At a House of Commons Awards ceremony on Monday, ITN newsreader Dermot Murnaghan, who presented the primary awards, said he was extremely impressed by the "quality, flair and sheer professionalism" of entries, particularly as the competition had taken place on March 13 - the day of the Dunblane massacre. "It wasn't easy for any of us so-called professionals to cover Dunblane but it was reported responsibly and sensibly by you," he told children at the ceremony. "Perhaps a bit of a lesson could be learned by some Fleet Street journalists. "
The competition, sponsored by Xemplar Education, was organised by Tees Valley Educational Computing Centre. Judges included TES promotions director Helen Priday and resources editor Gillie Macdonald. TES editor Patricia Rowan presented the secondary awards.
Ms Priday said around 20,000 pupils had taken up the challenge to produce a newspaper in a day, some from as far afield as the Falkland Islands, Oman and Sri Lanka. Standards had improved in the international category in particular, and entries from primary schools had "continued to surprise and delight us", she added.
Prizes for the three categories - primary, international and secondary Q were provided by Xemplar Education. The primary and international winners received an Acorn Risc PC700 or an Apple Macintosh Performa 5200, complete with full multimedia systems. There was no overall winner in the secondary category, but the joint runners-up each received two Acorn Pocket Books with computer links.
Bob Twells, deputy head of Royal Kent primary school, Oxshott, Surrey, which won the primary category for its newspaper Royal Star, was delighted. "I'd definitely take part again next year. There was tremendous pressure to get the paper finished in time. You don't normally have those kinds of deadlines in education so it was an interesting experience and we all discovered quite a lot about ourselves and each other, " he added.
* The results were: Primary: First Royal Star, Royal Kent primary school, Oxshott; second Gipton Gazette, Oakwood primary school, Gipton, Leeds; third Fast Forward, Broadclyst CP School, Exeter, Devon.
Secondary: no overall first prize winner; joint second Apollo, Whitby Community College, North Yorks; Reading Today, Reading School; third Pulse, Conyers School, Yarm, Cleveland.