Scotland boasts some of best teaching and research facilities in Europe for pupils wishing to pursue art and design based courses after school. Specialisms vary from fashion, textiles and graphic design to fine art photography, architecture, product and interior design. Many courses provide a direct route into a profession and some courses offer opportunities for students to access industry before they graduate.
The Glasgow Conservatoire offers courses in the Production Arts and Design. This is a high-level learning environment for aspiring scenic artists, prop makers, stage carpenters, costume makers and set and costume designers. The skills developed directly link to the environment where technical knowledge is as important as creativity and individuality.
There are also many opportunities for pupils to develop their skills before undertaking a degree course. The Visual Arts Studio in Glasgow has a diverse array of skills and portfolio building courses available. It is also very common and practical for students studying fashion design to initially attend Cardonald College to truly understand some of the finer skills associated with this specialism.
Wellington School’s Art & Design Department helps pupils appreciate effective design and artistic expression. This encourages pupils to develop their own creative and design skills in a world where the creative industries are an area of global strength and investment. The department seeks to encourage creativity and develop skill so that pupils are prepared for further or higher education and after that, the workplace.
Pupils build on their skills to reflect national standards with all pupils working in both 2 and 3 dimensions. The department also delivers a range of media based activities and a range of subject matters to challenge pupils and help develop their skills. For example, the department recently acquired a laser cutter and relevant software which will allow pupils to link their school experience to industry.
In S3 and S4, pupils follow the National 5 course which covers all genres of design and expressive art. Uptake of Art & Design at National 5 level is thriving which creates a varied, diverse and very personal approach to the subject.
The experiences and skills of pupils are further developed at Higher and Advanced Higher. At this stage, pupils are expected to have a very independent attitude to the course allowing their ability and skills to really shine.
Wellington School offers Advanced Higher courses in both Design and Expressive Art with pupils specializing in one of these areas. Pupils can link their choice to a potential future career or simply work at this level to develop skills in a subject that they enjoy.
In academic year 2015/16, Wellington School introduced Higher Photography. Pupils in S6 are given the opportunity to develop their knowledge of photographers as well as build on practical and technical skills.
Each of the SQA courses are highly valued by universities nationally, with creativity being apparent in all industry areas.
The Department hosts art exhibitions to reflect the breadth of skills and abilities of pupils and art, meanwhile, pupil work is regularly displayed throughout the school, promoting inclusion at all levels.
Visiting artists and designers are an enriching aspect of creative studies and form part of the department’s reoccurring annual activities. These visits have taken place both during class time and externally. Developing pupils’ creativity has also been delivered through the ERASMUS project with workshops in architecture, textiles, printmaking and photography.
The Art & Design department makes effective use of competitions in order to augment pupil experience. Wellington pupils have been successful both locally and nationally. For example, in 2016, a pupil won the coveted and prestigious Royal Scottish Academy Art Competition.
The department is open throughout the lunch hour and pupils are encouraged to use the facilities to develop their skills.
The Art Captain and Advanced Higher Art and Design candidates mentor P7, S1 and S2 pupils who attend the after-school clubs. Senior pupils also mentor classes which adds to the enrichment of pupils’ art experience.
As well as promoting higher education, the school has made connections with the Glasgow Conservatoire with a view to creating both work placements and opportunities to offer pupils workshops. Links into the world of work are at the heart of the department’s planning. Pupils have opportunities to organize school events (e.g. fashion shows or exhibitions) and a work placement programme will feature more prominently for senior pupils in the coming years.