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This collection of clips provides an overview of Scotland and the movement of its people.

The focus of this lesson guide is St. Kilda, an island which had a small population (under 200) where the people lived off the land. After years of increasing dependency on supplies and tourism from the mainland, the island economy began to break down. Food shortages, influenza and the emigration of young St. Kildans to Australia led to the disintegration of island life. In 1930, the remaining 36 islanders requested evacuation to the mainland.

The lesson guide also includes footage about wartime immigrant workers and Scottish emigration to Australia in the 1960s.


The 1938 documentary Face of Scotland is a celebration of Scotland and looks at the things that shaped Scotland’s past.


  • How does this film make you feel about Scotland’s past?

  • What kind of mood does the narrator create?

  • To what extent is this clip a useful source as a summary for Scotland’s past?

  • In what ways can the clip be considered biased?

  • What kind of message is it trying to give about Scotland?

Lesson ideas

  1. A History of Scotland (Second and Third Levels)

Objectives: Pupils will learn a brief history of Scotland and the names of some of the people who helped shape Scotland from the clip.


Create a timeline including the dates for Hadrian’s Wall, Castles, Wallace and Bruce, the lives of Robert Burns, John Knox, Reid, Hume, Dunbar, Scott, Stevenson and Lister, Clydeside, First World War and Scottish football.

As an extension, pupils can add other Scottish historical events that were omitted from the clip into their timeline.

Outcomes: An organisation of Scottish historical events in chronological order.

  1. A History of Scotland (Third and Fourth levels and beyond)

Objectives: The presentation of Scottish history represented in moving image text.


Group activity – each group is a film crew, with director, narrator, writer etc. Produce a documentary or digital presentation on a particular Scottish historical period/person, as featured in the clip.

Research your own moving image resources, music and narration.

Outcomes: An understanding of Scottish history reinforced by a developed understanding of moving image literacy.

  1. Celebrating Scots (First and Second levels)

Objectives: An individual or group research project on famous or influential Scots including those mentioned in the clip.


Pick a famous Scot and produce a report/project/poster/presentation/film on their life and work. Research your own visuals/pictures/moving images for the presentation.

Outcomes: Familiarisation of famous Scots through increased use of various sources.

  1. Celebrating Scots (Fourth level and beyond)

Objectives: An understanding of the role Scots have had in the past and in present day.


Analyse the image presented of famous Scots – how does it portray them?

How does it make the audience feel about Scottish people? Compare this to the modern day representations of Scots on television and online.

Outcomes: An analysis of present and past media and the reliability of evidence.

Other activities

  • Draw a map of Scotland’s castles

  • Research the Highland Clearances and the movement of Highlanders to the Lowlands

  • Create a presentation on whether or not you identify with a particular nationality?

  • Scottish inventions

  • The decline of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry

  • The history of football in Scotland

The 1943 Ministry of Supply film Warwork News No. 19, The Other Man's Job is similar to Face of Scotland in the sense that it is a celebration of Scotland. It shows the important contribution a Glasgow locomotive company makes to the ‘second front’ of World War Two.

Questions to consider for classroom discussion/individual work:

  • Why has this film been produced?
  • What message is the film trying to communicate?
  • What does this film show/tell us about Scottish wartime workers?
  • Scottish inventions
  • What does it tell you about Scotland’s industry and its reputation?
  • How would this film make Scots feel during World War Two?
  • How does it make you feel about Scotland?

Lesson ideas

  1. Scottish wartime industry (Third and Fourth levels and beyond)

Objectives: An understanding of Scotland’s 20th Century industrial strength and its vital role in wartime.


Group exercise – “The Wartime Industry X-Factor” Hold a competition where each group has to present their Scottish industry as being the most vital to the war effort and the Scottish economy. One group should be the judging panel (with one person as presenter of the show/competition). Industries can include Locomotives, Shipbuilding, Mining, Steelworkers, Munitions Workers, Home Guard.

Outcomes: History presented in a modern way. Each group will research the extent of their Scottish industry and its vital role.

  1. Scottish Home Front - Present Day (Fourth level and beyond)

Objectives: An analysis of Scotland’s changing attitude to war and the extent to which we are now patriotic.

Activities: Compare the portrayal of war in the media of World War Two to present day reporting on conflict. How has war reporting changed? Have attitudes changed?

Debate/Essay topic: To what extent is Scotland still patriotic?

Carry out a survey asking people how patriotic they feel towards Scotland.

Outcomes: Links Scottish past to our present day feelings of Scotland whilst critically examining media presentation of war situations and the message the media portray.

  1. Scottish skills

Objectives: An understanding of the extent of Scotland’s place in the industrial world.

Activity: Produce a spider diagram of Scottish skilled workers.

Outcome: The importance of the Scottish workers and why they would be in demand elsewhere in the world.

