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24 September 2014
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Children interviewing each other.
This pair take control of the mic

Norwich children make radio

By Cath Saunt
Children from a Norwich school have been picking up the tricks of the radio trade from BBC journalists. The project is part of the new Making Radio campaign which aims to encourage pupils from local primary schools to create their own programmes.

The timetables have been turned upside down at St William's Primary School in Norwich with teachers, pupils and parents taking part in one of BBC Radio Norfolk's biggest ever outside broadcasts.

The Making Radio project has been set up by the BBC's community arm - BBC Voices led by Gary Standley and Wendy Witham.

It came after Radio Norfolk journalist Cath Saunt met with Nigel Wood, the new head teacher at St William's. Both felt radio would be a fantastic way for young children to learn.

Creativity in the classroom

"Like ducks to water," that's how teacher and computer co-ordinator Sarah Boyden described her pupils' involvement so far in the Making Radio Week.

She's been a driving force in setting up the pilot project that BBC Voices will roll out to other schools across the county.

"I personally have got a lot more confidence in coming away from pencil and paper and it's brought more creativity to the children's lessons," she said.

"They've learnt quite a lot of skills, the sorts of questions they can ask when they're writing an informative piece and I think that's helped them stay focused."

Having their say

The aim is to give children a voice and they are also learning how to listen and gain confidence from being able to express themselves.

Some of the ideas the seven-year-olds in Miss Boyden's class have been asked to take on board are quite advanced.

The pupils have been shown how to download a free editing programme called Audacity.

They've been given microphones that plug into their computers so that they can record and mix their own radio show - this will then be uploaded to their web site as a podcast.

Crafting radio

The class has been listening to and making trails or adverts for programmes and has written news reports based on a courtroom drama they enacted.

"I've liked basically everything - especially when we did the trails because I like the Panorama music," said Henry from year three.

His friend Amaka also liked the fact that everyone felt included.

"We all got to be recorded and to go on the radio," she said.

The Making Radio Week coincides with the school's Healthy Living Week and the children will be trying their hand at football commentaries, cooking, gardening and documentary-making.

The buzz word in schools at the moment is creativity - and the Making Radio Week seems to fit the trend.

"It's an absolutely fantastic project and it's really brought learning alive," said Nigel Wood.

"We hope that this really provides a model of some activities that schools might want to take on in the future," he added.

audio Listen: St William's Healthy Living project >
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To find out how your school can take part in Making Radio phone the BBC Action Desk on 01603 631 631.

last updated: 18/11/08
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