Year 9 journalists hold their front page

15th July 2005 at 01:00
Crime in the community, anti-social behaviour orders and the merits of a school healthy-eating strategy are among the issues being investigated by journalists this week - at Whitchurch high school, in Cardiff.

The wannabe investigators in Year 9 have ditched their traditional school uniforms and have been hitting the phones and using their contacts to get to the bottom of a number of issues affecting their community.

The "journalists" are just one group of youngsters who have been part of an initiative that has taken a whole year group out of the classroom for a week.

Year 9 at Whitchurch have been off-timetable for five days to take part in Super Learning Week, which involves a variety of real-world activities, with formal teaching kept to a minimum.

English teacher Sarah Jones, who is leading the journalists' group, said it was all about encouraging pupils to find out how to learn on their own.

"Instead of teachers telling them what to do, this is all about letting pupils find their own way to achieving an objective," she said.

The journalists have until the end of the week to produce and present a special news bulletin to the rest of their year group.

Abi Baker, 14, who is researching a report about a new recreational building for the school, said: "I've learned a lot about what's newsworthy and how to go about reporting an issue that's in the public interest. It's good to learn something new in a different way."

Other groups have been pursuing different subject-based projects all week and will present their end product today.

The drama and music groups have spent the week putting together a musical, while the religious-education group has met a barrister, visited court and looked at issues of miscarriages of justice.

A home-economics team has been working with county catering to put together a healthy-eating strategy, while the film group has spent the week filming the activities of everyone else, as a record of the project.

Lyn Mills, assistant head, said that plans were already being made to repeat the project next year.

"We've been delighted with the enthusiasm shown by all the staff and pupils," she said.

"The usual timetable is very structured and pupils have to go from one subject to another, whereas this is an opportunity for them to focus on one thing, to plan things and to reflect on what they are doing.

"It also gives them an insight into the real world."

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