Barnham students take to the airwaves

St Philip Howard Catholic School
St Philip Howard Catholic School

LAST-MINUTE nerves could not get the better of rookie reporters in Barnham as they took over the airwaves of one of the nation’s biggest news corporations.

Dozens of pupils from St Philip Howard Catholic School ditched their school books for note pads and dictaphones to become journalists for the day as part of the nationwide BBC School Report.

Students from Years 8 and 9 were tasked with scouring the local and national papers for potential news stories to form part of a 15-minute radio bulletin, which was uploaded to the BBC’s website.

The youngsters were all split into specialist teams – from editors and sub-editors, who ran the show and organised the team, to researchers, technical experts, presenters, photographers and meteorologists.

It was a demanding task for editors Betty Perceval, 14, and Lottie Myers, 12.

“I’m really excited because I’ve always wanted to do something in the media,” said Betty at the start of the day.

“I’m quite bossy and I like being in charge, but I think it is going to be a big challenge to keep everything running smoothly.”

The youngsters used their news noses to identify hot topics nationally, from the maiden voyage of a solar-powered plane, to a royal visit in the USA, as well as all the latest national sporting news and weather reports.

Among the news stories was an exclusive interview with Sir Christopher Hum, the former ambassador to the People’s Republic of China from 2002 to 2005, secured by the students when he visited the school earlier in the year.

“The students have all been working so hard to get everything done,” said English teacher Andrea Brogan.

“But it’s going to get extremely stressful when they start having to put together their running order for the broadcast.”

As the time dwindled towards deadline, there was a sudden rush to finish scripts and edit sound bites in time for the show’s 2pm deadline.

Thankfully, the seven presenters, Kate Brewer, Paige Leggatt, Tansy Hobson, Rafael, Rhea Flinn, Eloise Mcquillan-Graham and Adesola Kanmi-Jones, did a sterling job.

Relieved sports presenter Kate, 12, said: “It was just chaos. At one point we didn’t have the audio from one of the interviews. We were all a bit nervous during the broadcast but once we got into it was really fun.”

The next day Betty had the chance to broadcast on BBC Sussex’s drive-time radio show with presenter Sarah Gorrell.