In the next six months, I promise to…

  • Implement across my teaching responsibilities a range of creative teaching and learning approaches and gather feedback/voice from students.
  • Gather and evaluate pupils’ voice in preparation for School Improvement Plan 2019/20 being about curriculum improvement – involving all stakeholders.
  • Raise the profile of creativity in my local authority in particular at senior leadership level. Organisation of a conference with theme of creative leadership.

For us, the standouts were:

  • The buzz, enthusiasm and engagement in the room throughout the event.
  • The input from young people throughout the day. Calderglen HS were an example of what we all strive for in their participation and leadership
  • The joy of having a facilitation team who were also the end of day panel with such wide representation ( EA, SDS, GTCS, Creative Scotland, SCEL, Wood Foundation…..)
  • The use of approaches and methodologies that were themselves creative.

‘An excellent, thought provoking and inspiring conference. The young people’s voice and the importance of this was a highlight of the day.’ Participant

‘The young contributors were fantastic.  They were really clear about what they felt they needed from school education and teachers and also about what they had to give’. Participant


SDTN Technical Theatre Symposium 2019

SDTN Technical Theatre Symposium 2019
in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Monday 28th January 2019
Rockvilla & The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
8:30am – 5:30pm
Join us for our 5th Annual Technical Theatre Symposium where we bring together our Scottish Further and Higher Education Network Institutions and Scottish theatre industry professionals to discuss a range of technical theatre and design topics, including skills training and career pathways. This year, we are delighted to be working in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The morning includes a complimentary breakfast and a choice of Professional Development Workshops at the National Theatre of Scotland production base, Rockvilla, including Hair, Make Up & Special FX with Freelance Artist Michelle Lyons, QLab for AV Design with Freelance Video Artist Jamie Wardop, Scenic Art with Gary Fry and Sound Design with award winning Sound Designer for National Theatre of Scotland Richard Price.
The afternoon begins with lunch at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Renfrew Street building, followed by a Symposium featuring spotlight guest speakers and break out sessions, with talks from Federation of Scottish Theatre, Vanishing Point and University of the West of Scotland. The day will end with a reception at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Delegates can register for the full day (Workshops and Symposium) or the afternoon (Symposium only). Please note the morning session has limited capacity so book ASAP.

Full Day Schedule

  • 08:30                              REGISTRATION AT ROCKVILLA


  • 09:00 – 11:00                  SOUND DESIGN WITH RICHARD PRICE (ROCKVILLA)


  • 09:00 – 10:00                  SCENIC ART WITH GARY FRY (ROCKVILLA)


  • 11:00 – 13:00                  QLAB FOR A.V. WITH JAMIE WARDROP (ROCKVILLA)




  • 13:00                               WALK TO RCS, 100 RENFREW STREET
  • 13:30 – 14:30                  LUNCH AT RCS – JACK BRUCE SPACE
  • 14:30 – 16:40                  SYMPOSIUM (RCS – NEW ATHENAEUM THEATRE)
  • 1640 – 1730                     DRINKS RECEPTION (RCS – JACK BRUCE SPACE)

Find out more about the CPD workshops here. Once you have booked SDTN will contact you to confirm your workshop choices.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Symposium on 28 January.

Booking Information
For more information and to book your place click here.

Interdisciplinary Learning: Creative Thinking for a Complex World – Conference followed by free public talk

Conference: 9 am−6 pm

Join leading international figures and local experts, including John Swinney MSP, as they discuss how interdiscplinary learning (IDL) can help people to solve problems and tackle challenges that are beyond the scope of any single subject.

Workshops and poster sessions will stimulate discussion of how to develop IDL in schools, colleges and universities.

Follow the link below for full details, costs and how to book:


Followed by:

Our Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of our Second Renaissance

Free public talk: 6.30 pm−8 pm

Join us for this free public talk from Oxford University’s Professor Ian Goldin as he draws on his latest book Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of our Second Renaissance to outline the opportunities for society of globalisation but also the risks we face including pandemics, cyberattacks, climate change and financial contagion.

Welcome to Kaleidoscope – celebrating creative learning, creative teaching and creative change

Creativity – what does it mean to you?

‘Creativity is a process which generates ideas that have value to the individual. It involves looking at familiar things with a fresh eye, examining problems with an open mind, making connections, learning from mistakes and using imagination to explore new possibilities.’

The Big Question: Do we have a shared understanding of creativity between learners, teachers, senior leaders, parents and employers?

Future-proofing their education

The Future of Education and Skills : Education 2030 project is aimed at helping countries find answers to two far-reaching questions:

  • What knowledge, skills, attitudes and values will today’s students need to thrive and shape their world?
  • How can instructional systems develop these knowledge, skills, attitudes and values effectively?

This position paper describes the first results from this work.

We ♥ mistakes!

“A life spent making mistakes is not only most honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing” – George Bernard Shaw

Inspiring Moments

South Lanarkshire’s Creative Learning Network embarked on the local authority’s first teacher swop. Taking an open-minded approach, a nursery teacher and a primary teacher worked together to challenge their own teaching styles.

Do you have an interesting piece of practice to share? Please get in touch!

Did you know…..?

The kaleidoscope was invented in1817 by Scottish inventor David Brewster.

Can creativity be assessed?

The OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) is working on the completion of a rubric to assess skills including creativity and critical thinking which may contribute to the development of a module on creativity for PISA 2021.

