A short history of Storyline in Scotland

As has been written in my introduction to this homepage Scotland is the home of Storyline. It was designed over thirty years by the Staff Tutor Team of the Inservice Department of Jordanhill College of Education which became the Faculty of Education for the University of Strathclyde in the mid 90s.

Many lecturers and teachers still use aspects of Storyline in their daily work but as a model it has become more difficult to use in the primary school because of changes in curriculum advice. More emphasis is being placed in recent years on content and on the ability to measure progress. This has led to more separation of subject matter and to more time spent on testing.

At the first International Storyline Conference in Aalborg, Denmark, held in November 2000, which I chaired, three other Scots played a major role in presenting papers and in giving courses. These were Sallie Harkness, previously a Staff Tutor in the Jordanhill Inservice Team and now a consultant, Barbara Frame, a lecturer in Curriculum Studies at Moray House Institute, University of Edinburgh and Ian Barr, recently retired Director of Curriculum for the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum. Their contributions were highly regarded and added greatly to the success of the conference.

Scotland Page NEWS Articles - latest at the top

Developing Language Skills in Storyline Topics Scotland Page
More imagesThis year for the first time an option has been included in the B.Ed (Honours) Degree in Primary Education Course at Strathclyde University under the In-Depth Language Study Programme entitled Developing Language Skills in Storyline Topics. The participants will experience two practical workshops and be asked to give their views on the benefits of adopting this way of working as a means of developing and practising language skills with particular reference to the significance of the key questions... The students are also asked to design a new topic or adapt an existing one with a focus on language skill practice. This is a 15 hour course presented by Sallie Harkness and Steve Bell.

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Storyline Course in Larbert Village Primary School Scotland Page
The whole staff of Larbert Village Primary School and a few invited guest teachers attended a one-day Storyline workshop course given by Steve Bell on Tuesday 15th November 2005. As the curriculum focus changes in Scotland to encourage more creative arts, imaginative thinking and problem tackling, teachers are keen to explore strategies which will help them involve pupils in these activities. The topic chosen was 'The Hospital'.

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Visitors from the Faroe Islands Faroe Island Page Scotland Page
More imagesFive final year students from the College of Education in Torshavn, Faroe Islands, paid a study visit to Scotland during the week beginning 8th November 2005. Part of their tour took them to Stirlingshire where they met up with Steve Bell who presented a Storyline Seminar in Allans Primary School, Stirling. before taking them to Aberfoyle Primary School where they toured the classrooms to observe Storyline work in practice. They are preparing for school practice visits in their own country and were interested to get ideas for that purpose.
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Scottish Study Tour Sweden page Scotland Page
larger imageFor the last three years six Swedish educators from schools in the area between Gothenburg and Malmo have been studying together as part of a Government-sponsored management course for principals. Although the official course finished last year they have continued to work together whenever possible and recently they found funding for a short trip to Scotland to study Storyline. Their programme included a visit to Glendale Primary School in Glasgow where they enjoyed the opportunity to interview Jean Campbell, the Head Teacher. They also met with Steve Bell for an extended, informal seminar on Storyline.
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Storyline Day at Edinburgh University Scotland Page
More ImagesAll the BEd 3rd year students studying at the Moray House Campus of Edinburgh University attended a one day Storyline workshop on Wednesday 21st September 2005. The day was organised by Barbara and John Frame,members of staff at the university. They were assisted by Sallie Harkness and Steve Bell of Storyline Scotland. Four classes of around 36 students were actively engaged in working through four different topics. The last twenty minutes of the day was spent in sharing the work by visiting each classroom. This exercise will be repeated in November.

Visit to Scotland diary USA page
Link to more text...In February I had the privilege of travelling along with my five sisters to England and Scotland. We were visiting one of my sisters who is working with Mercy Ships in Newcastle, England. When I realised in our travels to Scotland I would not be far from Glasgow, I decided that it would be wonderful to visit Sallie Harkness and Steve Bell. I had met both Steve and Sallie years earlier while taking a Storyline Design Class in Portland, Oregon. They had both inspired me with their positive attitudes and insight into integrating this method into subject matter. I have been using the method for about 10 years now. It had been a few years since I had taken any Storyline classes and I wanted to visit with both Sallie and Steve and talk about education, Storyline, and the joys and struggles that we face in teaching today.

