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 choice 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 deciding, as a group, which one would go ahead to production. Once the group had decided which report would eventually go to production, they produced and presented a team response to school staff, outlining all production considerations.

Roles and responsibilities were allocated and documented during the visit to the Sky Academy, helping to generate evidence for the Creative Industries: Creative Project Unit. The production was finalised and evaluated.

From the outset, 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 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 gave a contextual starting point for the Creative Industries: An Introduction Unit and they were 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

An informal partnership with the Sky Academy — as well as numerous employers and businesses in the creative industries — gave 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 provides opportunities for 8–18 year olds to experience what goes on behind the scenes of a television news production. Groups create a news report based on one of 16 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 and 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 are developing skills in understanding of the workplace and the employee’s responsibilities, for example, in addition to practical skills there is a clear focus on time-keeping, appearance, customer care and health and safety consideration. 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 self-evaluate 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.

Freedom and flexibility offered by this course and the ability to deliver it using partnerships allowed learners to get out of school and visit real creative workplaces.

The course gave learners an insight into areas of the creative industries they did not know existed — and therefore new ideas about employment or further study options. The course was an ideal vehicle for the promotion of enterprise and 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 the stimulus for the units; Skills Development, Creative Process and Creative Project. Having an idea about what the end product of the Creative Project may look like 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 never have considered previously. Projects might include a fundraising event, drama production or the production 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 each learner to support others in the group. 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 which gives information on some of the roles researched during the unit. This promotes greater ownership and 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.