Star Students: BBC School Reporters

BBC School Report 2017

On Thursday 16th March 2017, Penrice Academy students took part in BBC School Report for the third year running, and ended the day representing their school on national television.

Over 900 schools across the country take part in BBC School Report and this year Penrice lead the agenda for the South West, representing their county on BBC Spotlight for the 6.30pm bulletin.

For News Day, 17 students in Years 7 and 9 came together to report on the news that matters to them, making use of a range of mediums including phone interviews, photography and videography.

Stories included British Science Week, a report from Newquay on the Bloodhound Car and an interview with the Invictus Trust – our local school charity – about breaking the taboo of Mental Health.

Year 7s Elle Bennett and Olivia Burgess also interviewed Brook Cornwall over the phone about the importance of Teaching Sex and Relationships in schools and Year 7s Bella Pomeroy, Anna Kittow, Elise Lobb, Ava Mounsey and Phoebe Seaber interviewed Bailey the School Dog, who spends a few hours a week with our students helping with anxiety and reading.

There was also a special video report from Jamie Squire and Ethan Menear from Year 9, who talked about the rise of the Go Pro and strapped a camera to Bailey’s harness to get a ‘dog’s eye view’ of a day at Penrice. For Sport, BBC School Report veteran Jake Shillaber investigated how you become a professional referee.

However the big story from the day was Bella Taylor’s exclusive interview with children in Kissi Town in Sierra Leone, which she turned into a news package for BBC Spotlight. Bella, Year 9, has taken part in School Report every year and spent the day mentoring the Year 7s.

Bella said: “It was incredible talking directly to the children that #Penrice3580 is helping and to hear from them exactly what they need. They spoke of chalk boards, books and footballs – so that’s our next step!”

Bella and Head Boy Gabe Connolly were invited to BBC Spotlight to close School Report News day, discuss their charity project and what they love about School Report. They were also given a tour of the studios and an introduction to reporting the weather by Spotlight’s David Braine, before Bella’s package was broadcast live.

Gabe said of the experience: “As Year 11s approaching the end of our time at Penrice it was an honour to be invited to Spotlight to share news of what the community of St Austell has achieved in such a short space of time. In a way it’s our legacy, and I’m really proud to be a part of it.”

Jade Cox, English Teacher at Penrice Academy and BBC School Report Lead, said: “I could not be more impressed by the quality of journalism that I saw on News Day. Our Year 7s especially tackled some tough subjects but did so really professionally, and we’ve had some great feedback from their interviewees.”

Jade is also one of three members of Penrice staff going to Sierra Leone in April, to share word of the school’s charity efforts and discuss plans to create a ‘Penrice Academy classroom’, stocked with donations from St Austell.

She said: “It’s been amazing to see the passion from our future journalists spreading word of such a fantastic project. You haven’t heard the last of them.”