Midlothian pupils aim to be top of the pops

M Factory challenged primary children to write a pop song and make a video
M Factory challenged primary children to write a pop song and make a video

An innovative education project which challenged Midlothian primary children to become pop music moguls is shortlisted for a national award.

The M Factor is among the finalists in the Service Improvement and Innovation category of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities Excellence Awards, the winners of which will be announced on Thursday, March 13.

More than 700 primary pupils took up the M Factor challenge to write a pop song with an accompanying music video.

The pupils held auditions for singers, dancers and actors; designed logos and CD covers, penned lyrics, recorded their track and filmed and edited their video. The project also involved designing merchandise and creating a website.

Midlothian Council provided the 28 participating schools with iPads, and teachers were given training in music production, video editing and website design.

A range of business organisations supported the project, along with musicians within the local community, and parents also became involved in supporting their school’s M Factor project, making use of skills in, for example, photography, graphic art, drama and website development.

At the end of May last year each team uploaded its song and pop video to a national website so that other schools in Scotland were able to view their entries and vote online for their favourite song/video. Thousands of votes were cast over a three week period and, at the end of June, the six best entries were presented a special evening ceremony to decide which team would become winners of the M Factor 2013.

One of the outcomes of the M Factor is that it has set the bar high for other innovative projects.

This year almost 1,500 primary pupils are involved in another, even more ambitious project called the Midlothian Moscars where teams of young people are making short films to be shown at a Midlothian film festival in May and June.

Education spokesman Councillor Bob Constable said of the M Factor: “This was a truly creative project that inspired literally hundreds of our primary age children to tackle everything from writing songs to producing videos. Well done to all the education team and schools involved in making the M Factor such a huge success and a wonderful learning experience for the children. The nomination is well-deserved and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that our team takes home the top prize on the night.”