Asbo Records to turn pupils into pop stars

5th February 2010 at 00:00
First a radio show, now a music label for school in ex-mining village aiming to unite community

A primary in a deprived area of Nottinghamshire is to launch its own music label, which pupils have named Asbo Records.

Staff at Cotgrave Candleby Lane School will convert the caretaker's bungalow into a recording studio accessible to pupils and local bands.

"You see kids on YouTube singing and dancing in their bedroom," said headteacher Chris Wheatley. "We want them here in the studio - we sign them, we own them and we do their marketing."

The scheme, which was first suggested by extended school manager Devon Elliott, will divide profits between the bands and the school.

"We want our pupils to be involved in the production, marketing, advertising, design and so on," said Mr Wheatley. "I want them to see what is needed to get a song to number one in the charts."

Asbo Records will give local bands the opportunity to record albums. Andy Terry, the school's media manager, used to be a sound director for Central TV and, with the help of pupils, will manage the studio. The plan is to organise gigs and produce CDs, alongside marketing and advertising campaigns.

An ex-mining village, Cotgrave is described by Mr Wheatley as a deprived area, home to youth crime, truancy and teen pregnancies. He aims to engage with the local people.

"It's a great addition to our extended schools programme," he said. "We already get some 14- and 15-year-old ex-pupils coming back to the radio station."

This isn't the first time the school has worked with the community. Every Sunday, 60,000 people tune in to CrocFM, the school's radio show. The hour-long programme, which was established in 2004, is pre-recorded every Wednesday and presented by pupils.

It was originally broadcast from a broom cupboard before it moved to the boys' toilets when the school amalgamated in 2006. The school has been on a new site in Candleby Lane since 2007, where the radio station has a designated area.

"The show gives a youth take on the world," said Mr Wheatley. "Students alternate the presenting and talk about hot topics such as The X Factor and what they think about it."

And a radio station and record label is not the end - Cotgrave Candleby's staff want a TV studio next. But for now, the focus is on the recording studio.

"We would love Children in Need to get involved with a big band like McFly coming into the studio to record a charity song," said Mr Wheatley. "It's become a snowball effect. We are ready to take on Simon Cowell."

Media studies

  • Last summer, hundreds of Year 5 and 6 pupils wrote and produced podcasts for 17 London attractions as part of the BBC's Tide and Times Project. The guides were on display and on the internet.
  • In 2006, pupils at Govan High School in Glasgow released a CD of the dinner ladies singing a cover version of Milkshake by American Ramp;B singer Kelis. The song, featuring The Kitchenettes, sold 250 copies and received regular airplay on local radio stations.
  • In 2005, Kingsmead Community School in Wiveliscombe, Somerset, visited Zambia, where they made audio recordings with Helen Kaunda High School for Girls and Mukuba Secondary School for Boys. The material was used to create a joint radio programme on the web, which was also transmitted on 10Radio, Wiveliscombe's local radio station.

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