The Tees Valley can be a pioneer in using creative learning to economically and socially improve the chances of our young people.

Where once our region was famed for building ships and bridges, we can now be known around the globe for making world-class television and film.

There is irrefutable evidence that allowing space for innovative thinking and creative learning enhances confidence and sharpens critical thinking skills.

We should strive to create a 21st century workforce where people are equipped for careers that demand well-rounded thinkers with aspirations that extend beyond the traditional industries that marked the working lives of previous generations.”

 Ishy Din – CEO


The Latitude project is an innovative and timely scheme that will help school children from the Tees Valley and beyond, become articulate in Film, TV and Media content production.


The Film and Television industry makes a substantial contribution to the British economy. Last year, it generated £21.6 billion in revenue, with £5.64 billion being invested into high end Film and TV production alone. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK has maintained its reputations as a global powerhouse in this industry.

The British media landscape is projected to grow exponentially, with revenues expected to reach £87.6 billion by 2025 (PwC).

Despite this, there are significant shortages in the skilled workers who are crucial in meeting the demands for British media content. If there is no intervention now, it is estimated that there will be a deficit of 40,000 skilled workers by 2025.

The Latitude Project is a direct response to the growing concern that skills shortages will inhibit the growth of our thriving British Film and Television industry. Moreover, it will serve the Tees Valley’s significant aspirations to become a place where world-class productions can be created.


We are going to embed creative professionals into partner schools over an extended period to create filmed educational resources.

The “educational resource” will be a 3-5min film that will re-enforce and embed current educational priorities and goals. Working closely with senior teaching leaders we will identify what will be the most useful elements or techniques of a STEM subject for us to devise a film around. It could be the technique used to multiply fractions or the vocabulary of science subjects or any other element a teacher feels their students would benefit from if it was available as an easily accessible learning aid.

The films aim to be fun, witty and clever – but they will always be, at their heart, an aide to learning. Each educational resource will be imagined, planned and executed collaboratively amongst the students – alongside teacher input and supervised by our embedded creative professionals. The project will not only teach new and specialised techniques, it will also promote crucial skills such as clear communication, team work and effective planning. 

They will be made using modern TV and Film production techniques and skills – from camera, lighting and sound to makeup, set construction, green screen, costume, and beyond. 

We will get industry professionals to deliver masterclasses on their area of expertise, which will then be put into practice through practical application. 

The educational resource will then be shared amongst all of the students of the partner school through appropriate multimedia platforms, to enhance and support the educational experience of the larger student body.


The next step is implementing a proof-of-concept scheme from October 2022 with the help of Teesside University and Freebrough Academy School. Please see below for a detailed breakdown of the Pilot Project.


To use the proof-of-concept to secure the required funding to be able to implement the scheme over a three-year period in at least 5 partner schools across the Tees Valley.


For the project: A year-round Latitude Project to be embedded in at least one school in each of the five local authorities of the Tees Valley in the next five years, with a model that can be scaled regionally and nationally. The goal is to give all the participants hands-on experience in using equipment and contributing to technical and creative decisions.

For the film industry: To produce a data set that can be used by industry professionals and researchers to track the extent to which early intervention, in terms of skills development, can lead to improved career outcomes. In other words, how effective is this project in filling the skills deficit which is hindering the film and tv industry? We will track this qualitatively and quantitatively, by hiring researchers who are committed to the project’s research objectives.


The project will be led by award winning Middlesbrough based Screenwriter and Playwright – Ishy Din. Ishy was born and brought up on Teesside, leaving school in 1985. He has witnessed first-hand the seismic social and economic repercussions of de-industrialisation. Over many years he worked I numerous jobs, before transitioning into a playwright and screenwriter. Since then, he has lectured on creative writing and creativity at numerous organisations including schools, colleges and universities. He has helped design courses for FE organisations and advises on best practise. Ishy has led multiple school-based creativity projects and taught on creative writing residentials. As a writer, Ishy has worked for all the major broadcasters including the BBC, CH4 and Netflix. He is currently writing for a new CBBC show and has several original TV series proposals in development. For theatre, he is under commission from the National Theatre and the RSC to write major plays. Ishy has a number of BFI funded feature film projects at various stages of development and his Teesside based production company Blast Furnace Productions is developing its first short film, set in Redcar. Ishy is a former Trustee of ARC Stockton and is currently a Trustee of LIVE Theatre in Newcastle.


The purpose of the pilot project is to create a proof-of-concept demonstrating that The Latitude Project is, firstly, hugely beneficial to the students taking part and, secondly, can produce high-quality films that function as educational resources.

In order to achieve this, we need to work closely with both film production specialists and educationalists. During the planning stages of the pilot project, we will consult with experts in both fields to maximise the effectiveness of the scheme.

The project itself will take place over 12 weeks at a local secondary school and will be aimed at younger children aged between 11 and 13 years.

Time will be factored into our plans, to carefully coordinate the various phases of the project beforehand. These plans will be compared against the project aims throughout the delivery of the programme. This will be vital as we move towards implementing the larger scheme of work.

The in-school element of the pilot project will be organised into three distinct phases. This is to closely replicate the three phases of a larger film production scheme.


EXPERT SPEAKER: Deliver overview of how to make a film
Come up with the genre together (e.g. ‘comedy’ around long division or ‘horror/suspense’ around multiplying fractions) and story line. Set out schedule for the remaining 11 weeks.

Finalise the script with the students.
EXPERT SPEAKER: Explain the skills required to choose costume, hair, make-up and props for maximum visual effect in telling the story.
Plan and/or implement tasks that are required for the next session. This planning will be discussed with students at the end of each session and will most likely be actioned by group leaders because of time constraints.

EXPERT SPEAKER: What technical skills are needed to be, for example, a set designer/lighting technician?
Construct a set if needed
Decide on costume, make-up and props required
Rehearse/walk through the film just to get bearings and work out what’s missing.

EXPERT SPEAKER: what does it take to be, for example, a director/DOP (director of photography) as well as the essential roles of grip and gaffer
Appoint a script supervisor (to spot continuity errors)
Film small sections of the film to get used to being a director and DOP
Finalise all technical aspects of the filming in order to start properly the following week


WEEK 5-6:
Film the piece.
Appoint special effects designer if required but also in readiness to top and tail the film with opening credits, closing credits, acknowledgements, logos etc.


EXPERT SPEAKER: what is post-production
Appoint post-production roles to assist with editing, sound mixing, subtitling etc.
Students work on editing the film into 3 different versions
Students vote on which one they like best

EXPERT SPEAKER: how important is sound mixing
Final edit with sound and subtitles and special effects added

EXPERT SPEAKER: how is a film sold and distributed
What skills are required to be in sales and marketing

WEEKS 10/11/12:
These weeks will be contingency weeks that can be used over the period of the project to augment learning and practical experience in equipment and method.

We will have a “red carpet” premiere of the film in the school. Alongside the students that make the film we will invite their families, staff and governors. We will also invite potential future funders and supporters of the project.

The desired outcomes will be:
• to have a film that the school can use as an educational resource
• for the participants to have grown in confidence, gained the ability to think critically and work as a team
• for the participants to have become articulate in film and TV production with a desire to enter the industry in the future
• for 2 or more students from Teesside University film school to have gained hands on experience of (a) working on a film as a director or (b) working on a project as a researcher evaluating impact and outcomes.
• to have tangible evidence of the value of the project.


Ishy Din –