Spotlight on SLF

Creativity and innovation were strong themes at the recent Scottish Learning Festival, featuring in keynotes including those from the Deputy First Minister, Jo Boaler and Jamie Gallagher. The positive impact of creativity in curriculum design was evident in the seminar presented by St. Albert’s Primary and Castlebrae High School, the winners of this year’s Scottish Education Awards.

In her book Mathematical Mindsets, Jo Boaler reminds us that by going into challenging situations where we mess up and fail, we help our brains to grow.


Eight short animations exploring creativity in learning, teaching, assessment, STEM and employability will be available on the National Improvement Hub and the Creativity Portal. You can preview them here on Youtube:


creativity is the skill of the future

Theatre In Schools Programme – January to May 2019

Theatre in Schools Scotland is a project managed by National Theatre of Scotland and Imaginate to develop the provision of in-school theatre and dance performances available across Scotland.

Our programme for January –  May 2019 contains three shows, available for in-school touring, from two of our partner organisations covering N-P2 and P4-7.

All are suitable for clear, flat school hall and can be presented twice in one day.

As usual, fees are subsidised to keep costs within reach and one-show days are available for smaller schools.

Click here to see the programme: Theatre in Schools Scotland programme Jan-May 2019


Pondlife by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company
Suitable for P5-7
23rd January – 29th March 2019 / School hall / 55 mins
Moving school is never easy. When class bully Sharon takes an instant dislike to Martin it feels like he has an especially tough ride ahead of him. That is until he befriends Simon McGurk and his fortunes seem to change. The fickle world of playground politics soon puts pressure on their friendship, however, and Martin finds himself making a choice that will impact them both for the rest of their school days.
£365 / £500 + VAT for one or two show days.
Maximum capacity 120 per performance.
Performed in a clear school hall (min size 8m x 12m)

Emma & Gill by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company and Lung Ha Theatre Company
Suitable for P4-7
18th February – 8th March 2019  / School Hall (LOTHIANS ONLY) / 50 mins

This new show explores the lives of two young girls and their different experiences of school and family life. It questions what is ‘normal’ and why being different is to be celebrated.

The show features Emma McCaffrey, a member of the Lung Ha ensemble, who was diagnosed with autism when she was 11, and Gill Robertson, artistic director of Catherine Wheels.

£365 / £500 + VAT for one or two show days.
Maximum capacity 120 per performance.
Performed in a clear school hall (min size 8m x 12m)

A Ladder to the Stars by Visible Fictions
Suitable for N-P2
April 2019 / School Hall / 40 mins
Way up in the deep blue night sky, a twinkling star hears a little girl’s birthday wish . . . she wishes she could dance with the stars. Wanting to make this wish come true, the star tells the moon, the moon tells the sun, the sun tells the wind and the rain, and together they dream up a wonderful plan. Told through a magical mix of music, light and imagination, this is a heartfelt and humorous story of what can happen when the universe hears your dreams.
£300 / £400 + VAT for one or two show days.
Maximum capacity 100 per performance.
Performed in a clear school hall (min size 5m x 12m)

www.theatreinschoolsscotland.co.uk  / E: tiss@imaginate.org.uk / T: 0131 225 8050

Free event – Sharing the Power – exploring collaborative decision-making and sharing power with communities

Sharing the Power – exploring collaborative decision-making and sharing power with communities

20 November 2018
Perth Concert Hall (Norrie Miller room)
10.30 am – 4.00 pm

FREE, but ticketed.
Register to book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sharing-the-power-exploring-collaborative-decision-making-with-communities-tickets-51396740033

This event will explore collaborative decision-making and sharing power with communities.  The session will include a presentation by Chrissie Tiller, introducing the ‘Power Up’* resource, insights from case study speaker (TBC), and the opportunity to work collaboratively exploring and unpicking questions included in Power Up relating to: power, privilege, values, collaboration, politics and ethics.

*Power Up is a think-piece written by Chrissie Tiller for Creative People and Places that looks at unearthing and unpicking some of the complexities and challenges of sharing power.

Further info:

What will you get from attending?

  • An introduction to ‘Power Up’ and time and space to explore its questions with others;
  • Ideas and inspiration from case studies
  • The opportunity to step out of day to day work to look at your practice differently
  • Inspiration to try new/ different approaches to your work
  • Time to discuss ideas and share experiences with others


Who should come?

The event is open to artists, arts practitioners and non-arts practitioners with an interest in and/or responsibility for creative learning and participatory arts.
30% of tickets will be reserved for non-arts practitioners.  We strongly encourage arts practitioners to bring a non-arts buddy/ collaborator with them to help share the learning and future working.


More about this event

This event is part of a series of events planned by Creative Scotland’s Creative Learning team taking place from November 2018 to March 2019.  The events aim to inspire practice and support networking and skills development.  For more information and to keep informed of events visit the Creative Learning events page: https://www.creativescotland.com/what-we-do/major-projects/creative-learning-and-young-people/artworks-scotland

Alice McGrath
Creative Director, Red Bridge Arts
M: 07780 607665

Pages of the Sea – FREE – national project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One

Pages of the Sea is a Nationwide Project that will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. Directed by Danny Boyle, you are invited to participate in a one off UK wide historical event.

Pages of the Sea



News, opportunities, research and strategy relating to creative teaching and learning in Scotland

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