Room 13
Sarah Corrigan. Lochyside
Link to websiteRoom 13 is an art studio for children. It encourages them to express their feelings through art. It is run by the students who are in the management team. The management team are responsible for its up keep. Room 13 is based in primary schools around the country. For More information please see our website

Visit to Lochyside Primary School
in Caol, near Fort William
Link to galleryOn Tuesday 1st February 2005 three members of the International Storyline Conference Planning Team visited this very innovative arts project. Like any visitors before us we were very impressed by the gallery of work produced. To see a few examples from the gallery click here.

Swedish study visit to Storyline Scotland Sweden page
More informationIn November Eva Marsh and Ylva Lundin visited Scotland to learn more about Storyline. Eva works for The Swedish National Agency for School Improvement and Ylva is a Storyline tutor and designer commissioned by Gothenburg Road Traffic Department and the Municipal Consumer Guidance Office in Gothenburg to design topics for road safety and about energy and environmental issues. Both have a wide experience in organising inservice courses on Storyline. Read a short report of their visit. or go to their website

Promoting Storyline in Scotland
As the curriculum focus changes in Scotland towards more emphasis on creative work, problem tackling and imaginative thinking it is, once again, necessary to promote Storyline as a strategy to meet these aims. With this in mind designer, Bruce Bell, has produced a series of small cards highlighting the approach and advised the targeting of the Storyline Scotland website. The cards will be used to promote the effectiveness and relevance of Storyline to Scottish teachers.

Scottish Education & Teaching with Technology (SETT)
Link to websiteThe Scottish Learning Festival organised by SETT was held in the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow over Wednesday and Thursday 22nd & 23rd September. This major event attracts thousands of educational professionals from all over the country and has the aim of preparing teachers for the challenges of tomorrow by helping them connect with major educational developments. It was therefore very exciting for Sallie Harkness & Steve Bell to be invited to make a short presentation on ‘Storyline for Learning and Teaching’ under the general heading of National Priorities in Education & Practice. Click here for more information

Enterprising Careers: University of Strathclyde
Hans Kroes & Linda Brownlow  - Larger imageTeachers and headteachers from a group of Foundation Schools in Holland visited this Centre from 21st to 24th September on a study tour funded by the European Platform. Linda Brownlow, depute Director of the Centre for Enterprise, Career Development & Work, hosted this annual visit which is now into its third year. School visits played a major role in the programme. The Dutch group was led by Hans Kroes. The programme focussed mainly on Enterprise Education but also included a Storyline input. Over the years close links have been formed between the Strathclyde Centre and Dr Piet Conijn of the Educatievestad in Holland.

Swedish Visit Sweden page
Larger imageSanna Ranweg is a freelance Storyline Tutor working in the area around her home town of Lulea in the north of Sweden. She is engaged by the University to give courses for students and is also kept busy with courses for teachers in her region. Her opinion is that Storyline is being adopted more and more in Swedish schools, especially at the early stages and in secondary school. Her work in the university has been greatly supported by the publication of the recent Storyline handbook in Swedish. As part of her own personal development she spent several days in early September 2004 visiting schools in Scotland observing classwork and interviewing teachers and headteachers.

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Norwegian Teacher Trainers visit Glasgow Norway page
Marit Storhaug, August 2004
On Monday 16th August a group of lecturers from Oslo University College Faculty of Teacher Education visited the University of Strathclyde's Jordanhill Campus. The main purpose of this visit was to meet Steve Bell and discuss ways in which Storyline might be used as a tool in the initial and inservice training of teachers. The group represented a variety of different subject areas; geography, science, social studies, history and English. Several members of this group already knew Steve and his work and use Storyline in their own teaching. They felt it would be useful to introduce other colleagues to the method.This meeting inspired these "new" colleagues to return home and start using what they had learned. They were particularly interested in the possibilities the method offers for collaboration between colleagues who teach different subjects as this is an area which is strongly emphasised in the new plans for teacher education in Norway.

Foreign visitors in Aberfoyle Primary School Scotland Page Sweden page
Carol Omand - Link to articleSteve Wretman and Helena Moreau - Larger imageSteve Wretman and Helena Moreau, editors from the Skolbarn (Schoolchildren) teachers' magazine published in Sweden enjoyed a morning visit to Aberfoyle Primary School last week, Tuesday 2nd March. They were especially interested to see the Rain Forest storyline which filled the Primary 1/2 classroom. After chatting to the children they spent some time interviewing the teacher Linda Bancroft. Over the last year the school has become the focus for several foreign visitors and Carol Omand, the headteacher, has recently had an article published in the TES Scotland describing her experiences.

