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‘Securing Excellence in Schools and Academies’

Pupils get reporting tips from Newspaper Editor

Children at William Gladstone Church of England Academy in Newark were delighted when a real-life newspaper Editor made a surprise visit to their lessons to help them write their own investigative news articles!


Children at the Newark based primary school were shown an animated story in class which teaches children about the use of ‘foreshadowing’ in a literary context. The story uses hints as to what might be taking place; leaving the viewer with burning questions of what might happen next.

The children were then asked to write and illustrate their own news report taking known facts and clues from the video.


What the children didn’t know however, was that a real newspaper Editor was going to help them to structure their reports!


During the visit, children got top tips from Phil Cound, a Nottinghamshire newspaper proprietor and Editor, on how to report facts, how to form punchy headlines and to keep the readers’ interest.


The Editor of Nottinghamshire in Focus and Nottinghamshire Aspect magazine said he was pleased to help children understand how a news report should be structured. “The idea behind the visit was to provide children with a structure to their writing. Unlike their fictional story writing, the children had to take into account what was known about the emerging story, be careful to relate the facts and then be sensitive about any potential speculation as to what might be happening.” Children were taught the importance of a headline that is attention grabbing, and how to formulate an article using the parameters set by events in the story and how to use images to illustrate the piece.


Once the lesson was over, children set to work, and taking the expert’s advice to heart produced their own realistic front-page stories.


Once completed the children sent off their work to Phil at his newspaper office in Burton Joyce. “The children’s work arrived at my office, all set out just like a front pages of a typical newspaper. It was great to see the finished pieces; they clearly had a lot of fun doing it and took on board the advice I gave.  I definitely think we have some future journalists in the bunch!”


Head Teacher Sarah Clarke said the children had really enjoyed the visit. “It is fantastic to have professional people come into school; not only to inspire children to take an interest in different careers, but in this case, to get some great writing advice from someone who has made a successful career of it. The experience Phil was able to discuss with children will make the lesson, and the things they learned, so much more memorable for the children.

“They were so inspired, and we want to thank Phil for taking the time to come and see us. Also, to warn him that some of our pupils now have their sights set on his job!”