St. Kilda - Britain's Loneliest Isle

St. Kilda – Britain’s Loneliest Isle (clip 1) St. Kilda – Britain’s Loneliest Isle (clip 2) St. Kilda – Britain’s Loneliest Isle (clip 3)

The clips Face of Scotland and Warwork News No. 19, The Other Man's Job celebrate Scotland’s past and contribution to the war while testing our own present day patriotic feelings. The clips portray a positive image of Scotland and therefore beg the question – Why would anyone want to leave?

The St. Kilda clips provide a different view of Scottish life and show some historic reasons for people leaving Scotland.

Questions to consider for classroom discussion/individual work:

Clip 1

  • The ship shows a boat being loaded with food for St Kilda. What kind of place do you expect St. Kilda to be?

  • Why do you think so many people are on the boat?

  • Why do you think this event was filmed?

  • What is the importance of this event?

Clip 2

  • What does life look like on Lochboisdale?

  • Why do you think people left here for Canada?

  • Activity: Find St. Kilda, Lochboisdale, Glasgow and Canada on a map. Use National Library of Scotland map resources to support your research.

Clip 3

  • What kind of tone is the filmmaker creating by the use of text?

  • Why does he include a scene from Sauchiehall Street?

  • What is the “Buroo”?

  • Why do you think the natives have never seen a camera before?

  • What kind of industries/occupations can you see in the clip?

  • How does this clip make you feel about St. Kilda?

  • What would it be like to live there?

  • Compare the clothes of the visitors to those of the people living on the island.

  • Why was St. Kilda popular with tourists – why would tourists want to go there?

Lesson ideas

  1. St. Kilda’s Industries

Objectives: To understand how the people lived off the land.

Activity: Investigate the different ways people could live off the land – milking, bird catching, and textiles. What was it like to do these occupations? What did each worker have to rely on? Draw the workers and write a description of their job beside them. Which worker would you like to be and why?

Outcomes: An understanding of how difficult and hard life was on St. Kilda.

  1. The St. Kildan Community

Objectives: Familiarisation with all the different workers on St. Kilda

Activity: Draw a poster of or create a presentation about St. Kildan workers and label them, including the milkmaid, bird catcher, spinner, doctor and nurse.

Design a modern outfit that would suit the environment of the island.

Outcomes: A visual guide to the small community

Evacuation of St. Kilda – clips 1, 2 and 3

The Evacuation of St Kilda (clip 1) The Evacuation of St Kilda (clip 2) The Evacuation of St Kilda (clip 3)

Questions to consider for classroom discussion/individual work:

Clip 1

  • Why does the camera focus on the view of St. Kilda from sea for so long (17 seconds)?

  • What kind of impression of St. Kilda does this give the audience?

  • Why do you think the boat is not bigger?

Clip 2

  • What do you think it would have been like to grow up in St. Kilda?

  • What do the children there do?

  • What do the residents carry around under their arms?

  • Why put the sheep on the boats?

  • The residents appear shy of the camera – why do you think this was?

Clip 3

  • How do you think the people felt about evacuating the island?

St Kilda, The Lonely Islands

Questions to consider for classroom discussion/individual work:

  • How does this film make you feel about St. Kilda and its heritage?

  • What does this film tell you about the economy of St. Kilda?

  • What do you think about the tradition of the lover’s stone?

  • In what ways did St. Kilda start to modernise?

  • Why did the people eventually leave the island?


Using all the St. Kilda clips (St. Kilda – Britain’s Loneliest Isle – clips 1,2 and 3; Evacuation of St. Kilda – clips 1, 2 and 3; and St. Kilda, the Lonely Islands) create your own documentary of St. Kilda and the evacuation. The film can include narrative, text and music.

Create a poster/spider diagram of all the possible reasons why the St. Kildans left.

Write a letter, diary entry explaining your thoughts and feelings as an emigrating St. Kildan, include where you are going.

Clearance 68 (clip)

Questions to consider for classroom discussion/individual work:

  • Is this clip a documentary or a piece of propaganda?

  • What country was Rhodesia?

  • Why does the narrator mention the aboriginal people in Australia?


Map out the popular destinations Scots settled in the world and Scottish place names, e.g. St. Kilda, Australia, New Caledonia, Nova Scotia etc.

Emigration Project – Past and Present. Carry out an investigation of places that were popular for Scots to emigrate in the 20th century compared to the present day. Have the numbers increased/decreased, where are the popular destinations now?

Pick a country you would like to emigrate to. Why? How different is this country to Scotland (environment, size, culture etc)? Are there any restrictions on who can emigrate there?

What reasons are there today for leaving Scotland? What reasons are attracting people to Scotland?

Compare this clip to modern day TV programmes on emigration.

Imagine you have emigrated from Scotland. Write a letter to those left behind describing the journey and your new home.

Watch the clip 'Miserable Strangers' from the film From Scotland With Love. You may spot some familiar footage. How does this portrayal of emigration make you feel? What elements contribute to the emotive mood of the sequence?

This lesson guide was developed by teacher Pamela Collins. Updated September 2019