Learning winner up for RTS award

Sarah Hodgetts and Sarah Hodgetts worked for six months on her BBC Learning commission

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The winner of a BBC Learning competition for staff in Salford is now in contention for a Royal Television Society award.

Sarah Hodgetts won the chance to work on her innovative idea for a schools programme about rock formations, which is up for an RTS North West prize next month.

She had been working for camera kit providers DV Solutions when she entered the open brief competition, which invited proposals from anyone working in MediaCity for a one-off commission for The Learning Zone.

Despite having minimal production experience, Sarah spent six months as a self-shooting researcher, turning her idea into a series of short films for the overnight service for teachers and pupils.

Called Rock Types at Great Heights, the films are aimed at GCSE students studying geology/geography and earth sciences and use climbing as a device to look at rock types and formations.

Outdoor sports

'My interest in geology came about through outdoor sports,' explains Sarah, who now works as senior creative producer for Fixers Scotland, an organisation which makes anything from films and websites to comic books and posters with and for Scotland's 16-25 year olds.

'Climbing and mountaineering inspired me to try to better understand how rocks, rivers, mountains and lakes are formed.'

But like many students, she found geology books dry and so wanted to show the subject in a different light.

The series, in which geologist Tom Challands challenges six young people to climb a different rock face, is among the nominees in the learning category of the awards which take place in Manchester on November 23 and will be hosted by Dan Walker.

'I am delighted that my idea won the Learning open brief,' reflects Sarah.

'I am incredibly grateful that BBC Learning gave me the opportunity to work on what is ultimately my dream job. I really hope the programme will be used by teachers to inspire their students.'

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