Pupils from five primary schools were given an insight into the fast-paced word of journalism when they visited Crookhorn College to try their hand at being a reporter for the afternoon, writes English teacher Stephanie Jones.
After an introduction from the editor, head of maths Sean O’Sullivan, children from Years 4, 5 and 6 were promptly given press releases and tasked with choosing which stories were the most important.
Pupil Lillie-Jay Evans dressed as Harry Potter actor Emma Watson, who has a campaign for gender equality called He for She.
Once students had sniffed out the biggest scoop, they had to become super sleuths to find and interview eyewitnesses, played by Crookhorn’s own Year 10 drama students.
The questions asked were incredibly impressive, and certainly made for interesting articles.
As with real journalism though, it is not made easy for the students.
Just when they think they have it all planned, an emergency message arrives from the editor-in-chief also played by Sean O’Sullivan.
He had received a very important phone call that some important visitors were in the building.
Students needed to drop everything and find out who was in the building and why.
As with most VIPs, however, time was limited, so the students had to ensure they were quick or they would miss their chance.
Pupils get an awful lot out of this opportunity. They not only have to choose their stories, but have to ask some pretty probing questions to get the real scoop.
Once they had all the information they need, teamwork was required to put together a winning newspaper.
But, it is not just the visiting schools who benefit. This is also a real opportunity for the Year 10 students to experience interactive theatre. It is vital they maintain the roles to create believable witnesses, so they need to be well researched and rehearsed – a vital skill for GCSE success.
When finalised, the newspapers were appraised by visiting judges, Bob Cooper, the President of Cosham Rotary Club joined by Richard Wilkins, and Daniel Parkinson, Crookhorn College’s own media technician and publicist.
The results had never been so close and Queens Inclosure (last year’s winners) came second by half a point.
This year’s deserving winners with a fantastic front-page story featuring Emma Watson’s He for She campaign for equal rights was Morelands Primary. Pupils each took home a medal and a shield.
What the pupils say...
Scott Fensome, Crookhorn College, Year 10
‘I got great experience, trying to stay in character and perform a role in front of a small audience. It was really challenging trying to answer some of the questions and maintain my role at the same time, but exciting to take part in.’
Lauren Evans, Crookhorn College, Year 10
‘I learnt it was really important to stay in role to convince the children that I was a real football championship winner. I wasn’t prepared for all the questions asked and had to make up some of my answers on the spot which was really challenging.’
Hannah Graham, St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Year 5
‘It was fun getting to try out being a real journalist for the day. I got to meet some very interesting people and try out new skills. I think being a journalist is quite busy and hard because you have to choose your stories very carefully.’
Katie Howard, Crookhorn College, Year 10
‘The children were all really interested in our stories and what we were doing.
‘I discovered that because I believed everything I was saying, they believed me too. It was a challenging day but lots of fun too. I learnt a lot about my drama skills.’
Tallullah Bishop, Queens Inclosure, Year 4
‘I found it exciting. I couldn’t wait to take part in the event. My favourite part was writing the stories, especially the one about the headteacher closing the school. I learnt all about what reporters go through when they are writing newspapers.’