English - Breaking news - Children produce a TV report in a field trip with a difference

28th September 2012 at 01:00

Organising a school trip is never as appealing as it sounds, what with arranging risk assessments, packed lunches and transport. But our trip to Sky Skills Studios - a pioneering new educational facility that offers a television production experience in real studios to children aged 8-18 - made the paperwork worthwhile. From the moment the children entered the West London studios, they were captivated.

Split into three groups, in a three-hour session, they were helped to write, shoot and edit their own TV report in one of four simulated "live" studios. With the help of a skilled production leader they were able to use real HD cameras, editing desks, green screens and props. The final reports were then topped and tailed with clips from Sky presenters.

The children were each allocated a role - for example, editor, presenter or camera operator - and each completed a section of the film, which was then edited to produce the final cut.

We chose to work on a story about the Olympic and Paralympic Games, exploring areas including the competition for places, how athletes became involved, how young people can follow in their footsteps and what London 2012's legacy will be.

The children had to match the topic they were working on with the correct footage, writing their scripts as they went along. The presenter was given a professional-looking outfit and filmed against a digital background.

The children absolutely adored this experience, which gave them behind- the-scenes insight into how the television industry works. Most of them had no idea how much effort goes into a programme like this. Some now want to pursue a career in TV. The experience also built on what the children already understood about teamwork, communication, problem-solving and collaboration. And it was great for me to be able to take a back seat and see the children, not through a teacher's eyes, but as a spectator, watching them engrossed in a task.

At the end of the session, the children saw their finished piece and celebrated their achievements together. Every child, regardless of their ability, had participated in the activities, and there was an immense sense of achievement for all of them. The feedback from parents after the trip was fantastic and many have asked if the studios are open to the public, because their children were so enthusiastic.

Kerry Dunford teaches Year 6 at Wix Primary School in Wandsworth, southwest London

What else?

BBC Class Clips - Media has shared a video introduction to film-making. bit.lyBBCmakeafilm

Or try a lesson plan and resources from Adobe to help pupils make their own documentaries. bit.lyAdobedocs

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