There's safety in numbers when teaching such a vast subject, says Fran Harland.The new creative and media diploma will cover everything from fashion and film to advertising and computer game design. It's incredibly diverse. That's why the idea of partnership is so important: delivering such a broad curriculum is a real challenge.
Sir Bernard Lovell School in Bristol is part of the Kingswood Partnership, made up of six secondary schools and the City of Bristol College.
The consortium is currently assessing which units of the diploma each centre can offer and how we can make the most of our different strengths.
Our existing BTEC programme was designed partly to dovetail into the new diploma and pre-empt too much change for the 14 to 19-year-olds by building on specialised courses we already offer. For example, our performing arts pupils already devote one day a week - their "principal learning day" - entirely to their BTEC.
The diploma will develop general work-based skills, which we've tried to do throughout the BTEC. We've launched an in-house theatre company, where pupils learn about marketing, budgeting and how to organise meetings. We're also running a pre-diploma pilot programme for Year 9s, who must put together a 30-second advertisement with an environmental theme.
These pupils will be given several taster projects in different diploma subjects, so they can make an informed choice about what they want to do next year when it starts.
It's early days, but the response to the new diploma has been very encouraging. The main change for us will be the range of subjects it covers. I think the new course will particularly appeal to pupils who want to learn about different aspects of the creative and media industries, while keeping their options open.
Fran Harland is director of drama and performing arts at Sir Bernard Lovell School in Oldland Common, Bristol.
What's it all about?
The creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the UK economy, employing more than two million people. So it's not surprising that creative and media is expected to be the most popular of the new diplomas, with more than 60 areas launching in 2008.
Diploma pupils will be asked to tackle a variety of activities:
- Learn about the local media scene and job opportunities within the sector.
- Develop performance skills in drama, dance or music.
- Promote an event by designing posterswebsite. Devise a marketing strategy.
- Create an artefact, such as a piece of pottery or theatre costume.
- Develop a critical response to other people's work. Analyse responses to their own work.
- Record a performance through film, photography, or sound.