Local teacher, Margaret Sargent, has been enjoying a week out of school and a taste of life in a busy music publishing business when she came to Strathmashie House recently. Margaret teaches at Roy Bridge Primary School and she has been allowed out of the classroom to take up a placement at Spartan Press, thanks to the Excellence in Education through Business Links initiative organised by Careers Scotland, part of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The scheme aims to give teachers first hand experience of the business world, ICT, innovation etc. and opportunities for continuing professional and personal development. It also provides businesses with the opportunity to learn about current educational developments and to influence curriculum developments and practice in schools.
As a teacher responsible for music in the school and with many original songs, hymns and instrumental pieces written for her pupils over the years, a placement with a music publisher was a natural choice for Margaret. That Spartan Press should be in the next village (just a twenty miles drive away), along beautiful Loch Lagganside, seemed almost too good to be true and an opportunity not to be missed. Here's what she has to say about her experience.
"From my first moments in the building, I was to savour the unique atmosphere of this place. The timelessness of a bygone age in this rambling old Highland country house sits happily alongside the computer generated efficiency and state of the art mechanism of a thriving 21st century business. Everyone was busy but no one too busy to be anything but welcoming and friendly.
During my week at Spartan Press, I tried my hand at many of the tasks
involved in the publishing process: proof reading; folding, collating and stitching music; testing my ICT skills (and no doubt everyone else's patience!) to the limit with Sibelius and numerous other computer tasks; taking in stock; replenishing the shelves; dealing with invoices; packing music to meet postage deadlines ('Postie Gordon' arriving at 12.30pm ready to collect the bags) and never quite getting the hang of the parcel tape gun with a mind of its own; sending out Performing Rights Society forms and letters to composers......... Phew! And to think I thought teaching was hard work!
Was it worthwhile? It was brilliant! To be part of such a talented, happy team involved in creative and innovative work; to discover how music transfers from the composer's first scribblings to the stunning publications that stand so temptingly on the shelves; to gain something of an insight into the difficulties and rewards of running a business dependent on the latest technology and expertise; the learning of new skills: all this and more made for a memorable experience that I will take back to the classroom with me for the benefit of the whole school.
Thank you Mark, Pat, Sandra, Tom and everyone at Spartan Press for sharing your time and expertise with me. Your enthusiasm, dedication and great team spirit are truly inspiring and I return to my teaching invigorated by the whole experience."