Journalists of the future in training at Horsham primary school

JPCT 030315 S15081092x  Northolmes school run there own after school club where the children write their own newspaper -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150303-102805001
JPCT 030315 S15081092x Northolmes school run there own after school club where the children write their own newspaper -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150303-102805001

Journalists of the future are in training at Northolmes School as they prepare to release the latest edition of their school newspaper.

The Northolmes Oak has taken off over the past year, rivalling the County Times, as students flock to the playground to find out the latest news and gossip at the school.

The newspaper is released every term and is written entirely by pupils at a weekly after school club, who have to source their own stories and work to deadlines just as in a real newsroom.

The club is run by Jane Etheridge who is on the parent committee at the school and also works as a press officer for Sainsbury’s.

She said she decided to create the club to share her skills with the students and give them something else to do after school.

She said: “It is a bit of fun and the governors at the school are right behind it.

“I didn’t know what to do as it is quite a small school and they don’t have many after school clubs.

“As I am a parent and I am on the committee I thought it was important we offered more after school clubs and of course I was one of the only ones who stepped forward.

“I thought I would take my skills from Sainsbury’s and bring it here.”

But none of the pupils are told what to put in each edition as Jane believes it is important for them to go out and report on things that are of interest to them.

She continued: “It is about sitting down with the students and seeing what they want to do with it.

“We looked through the papers and I said see what you like and see what you would like to include in the paper. They will be more interested if they are writing about something they care about.”

Sections the young reporters have come up with for the paper include a recipe section, game and toy reviews, top tens and a hot or not section as well as the usual features and news stories.

One of the young reporters, Alice, said: “I really enjoy it. I joined because I wanted to just help and have fun. My favourite section is the hot or not.”

Reporter Lauren added: “I like the recipe section because I like baking. It gives me something to do after school and it just seemed like fun.”

The children not only write and source their own content but they also are in charge of laying it out on the page and selling the paper in the playground.

“We charge 10p a copy,” Jane said. “That’s to make sure we get the money back for the photocopying.

“Last term we sold 75 copies. I think more people will be interested in it next time as the school fair is going to sell them as well.”

The club is only open to year six pupils as Jane said it is a good way for the young reporters to learn about deadlines and take on little bit more responsibility before they head off to secondary school.

Daniel joined the club at the start of the year and is one of the more experienced reporters.

He said: “The reason why I joined this club was because I saw it and I thought I really wanted to do this and my mum told me to join it because she used to be a journalist in Sutton.

“I like the technical side of it. I do enjoy it and I think it is one of my favourite classes I do at Northolmes.”

Josh, another young reporter, said he joined because it was something a bit different to the clubs he would usually go to.

He said: “I joined because I normally just do sports clubs so I decided to do something different.

“The sports section and the gaming is my favourite. I really enjoy it.”

Reporter Sam said: “I joined because it just seemed like good fun and it gave me something to do after school hours. My favourite part is probably the games section. This time I did the game section and last time I did the toy section.”

Reporter Rumbi added: “It is a lot of fun writing and stuff. I think it is really good.”

The paper was officially launched in the Summer term of last year and is released at the end of every term.

The young reporters are currently working hard on the Easter edition.

Pictures by Steve Cobb.