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Expressive Arts

The Expressive Arts faculty consists of two departments: Art & Design and Music.

Art & Design

The Art & Design department consists of two classrooms, a dedicated craft room with kiln, and a sixth year studio.


Throughout S1, students are introduced to an exciting range of materials, skills and techniques. They have the opportunity to work with clay, felt and other 3D materials, as well as building basic skills with more traditional drawing and painting activities. Homework at this stage supports class work and is generally given on a monthly basis.


As students progress into S2, the course builds on the skills and techniques experienced in S1 and encourages students to take more responsibility for their own learning. Students have the opportunity to develop skills in textiles, ceramics, jewellery making, graphic design, photography, and drawing and painting.


In S3, students are able to study Photography as well as Art & Design.

In Photography, students will learn about the work of celebrated photographers, different styles of photography (Macro, HDR, Candid, etc.) as well as how to take and edit photographs using Photoshop.

In Art, students will begin to explore Expressive and Design work to further develop their practical skills and to prepare them for SQA courses in the Senior Phase.

Homework in S3 supports the written aspect of the course and is given at appropriate times, as necessary.


Students in the Senior Phase are offered National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses in Art & Design. In Photography, students can complete a National Progression Award at SCQF level 5. These courses further extend students’ skills and technical abilities and require a significant level of commitment and self-motivation. At this stage, students have the opportunity to work with a wide range of materials and are encouraged to develop their skills to a very high standard.


The Music department has two classrooms and five practice studios, used by students and visiting teachers. There is also a recording studio.

Music technology is increasingly being used at all levels. With students having access to iPads, they will gain experience recording and editing music using Garageband and other software. There are also five PCs in each classroom, each of which is equipped with music recording and editing software (Sibelius, Cubase, Protools, etc.).


In S1, students experience a largely practical course, through which they acquire basic skills on ukulele, guitar, keyboard, bass and drums. They are also given the opportunity to sing. After trying all of these options, students select two instruments on which to focus. Music technology is used to help students compose their own music (using Garageband on iPads).


In S2 and S3, students develop their practical skills on their chosen instruments. A range of musical topics are explored – including Rock/Pop, Film Music, Scottish Music and Jazz. As well as performing individually and as part of a group, students undertake a series of composition tasks, using Garageband on their iPads.


In the senior school, students work towards SQA qualifications – e.g. National 4/5, Higher or Advanced Higher - as well as National Progression Awards in Musical Theatre. In recent years, the department has enjoyed a great deal of success in these exams, with the number and quality of passes significantly above the national average.


As well as classroom activities, there is a range of lunchtime/after-school activities on offer. At present, these include a choir, chamber choir, brass band, wind band, string orchestra, folk band, ukulele orchestra, guitar ensemble and jazz band. More information about all of these groups can be obtained from Mr Mabon. In addition, over the last five years we have staged eight musicals: Oliver, The Sound of Music, Into the Woods, Hairspray, Jesus Christ Superstar, Beauty and the Beast, Grease, We Will Rock You, and Legally Blonde.

Visiting Instructors

As well as class teachers, the school is visited by seven instrumental teachers, who offer lessons each week on brass, woodwind, guitar, string, bagpipes and percussion instruments. Any student who would like to consider taking up an instrument should speak to Mr Mabon in the first instance.