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Spinning a Tale of Success

Newbattle Abbey College and the Scottish Storytelling Centre have joined forces to offer the first ever professional qualification in storytelling skills. The new qualification, which will be accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, will be available from September this year.
Scotland has a rich ancient tradition of oral storytelling, and the art-form has undergone a revival in recent years. There are currently around 110 professional storytellers living and working in Scotland, and there are many more professionals that use aspects of storytelling in their day to day work. People working in areas such as education, social care, museum education, built and natural heritage, tourism and even business communications are already working with the Storytelling Centre to develop their oral storytelling skills. The new qualification will enhance this learning by structuring it into a formal HN unit.
Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, commented: “Scotland has led the way in the storytelling renaissance we are currently experiencing and, as such, it is quite right that the first formal storytelling qualification should come from Scotland. Contemporary storytelling is about much more than the preservation of an ancient art; it is the celebration of a living culture and, even more importantly, a practical tool for engaging with a range of people from primary pupils to the elderly to those with mental health problems.”
Both institutions have a strong connection with George MacKay Brown, one of the great Scottish poets of the 20th century, who studied at Newbattle Abbey College and went on to become a founding patron of the Scottish Storytelling Centre shortly before his death in 1996. Edwin Muir, another literary great who championed the preservation of traditional myths and legends, also worked for a period at the College. The synergies between the two organisations extend to their respective ethos, with both Newbattle Abbey College and the Scottish Storytelling Centre dedicated to providing lifelong learning opportunities to people from all backgrounds.
Norah Fitzcharles, Vice Principal of Newbattle Abbey College, will be working closely with the Scottish Storytelling Centre to establish the new qualification. She said:  “We are very excited about working with the Storytelling Centre. The new qualification will offer learners a truly unique qualification, which will give them a fantastic set of skills to enhance their particular areas of professional practice, as well as helping to support the revival of one of Scotland’s proudest traditions.”
For more information on Newbattle Abbey College go to For more information on the Scottish Storytelling Centre go to

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