Prestigious film and TV school to open in Scotland

National Film and Television School to open first school outside London.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced a £475,000 Scottish Government investment to support the prestigious National Film and Television School’s (NFTS) plans to set up a base in Scotland and support new bursaries, in partnership with the BBC.

The NFTS, which offers postgraduate courses for film, television and the games industry, will be based at BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay HQ in Glasgow and their Dumbarton Studios, enabling students to gain access to BBC studio facilities for training purposes. The Scottish Government will provide start-up funding for the school, with a third of all places being fully funded scholarships to enhance equality and diversity in the screen sector.

The First Minister made the keynote speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival:

“This is an exciting development for our screen sector which is already an area of growth for Scotland. While we have excellent university and college provision for a range of screen subjects and media skills, NFTS’ plans will complement and expand the training opportunities available in Scotland.

“We have seen a rise in high-profile film and television productions being made in Scotland, and this government is focused on ensuring that continues. That is why we are establishing a new Screen Unit within Creative Scotland to better coordinate public sector support for screen. And as the BBC expands its operations in Scotland – specifically in Scottish news and drama productions – we must ensure people can gain and update the skills they need to capitalise on the opportunities ahead.”

Diversity and inclusion are key priorities and there is a joint aspiration that a third of all places in the first two years will be fully funded scholarship places. The Scottish Government and BBC are contributing to a bursary fund to meet scholarship costs and ensure students are drawn from a broad range of backgrounds.

NFTS Director, Jon Wardle said:

“The NFTS has a proud history of developing Scottish talent from its base in Beaconsfield, so we are incredibly pleased to announce the expansion of the school into Scotland and look forward to making an even greater contribution to the Scottish economy through our unparalleled reputation for delivering high-calibre, job ready graduates.”

BBC Scotland Director, Donalda MacKinnon, said:

“BBC Scotland already has an excellent track record in helping to create the broadcasting stars of the future through our various apprenticeship and training projects, so hosting the NFTS in our Glasgow HQ will build on that. The NFTS has a well deserved international reputation for the quality of its training so we’re very happy to be working in partnership with them to ensure that we and other broadcasters – along with the film industry in Scotland – have a well trained and well-educated workforce to select from for many years to come."


NFTS Scotland is expected to open in January 2018 with students enrolling from April 2018. The school will specifically work to address gaps in existing provision by delivering courses other providers aren’t currently offering in Scotland, such as production accounting, script editing and factual development. Projected annual student numbers are expected to be in the region of 450 (100 full time, 50 part time and 250 on CPD courses) with more than 1500 students expected to graduate from the facility within five years.

The project received strong endorsement from broadcasters and film production companies in the Scottish screen sector including STV, Channel 4, the British Film Institute (BFI) and the producers of Outlander (David Brown), Mad Max Fury Road (Iain Smith) Sunshine on Leith and T2 Trainspotting (Andrew Macdonald), with the BBC committing to provide premises to the new base.

The National Film and Television School

The NFTS is one of the world's leading film, games and television schools, cited by some media as one of the world’s top five film schools. In 1971 the National Film School opened its doors for the first time focusing on postgraduate education. In the 1980s, the school officially changed its name to the National Film and Television School to incorporate the demand for courses in television production and has since added games to its remit.

The NFTS has a proven track record in producing successful Scottish alumni, who include BAFTA-winning director, Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin), first NFTS graduate and renowned film and TV producer, Steve Morrison (My Left Foot), BAFTA-winning Sherlock and Dr Who director, Douglas Mackinnon, multi award-winning director, Gillies Mackinnon (Hideous Kinky); Oscar-nominated animator, Sharon Colman (How to Train Your Dragon) and many more. The NFTS’ founding director, Colin Young, also hails from Glasgow.


Media enquiries

Back to top