Pupils' creativity shines at exhibition

John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, officialy opens the Shine exhibition

As part of its Year of Young People 2018 celebrations, the Scottish Qualifications Authority is showcasing the creativity of National 1 and National 2 candidates by arranging a touring exhibition to put the creative talents of young people from across the country firmly in the spotlight.

Shine is a collection of artwork, creative writing, music, and multimedia projects produced by learners in schools and colleges across Scotland. The pieces will be on display as part of an exhibition, which is currently in Edinburgh, and will visit Glasgow and Aberdeen in the coming weeks.

National 1 and National 2 qualifications are set at levels 1 and 2 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and are designed for learners who require additional support in their learning.

The exhibition was launched at Braidburn School in Edinburgh, where John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, viewed the display and congratulated the students.

Sculptures by Dawid Matuszczak, a pupil at Oaklands School in Edinburgh, featured in the exhibition. The inspiration behind the pieces is Dawid’s love of working with wood. Hand tools were adapted to help Dawid overcome practical difficulties, enabling him to use them as independently as possible.

Learners at Edinburgh’s Braidburn School enjoy running a weekly tuckshop as part of their Personal Achievement Award: Community Activity at SCQF Level 1. They avoid waste by collecting and presenting wrappers in a pictogram to gauge what to buy more or less of. Their environmental efforts were displayed in the exhibition.

Catriona Weir, Head Teacher at Braidburn School in Edinburgh, said: “Our learners love running the weekly tuck shop at the school which is part of their Personal Achievement Award. They avoid waste by collecting and presenting wrappers in a pictogram so they can gauge what to buy more or less of. We were delighted to host the official launch of the SQA Shine exhibition with our learners opening the event with a wonderful musical performance. Everyone enjoyed taking the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, and SQA Chief Executive, Janet Brown around the exhibition which showcased some wonderful creative talent from pupils across Scotland.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The Shine exhibition is a fantastic collection which truly highlights the creativity of the young people in schools and colleges right across Scotland. It was a privilege to officially open the showcase before it embarks on a short tour around the country and to experience first-hand the different artwork, creative writing, music and multimedia projects created by National 1 and National 2 candidates.

“The event truly captured the spirit of the Year of Young People 2018, celebrating the very best of Scotland and its young people, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved on a job well done.”

Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive, said: “Shine is a key part of our Year of Young People 2018 activities, and I am delighted that exhibition is giving the country a chance to appreciate the talents of our National 1 and National 2 learners. These important qualifications provide young people with opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills, and to have their achievements certificated. We have been thrilled by the level of encouragement and support we have received from teachers and lecturers who have championed the efforts of the learners. Congratulations to all the students featured in Shine!”

From Edinburgh, the exhibition heads to SWG3, a converted warehouse on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow.

Students from Glasgow’s Linburn Academy have produced artwork inspired by Scotland’s landscape and wildlife that also feature in the Shine collection. Lewis McGregor, Morgan Cowie and Anthony Keogh created the pieces whilst working towards a National 2 Scottish Studies Award.

Learners at Hollybrook Academy in Glasgow made and sold items, including Christmas cards, to raise funds for their ‘Hollybrook for Mary’s Meals’ group. Visitors to the exhibition were able to view their creations, which raised over £1,000 for school pupils in Malawi.

Artwork, photography and papier-mâché designs from leaners at Glasgow Clyde College were included in the exhibition. Exhibition attendees were able to listen to a podcast created by students on the level 2 Independent Living course at Glasgow Kelvin College, which is helping those with autism engage in the community.

The final location for the Shine display was the new Orchard Brae School in Aberdeen.

Pupils at the school came together to create a large scale piece called ‘Kelpies, a collaboration’. Learners undertaking National 1 and National 2 ‘Creating materials for display’ units were assisted by fellow students to create the colourful horse designs. The school said that creating the artwork, which forms part of the exhibition, was an excellent way for the new staff and pupils to get to know one another better.