Children's bog blog puts Nasa in the shade

27th January 2006 at 00:00
In a straight battle between the mysteries of the red planet and the state of the toilets at a Leicestershire primary, the judges of the Yahoo! Find of the Year decided they would rather read about the loo.

Pupils at Woodland Grange primary, Oadby, have blogged and podcast their way to success beating the Mars Rover pages created by Nasa, the mighty space agency, in a war of the websites.

The Woodland Grange website was created by pupils with the help of Richard Smyton, the deputy head and Year 5 teacher. "The whole process of being noticed has been fantastic in itself for children at the school," he said.

"Being lucky enough to win is an amazing achievement and something that will inspire us to go further."

The 450-pupil school, where pupils get to indulge their love of typing in many colours, also saw off slickly-designed sites from PBS, the US TV channel; YouGov, the pollsters; and the British Geological Survey to top the educational section of the competition.

The school site, which costs around pound;200 a year to maintain, includes a podcast radio show, the chance to chat to Woody the school's owl mascot and blogs written by pupils in which they share news ranging from messing around in the toilets to a child's prowess on a computer game.

Mr Smyton spends about an hour a week updating the site and pupils can log on at lunch time to add their contributions. There is also a Thursday computer cafe for children wanting to learn web design.

He said: "Seven years ago I had never laid hands on a computer. But I learnt as I went along. It is such a motivating subject for children - I can't stay one step ahead of them these days."

Andy Williams of Yahoo! Search said: "The Woodland Grange website really stood out as it is packed full of information and useful resources for teachers, parents and children."

The site now goes forward for a people's choice award. Votes can be cast on 2005finds. we did it: read Richard Smyton on his school's award-winning website at

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