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UCL film education journal - FINAL (JUST

Exploring pathways of film education throughout students’ experiences of Scottish secondary school


Learn how to use Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the classroom (Copyright Warner Brothers)

Exploring pathways of film education throughout students’ experiences of Scottish secondary school     




Kerry Abercrombie is a teacher of Media and English at Larbert High School in Falkirk, Scotland. The school offers a unique specialist pathway called School of Media, where young people are able to engage with film education throughout their entire experience of high school.  

Kerry's article, accompanied by a range of images which showcase students’ work, describes how the School of Media successfully incorporates film education as part of Scotland’s national ‘Curriculum for Excellence’.  It follows a chronological perspective, detailing specific aspects of School of Media’s approach within each of the six years of secondary school, and emphasising the importance of teacher-led approaches to film education within the classroom. 

‘Film is a subject that requires specialist knowledge, and there is sometimes a danger that film education in school settings is driven by enthusiasm rather than expertise. School of Media has been allowed to thrive due to a serendipitous collection of appropriately qualified specialists gathered in the same place, sharing common enthusiasms and a common purpose.’ - Kerry Abercrombie 

Key points to explore


Kerry's article provides a detailed account of how film education is successfully being used in a secondary school setting to develop students’ literacy, critical analysis and creative skills as they progress through school. The article provides: 

  • An overview of Larbert High School, the creation of its School of Media, and its place in the Curriculum for Excellence (pp. 87-90) 

  • Detailed examples of the film-related tasks that students are set throughout the first and second year of School of Media, introducing them to concepts of critical theory and genre theory, and incorporating creative tasks relating to production design, mis-en-scene and practical filmmaking (pp. 90-96) 

  • Examples of films used as part of lessons including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Bohemian Rhapsody (pp. 90 and p.96) 

  • An overview of how film education is delivered to upper secondary students, within the constraints of a less flexible and exam-focussed period of school. Despite this, students are able to become involved in a range of filmmaking assignments (pp.97-103) and wider achievement opportunities (pp.103-104).  

Watch Kerry host a discussion with English and Media colleagues about how they delivered film education during the Covid-19 pandemic

Ideas for the classroom:


Kerry Abercrombie is a passionate advocate for film education and the important role it can play in students’ learning. Kerry is also an Into Film Scotland ambassador, and regularly draws upon their resources to use in the classroom -

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