All posts by Mr Rockey

Live outside broadcasts from Exmoor!

This past week we have been on a residential trip to Exmoor where we stayed at Simonsbath House Outdoor Centre and the children had the opportunity to take part in all manner of amazing outdoor activities.

It also provided us, of course, with the chance to take our Hub Reporter portable radio studio to present live outside broadcasts every evening from the common room at the centre, as we had many of our broadcasting team with us. What transpired was four nights of top quality education radio, with up to the minute scripts of each day’s events, outstanding hosting and a huge amount of fun broadcasting live to a record number of listeners and parents, all tuning in to catch the latest adventures and memories we had been making.

I am extremely proud of our week’s broadcasting and you can listen to every one as I have created a playlist from the four shows, below.  You can also listen to the Westwood Talk podcast which covers all elements of the week, including the radio broadcasts and is a real window into the week of fun that we had.

Once again, Westwood Radio brings an innovative approach to education radio!

the impact of education radio

Around two years ago we were fortunate enough to gain the necessary funding to install a radio station at our school. Coming on the back of attending a conference earlier in 2016, I quickly realised that the impact of using live education radio to promote, support and enhance literacy skills across the curriculum had enormous potential.

Russell Prue helped to make this happen and worked with us to supply a stunning  bespoke station from his company Anderton Tiger Radio which is not only high end but so robust and easy to use and enables our children to produce and present their own shows every week.  We have continued to maintain a wonderful relationship with Russell and his company over the years, collaborating on live outside broadcasts and learning from his many years in the industry.  His training days and workshop sessions always bring the very best out of our children. This level of customer service and knowledge has enabled our station to develop significantly and almost 200 shows later, all of which have been live, we have produced many, many hours of live radio for our listeners of our online station via radio.co and we are proud of every one.

With each show comes the responsibility of preparing a script for broadcast, which the children take very seriously, in order to write a piece that is both entertaining and informative. Every member of our broadcast team has, over the years, honed their presentation to the point where each live show is slick, professional and of the highest quality.  Developing skills such as intonation and expression in speaking and listening, sentence construction, paragraphing and phrasing in their writing and, not forgetting, the ability to listen and respond to their broadcasting peers, education radio has enabled children of all writing abilities to progress and become so much more confident with their literacy skills.

There is, of course, one life skill that education broadcasting provides that cannot be taught through the curriculum and that is resilience.  The ability to present behind a microphone, live, to make mistakes, but crucially to move on without being phased is the most wonderful thing to watch as a teacher as it enables young people to grow in their own abilities. It becomes so apparent when we welcome adults into our studio to be interviewed and they readily admit they are nervous or anxious, often when we are simply pre-recording. Our young people, of course, are not and carry out the most fabulous and incisive interviews.

Measuring the impact of education radio on children’s learning is not something that can be written down, assessed in a tick box or graded. However, it can be experienced. The story of a group of boys beginning their broadcasting journey and not really interested in writing to now producing their scripts the day after we have set the show order is quite outstanding. The same group then taking those scripts and giving them life, energy and enthusiasm and loving the opportunity to be live on air to the world, sharing content that they have chosen and written is a joy to watch and listen to.

Here is that very group discussing what they enjoy about being a broadcaster in their own words, unscripted, unprepared and from the heart:

From the individual child or young person who believes they don’t have the confidence to broadcast who then steps into the studio to experience the atmosphere, jingles and excitement to the seasoned professional who has been with us since the beginning and oozes confidence, skill, timing and energy; education radio has something for everyone.

To date, we have produced class radio shows with EYFS children to Y6, presented outside broadcasts at our Summer Fair and local residential care home using our amazing HUB Reporter, been a part of BBC Wiltshire’s Step into Summer campaign  and linked up with Russell live from Dubai, which was just fascinating. All of this in addition to our weekly broadcasts, which I think emphasises the impact, versatility and power of education radio.

If you would like to find out more of what we do, head to https://soundcloud.com/westwoodradio where you can listen again to all of our shows. You can also listen to our station live 24 hours a day on https://stream.radio.co/sb4e04fd70/listen or at  http://radio.westwoodwithiford.org/ and join the other 2000 listeners enjoying our station all day every day. Finally, we are available on all platforms to download as an app and enjoy on the go.

You are most welcome to contact us by email on radio@westwoodwithiford.org or you can text the show on 078600 17404, any time of day or night and we will read out your messages next time we are on air – which is never far away!

