Mother-of-four Claire Rose decided to start Riverside Studio’s School of Creative Industries, after her son had the same problems at school she had – enjoying creative classes like art, rather than the more mundane academic subjects – later discovering that she was dyslexic.

Working with the SQA, she was also able to establish her own Executive Diploma approved course “Newborn and Baby Portrait”, the equivalent of an HND.

She said: “My goal was to open a ‘school’ that would teach short courses in all things creative for all ages, without the worry of exams, stress or judgement.

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Claire Rose (right) teaches one of her classes at her Lasswade studio.

“I’ve been a photographer for 11 years, transitioned into newborn photography about eight years ago, learning and teaching myself, as there weren’t many options to teach.

“Newborn photography can also be extremely dangerous if not done properly by trained professionals. There were no regulations, governing bodies or qualifications.

“I decided to find out how qualifications are established and contacted the SQA for advice. During the lockdown I worked with the SQA and, with the advice of doctors, midwives and photographers seasoned neonates, I wrote the very first newborn photography qualification, and last May our course was approved by the SQA.

Claire is now keen to get started, offering SFX level 5 and 6 photography and makeup courses as well as her own new SQA approved course.

One of Claire’s baby photos.

She said: “Since our course was approved and in order to deliver the course we also needed to become an approved SQA centre.

“We got this approval last year and have been working hard to prepare the course ahead of its launch.

“This is just the start, we will be looking to add more SQA courses to our roster over the years, including film and prosthetic work.

“Our philosophy at our school is hugely important. All of our lessons will be based on portfolio work and assessments, with no exams, no pressure. We want to encourage and support students of all ages to achieve what is within them, to allow them to express their creative side from an early age.

Riverside Studios in Lasswade.

Claire is now looking to take her lessons at schools in Midlothian, having already agreed to do so in East Lothian after the summer holidays.

She added: “As well as offering private lessons, we have also been approached by schools in East Lothian and will be working with them to offer our course to students from S3 in 22/23.

“We will also be approaching Midlothian, to enter their schools next year.

“There must be some kind of change, there are children who are not academic but they are very creative. The times have changed.

Claire Rose

“These children need support and the right education to enter the creative industries.

“We can help. All of our employees are industry professionals at the top of their game.

“I’m not saying I’m going to change lives, I just want to show them that they can achieve whatever they want to achieve.

“There are these big film studios coming to Scotland and we don’t have anyone to recruit them. They will bring people from London, but it should be Scottish people.”


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