National 5 Creative Industries course
Notre Dame High School, Glasgow

Notre Dame High School in Glasgow offers the National 5 Skills for Work: Creative Industries course as an alternative to other certificated qualifications in creative subjects at National 5 and Higher. The course is mainly offered to S5 and S6 pupils and takes place within the drama department for five periods per week across the full academic session.

Background

The school offers qualifications in creative areas such as music, dance, drama, and art and design. It recognised a need to cultivate in learners the skills and qualities valued by employers, and to create opportunities to develop enterprise and entrepreneurialism.

Approach

Learners participate in practical activities within the area of drama and performance.

Drama teacher Richie McColm arranged a visit to the Sky Academy in Livingston where learners created a news report with a cultural diversity theme. Prior to the visit, learners explored the roles involved in television production. This helped them to generate some evidence for the Creative Industries: An Introduction unit. Learners then received a brief for the creation of a news report, with the freedom to decide on the theme and content of the report.

Each learner gave a response to the news brief, before the group decided which one would go ahead to production. The group then produced and presented a team response to school staff, outlining all production considerations.

During their visit to the Sky Academy, the group allocated roles and responsibilities among themselves. They were able to use the evidence created for the Creative Industries: Creative Project unit. The production was finalised and evaluated.

From their arrival at the Sky Academy, learners were involved in practical tasks in a variety of performance areas. This enabled them to experience hands-on work before exploring the more knowledge-based Creative Industries: An Introduction unit. Staff often find that the experience gained through practical activity and workplace visits gives the Creative Industries: An Introduction unit far more context than it would otherwise have.

To generate the evidence required for successful completion of the course, learners used the Creative Industries: Skills Development, Creative Industries: The Creative Process and Creative Industries: Creative Project units as the basis from which to create a news report.

The Creative Industries: Skills Development unit allows learners to hone their skills in a variety of creative areas including scriptwriting, vocal performance, and acting. This single project enables learners to generate sufficient evidence for all three units.

Their involvement with employers from a range of creative industries gives a contextual starting point for the Creative Industries: An Introduction unit, and learners are able to draw directly from their experience of site visits and interactions with visiting speakers.

Staff filmed the presentations for Creative Industries: Creative Process unit and used them to review learners’ progress and as evidence of assessment, alongside checklists of performance.

Partnership arrangements

Notre Dame High School’s informal partnership with the Sky Academy - as well as with numerous employers and businesses in the creative industries - gives learners experience of working in professional environments, and the opportunity to learn directly from creative practitioners.

The Sky Academy takes bookings from schools and education providers and gives 8–18 year olds opportunities to experience what goes on behind the scenes in a television news production room. Groups create a news report based on one of sixteen topics from five subject areas. This free visit offers a tour of Sky Studios, a hands-on learning experience, the chance to work with a team of experts using cutting-edge technology, and a screening of the news report on the day.

Sky’s educational focus promotes five key skills, including creativity, communication, problem solving, self-management and teamwork. These skills are at the heart of the Creative Industries: The Creative Process and Creative Industries: Creative Project units, so the visit to the Sky Academy can be a worthwhile experience for learners and a convenient way to generate evidence.

Employability skills

Through the creation of news reports, learners develop skills in their understanding of the workplace and of employee’s responsibilities. For example, in addition to practical skills, there is a clear focus on timekeeping, appearance, customer care, and health and safety considerations. Learners are encouraged to have a positive attitude to learning new things. Learners are also encouraged to develop an ability to respond and act upon feedback and to evaluate their own performance and creative output.

Benefits for learners and centres

The National 5 Creative Industries course allows the learner to be fully involved in the creative process and gives them the opportunity to develop valuable skills in a workplace environment.

The freedom and flexibility offered by this course, and Notre Dame High School’s ability to deliver it using partnerships allows learners to get out of school and visit real creative workplaces.

The course gives learners an insight into areas of the creative industries they may not have heard about - and therefore new ideas about employment or further study options. It is an ideal vehicle for the promotion of enterprise, employability skills and experiences, which are a key priority for senior management and the wider school.

Future delivery plans

The centre will continue to utilise live briefs as stimuli for the Skills Development, Creative Process, and Creative Project units. If learners have an idea about what the end product of the Creative Project might look like, this will help to set the scene for the other units. This approach also enables the centre to capture evidence for assessment as it occurs throughout each stage of the process.

Advice to other centres

The best way to deliver this course is to involve learners in practical projects which allow them to develop skills in a broad range of areas. This encourages them to have an open mind in relation to creative disciplines that they might not have considered previously. Projects might include a fundraising event, drama production, or the creation of promotional videos.

When it comes to the Creative Industries: The Creative Process unit, the selection of one idea from the group to be taken forward into production encourages learners to support each other. This process also creates opportunities for constructive feedback and positive interaction between group members.

For the Creative Industries: An Introduction unit, assessors should encourage learners to decide the best way to present their information, such as producing a presentation, web page, or video giving information on some of the roles researched during the unit. Such an approach promotes greater ownership and learners’ active involvement in their own learning. It is helpful to use the assessment support material to ensure that all of the required evidence is being met.

Accurate candidate performance records should be maintained for each unit.

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