Stay Safe Workshop at Norwood School

Written by Sally Hunt.

Staying Safe was our subject when I spent the day at Norwood School in London, working with the school’s Journalism Club – ten students from Year 7, ten from Year 8 and ten from Year 9. I invited PC Sue Randall in from the Met Police for the children to interview on all aspects of safety for teenagers.

Before she came we spent some time doing a short Journalism Masterclass before preparing questions for her. Talking to PC Sue enabled some of the students to be able to bring up their own experiences with safety issues, which were shared and discussed in class.

PC Sue talked to the students about the safest way to travel and to play out. She talked about online safety, stranger danger, danger in the home, bullying, grooming, drugs and alcohol and gangs. The students asked her lots of questions and wrote lots of notes.

This resulted in some fantastic articles and the children learning not only some basic journalistic skills but some extra knowledge about staying safe that they didn’t know before. The students even put a lot of thought into their headlines – most of them using a strong quote from PC Sue. They were enthused and inspired by the workshop.

A brilliant all-round day of learning for the Journalism Club.

STEM workshop - Perkins Engines

Written by Sally Hunt.

As an alternative to traditional work experience, we took two small groups of Year 10s from Ken Stimpson Community School in Peterborough to Perkins Engines, also in Peterborough. The company is one of the world’s leading providers of diesel and gas engines and has an excellent apprenticeship scheme and career structure.

Before we set off we did some research about the company and spent time carefully planning our questions and talking about interviewing skills. We did some mock interviews and looked at an article written by myself as an example of how a good article should be written.

The students were very excited to meet the Perkins’ employees who represented a wide variety of jobs at the company, from a top lady engineer to the canteen manager. Some students got to talk about apprenticeships and one couple interviewed the lady who does the training. It was interesting for the students to see that although the company is known for its engines there are a large variety of career opportunities available there across the spectrum.

When we got back the students wrote their articles in the style of ‘a day in the life of….’. They referred to their notes and I was impressed with the amount of detail they had written down and found out.

It was fabulous to see some of the students so inspired by the day. Some of the boys were very keen to have a factory tour and start to prepare themselves for applying for an apprenticeship when the next intake opens. The teachers were thrilled with the boys’ enthusiasm as this has given them some focus and an idea about what subjects they need to work hard on at school.

A big thank you to Perkins and the staff we interviewed. They were all so patient with the children and truly inspirational. It had the feel of a great company to work for.

“Working with Journalism for Schools has been very inspirational for the students. Thank you for your support over the last two days’ activities. It’s great to see the students participate and benefit.”

Rachel Patman, Pupil Premium Administrator, Ken Stimpson School, Peterborough.

Primary children wrote ‘thank you’ letters!

Written by Sally Hunt.

I spent a morning with a beautifully behaved Year 4/5 class at Farcet Primary School – I don’t think I’ve ever seen children so excited to see me!

This group were full of questions and very keen to learn all about being a journalist and start interviewing and writing up their articles.

We had a bit of fun with some carboard Justin Bieber face masks I had brought in. The children paired up and one was ‘Justin’ and the other was the celebrity reporter. They all loved it and the ‘Justin’s’ said some very funny things making some great articles!!

A few days later I had a lovely email from the teacher. Every one of the children had written me a thank you note and she had attached a selection for me to see.

Letter from Yr 5 Farcet Primary

Transition - Primary to Secondary

Written by Sally Hunt.

I am finding myself increasingly asked to do transition school workshops as an introduction for primary school children to secondary education.

In a nutshell, groups of Year Six students from different feeder primary schools spend the day at their potential new secondary school. They spend the morning with me learning about how to interview people and write up an article about what they have learnt.

The afternoon, or later session, is then spent meeting and interviewing key people from the secondary school. This includes a few teachers, sometimes the head of departments, such as sport or maths, an administration person such as the Business Manager or Bursar, some sixth formers and some new Year 7 students.

They learn lots about the school, especially when they are interviewing the current intake of Year 7’s. We will have prepared our questions earlier, so the younger children will be asking them about the difference between primary and secondary school, the best and the worst things!!

At the end of the interview sessions the students write an article about the person and what they have told them. The articles are put together and displayed on a board back at primary school so other Year 5’s and 6’s can read them.

The children go back to primary school very enthusiastic and excited about starting big school. It helps the secondary school to promote itself and gives them an edge over other secondary schools in the area who are all competing for the same children.

Read more on this subject in the ‘About our School’ tab under ‘Workshops’.

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