Netherlands page Scotland Page
Dutch Headteachers visit to Strathclyde University
Jim AllanLarger imageA group of 14 headteachers who are following a two year course leading to a Diploma in Management Studies visited the Faculty of Education at Strathclyde University this week (starting Monday 16 February). Their course leader Henny Lamme explained that they were very interested in studying the Scottish system of primary education, recent developments in schools and the latest forms of headteacher training here. The study course was designed by Jim Allan, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, with input from members of staff. Visits were made to schools in South Lanarkshire.

Left to right: Friogero Olsen, Katrina Joense, Ester Poulsen & Bergtora Neilsen

Storyline Visit by Faroese Students
The Scottish wintery weather made four visitors to Aberfoyle Primary feel at home. The foursome - Katrina Joensen, Friogero Olsen, Bergtora Neilsen and Ester Poulsen - are from the Faroe Islands. And they are in Aberfoyle working with the pupils as part of their four-year teaching degree. The students are working with two classes at P1/2 and P2-3/4 and headteacher Carol Ormand said they had been having a wonderful time. "They're delightful young people and it's been great having them here." she said. Margaret Doran, Stirling Council's head of schools, visited the students this week to welcome them to Aberfoyle.

[Article taken from Stirling Observer newspaper 30 January 2004, with thanks to Donald Morton, Deputy Editor]

Storyline Summer School 2003: Portland, Oregon Scotland page
This summer Barbara and John Frame of Edinburgh University were invited to work with Jeff Creswell to run two courses at Parkrose Community School in Portland, Oregon, from August 13th and 22nd.

The first course was the alumni course, specially organised for experienced Storyline teachers and held over three days. The focus this year was to explore the nature and use of key questioning. During the course participants also produced articles for the Storyline Design newsletter and designed topic outlines for the forthcoming semester. The newsletter articles were broad ranging and stimulating and were indicative of the depth of Storyline thinking experienced by the participants.

The second course was held over five days for teachers new to Storyline. For the first two and a half days the participants worked on a ‘restaurant’ theme, bringing to life a whole mall of varied and stimulating eating places. The remainder of the course was devoted to reflecting on learning and teaching, examining their curricular targets and planning their own topics.

Both courses were characterised by high levels of enthusiasm, commitment and creativity amongst the participants. Good humour was also in abundance. Examples of the restaurants they produced can be accessed by clicking below:
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Intercultural Storyline challenge: Denmark page Scotland page
Denmark meets Scotland!
More informationDanish teacher trainees using Storyline at Aberfoyle Primary School, Scotland. Tutored by experienced Storyline educator and head teacher of Aberfoyle Primary School, Carol Anne Omand, we: Anne Mette Linnet and Soren Birk Jensen from Frederiksberg College of Education, Copenhagen, got the chance to plan and teach a three week Storyline in a 3rd/ 4th form class. We called it "Our village" focusing on the pupils’ local village environment - an important community for everyone living in and around it. The activities concentrated on buildings: what buildings are in this village - and what purpose does each building serve? Apart from extending the pupils´ knowledge and awareness, strengthening their relationship to the village, our aim of the three week project was to present the children with central aspects of teamwork. Therefore we designed activities that made argumentation, compromise and decision making necessary.
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Storyline News
in the Times Educational Supplement (Scotland)

The Magic Key and Aberfoyle Primary Scotland page
Link to galleryElspeth Davis and her class of 5 and 6 year old pupils have recently been involved in an exciting Storyline adventure. A series of letters, obviously very old, were discovered hidden in the playground of the school. The letter writer explained that he had lost the key to his castle in the woodland behind the school building. An exciting search followed and the key was discovered caught up in a tree.When the pupils replied to the 'Baron' he promised to visit their 'castle' to collect it but he wondered how their 'castle' looked and much work was done by the children to create a castle in their school. The culminating event was the returning of the key at a wonderful banquet with the guest of honour being Baron Blackwood.
The magnificent outfit worn by the visitor was designed and made by Carol Omand, Headteacher in the school. If you are wondering how it all looked please click below.

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An article on The Radio Station Topic