Schools come together to learn radio and podcasting skills

Posted on 28th June 2019

Students at Bedales were joined by pupils from The Petersfield School (TPS), Churcher’s College and Ditcham Park School on 26 June as they brushed up on their audio and media literacy skills at Petersfield Community Radio’s Schools’ Audio Day.

Led by award-winning multimedia journalist Jonathan Richards, creative audio producer James Stodd and media executive and Petersfield Community Radio co-founder Stephen Martin, the event – which was hosted at Bedales – brought together pupils from the project’s partnership schools for a hands-on introduction to producing content for radio.

After a welcome from Stephen and a video introduction from another of the Petersfield Community Radio project co-founders, ITV’s Richard Gaisford, the day kicked off with a look at the different styles of reports created for news bulletins on a range of radio stations – from BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, to BBC Radio 4 and BBC Five Live.

Pupils were then thrown straight into a practical exercise as they worked in groups to come up with three story ideas to pitch to Jonathan in an editorial meeting for a news bulletin they would produce later that day.

At the meeting, a multitude of ideas – including a look at the recent heatwaves in the UK and Europe, and an investigation into the private lives of fifth year students – were quickly whittled down to just four, with students tasked with producing a news report on four topics: the Royal house renovation (Bedales); the rise of artificial intelligence (Ditcham Park); the dangers posed by a local road crossing (Churcher’s); and the global issue of plastic pollution (TPS).

After heading out to write, stage interviews and record their reports, pupils returned to edit their work using a range of digital tools, before coming together to deliver the one o’clock news live.

Petersfield Community Radio co-founder Stephen Martin said: “It is one of the tenets of our formation that we work within the community, and partnering with the schools in the town is a big part of that. These youngsters had so much enthusiasm for what they were doing that it was a joy to be able to help them.

“Hopefully, we’ll see them helping out at Petersfield Community Radio before they go on to make a name for themselves somewhere else.”

Bedales Director of External Relations Rob Reynolds added: “We were delighted to host this audio training event, working with partner schools and the Petersfield Community Radio team. The quality of the work produced on the day by the budding reporters was really engaging and impressive. The radio project is a great example of a community-led innovation and we are very grateful to the project volunteers who gave up their time for the benefit of pupils.”