For more information on the hardware we use and the best professional, experienced advice, contact Russell Prue at Anderton Tiger Radio.

we’re growing by the day

Since being back on air from the start of this academic year I am delighted to say that Westwood Radio is going from strength to strength.

All of our new radio teams have presented at least one show each and they have all been of the highest quality. Both our Friday show teams were magnificent and showed no nerves and true professionalism. In light of all this, our listening figures have gone through the roof, with 2000 listeners in the past 7 days alone. With a truly international appeal, we have listeners from the US, Canada, France, Germany and New Zealand to name a few.

You may have noticed a new download icon too, in the sidebar, as we now have an app in the itunes App store, available for free download so that you can listen to Westwood Radio wherever you are.

Of course, all of our podcasts are online at soundcloud.com/westwoodradio, so do please give us a listen. We are live online 24hours a day with a brand new and refreshed lineup for our station! Just head to https://stream.radio.co/sb4e04fd70/listen

We’re back on air

Hello again! Westwood Radio is back for another year, packed with top quality shows and professional broadcasting from our children.

With the start of the academic year brings new teams, so we have two new Friday groups, broadcasting alternately every week at the new time of 2.15pm. Our Word on the Street boys have also returned and their first show is now up on soundcloud.com/westwoodradio to listen again. They will be broadcasting from 2.15pm live every Thursday. Also, our radio club breakfast show will be returning live every Monday morning at 8.15am.

Exciting news from Westwood Radio is that we now have apps for you to download to your smartphone or tablet. So far we have an Android app on the Google Play Store, which can be downloaded from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.radio.m285e9b0b3

You can listen to our station 24 hours a day and catch every show live as it happens.  With so much live radio to look forward to from our talented young people, this year is going to be very exciting!

Three live shows a week!

Yes, the title is indeed correct, we are now broadcasting three live shows every week online and worldwide.

The success of our radio station continues to grow, as does the listener base and now with 1500 listeners to our online station every month, the children are reaching far and wide with their broadcasting talent.  Education radio has had such an enormous impact on our learning so far this year that we are using as many opportunities as possible to incorporate script writing, reading and presenting into our curriculum.

From a relatively small beginning, our breakfast show team are now very well estalished and their show is listened to in large numbers every Monday at 8.30am. With the experience of James anchor hosting every show, each week is seamless, professional and very polished. we meet on a Friday after school at radio club to write scripts which are then used in our Monday show and we now have broadcasters ranging from Year 1 to Year 6. We have even had live callers into the show! Do give us a listen on a Monday and get your week off to a flying start!

In addition we now broadcast on a Thursday afternoon at 2.30pm with our brand new Word on the Street show. Working with a group of 10 talented and eager boys, the aim is to develop writing skills, presentation technique and reading. The project has been a huge success and each week is always better than the last. Although they have only been working together for four weeks, the boys have now done two live shows, all prepared and presented by themselves. It is so good to see this way of writing and working engaging our children in such a positive way.

Of course, our Friday show is as popular as ever, with our two broadcasting teams working tirelessly to bring fresh, new and exciting content each week, pushing themselves to produce the est possible education radio for their listeners. Plus we now have a portable broadcasting radio station which we will, very soon, be taking out into the community for live outside broadcasts and we are very excited by that!

With over 20 hours of shows already broadcast this year so far and plenty more to come, our online radio presence is now quite significant for a village primary school.  Next week we are also  being joined by Ben Prater and his breakfast show team, who are broadcasting live from the village, ending up on our playground.

You can, of course, listen to all of our shows on soundcloud.com/westwoodradio, visit our website radio.westwoodwithiford.org or follow us on Twitter @wwipradio to keep up with the amazing achievements of our broadcasters each week.

Here is one of each of this week’s shows for your listening pleasure…

Radio progress

It’s been a while since I last posted on our radio blog as we have been so busy presenting, broadcasting and recording over 15 hours of quality education radio so far this year.

At Westwood Radio we are always aiming to improve our shows in any way we can. So far this year we have taken on a hosted approach to our shows, which has worked beautifully, ensuring fluid and high quality broadcasts twice a week, every week. We have also introduced a competition feature called Name that Noise where listeners can text or email what they think is the noise we play. In the words of the children ‘to win some top merch!’

This week we are very excited as we have taken our shows to a new level with the facility to receive live calls during our shows, allowing us even greater interaction with our many listeners. Do listen out for your chance to call – all of our contact details  an be found on radio.westwoodwithiford.org/contact

With over 1000 a listeners a month to our online station, Westwood Radio continues to grow at a pace. You can tune in 24 hours a day to our station by clicking HERE and every Monday at 8.30am and Friday at 2.30pm we are live to the World.

Westwood and Berkley Joint Show

group

This week on Westwood Radio we welcomed our good friends from Berkley School in Somerset who joined us for a joint radio show, broadcasting live to the world in our usual Friday slot.

Accompanied by their teacher Mr Banton and Mr Oliver, Thomas, Orla, Maisie and Rudy had written their own fantastic scripts which fitted perfectly into a jointly prepared running order and with a very brief session beforehand and a quick practice we went live on air at 2.30!

All of our broadcasters loved the opportunity to work together and it was a joy to see how, in such a short space of time, the power of education radio had brought together children from different schools, presenting with confidence, enthusiasm and excitement. Orla, Maisie, Rudy and Thomas were absolutely superb, stepping into an unknown environment and presenting with incredible skill. They were also interviewed live on air by our Westwood Radio broadcasters to find out more or what life is like at Berkley school.

Once again, the adults were able to step back and enjoy the children at work, controlling the desk, the microphones and ensuring that the show was fluent, packed with quality content and just so much fun. An enormous well done to the children of Berkley school who were amazing and all natural broadcasters – reading 34 emails in one go is not easy! – and you would all be welcome back any time.

What was also apparent was how powerful and collaborative radio is for young people in bringing them together, developing literacy skills, confidence and resilience.  I hope that we can do this again soon. In the meantime, here are a few photos of the show and please listen again to the fabulous children at work:

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Westwood Radio visits BBC Wiltshire

bbc wiltshire

What a day for our young Westwood Radio broadcasters and for all of us at Westwood with Iford School! We had been invited by the head of station sound to join him in the studio to record some very special voice overs for the festive period that is almost upon us. i can’t say too much at this time but will let you know more as soon as I am able! As you can see, we were all SO excited about visiting a real radio station that broadcasts to 80,000 people a day!

On arrival we were straight into one of the actual radio studios used by the presenters and immediately behind the microphones for everyone to have a go at recording some lines that Nj, the sound engineer, had prepared for us. Without any nerves and with complete professionalism, the children were an immense credit to our school, spending well over an hour recording voice overs for BBC Wiltshire and all with complete and perfect radio etiquette.

With a quick bit of lunch it was then on to a tour of the station and what a wonderful surprise we had. Graham Seaman was live on air with his lunchtime show and invited us to join him live in the studio for a chat. Yes, live to 80,000 people! As I knew and expected, the children conducted themselves as brilliantly and confidently as they do in our studio at school and were so at ease behind the microphone I was immensely proud of all of them. Talia even got to cue up the next song after our interview before we said our huge thanks and goodbyes to Graham and continued with the tour. You can listen again to our radio apperarance at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05l5g56 from 29:01.

With so many excellent questions from the children and a wealth of knowledge shared by Nj, the time raced by and before we knew it, we were back on the bus and listening to the remainder of Graham’s show on our way home.

This was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities for us all and is such a positive reminder of the doors that  education radio broadcasting can open to our children. this was certainly yet another day to be proud of everyone and I thank them for the most wonderful day. I hope you remember it for many years to come.

Here are some photos of our day.

We also recorded a very special podcast of our experience too!

Children in Need Fun

Today was a first for Westwood Radio as we broadcast our live weekly show in our pyjamas! Raising money for the wonderful cause that is Children in Need, everyone took part in the spirit of the day and it brought some wonderful light hearted banter and good humour to the studio, with our broadcasters all showing tremendous confidence and professionalism behind the microphone once again.

This term we have adopted a hosted approach to our broadcasts and Dan and Dougie, who led our show today for the first time, did an outstanding job. You may have noticed that we also have some new jingles, sounders and sweepers as we develop our radio station even further and enjoy our broadcasting week on week.

With prompts around the studio for even more variety in our intros and outros and the ability to keep our songs into our podcasts for downloadable enjoyment, our radio station continues to go from strength to strength. Here’s a sneak peek inside our studio prior to today’s show and you can listen or download it from the player below:

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Quality Education Broadcasting

We always look forward to Fridays as it is our opportunity to broadcast live to the community and the world once again. During the week our children are constantly refining their scripts and skills in preparation to present the best show possible and this week they excelled themselves once again.

After our inspirational and informative training day with Russell last week, we changed the format of our show slightly to incorporate two central hosts who took control of the tech and guided the show beautifully.  This will be a role that we rotate throughout the year and it proved to be incredibly successful. Our children were so confident and everyone in the studio was very relaxed, resulting in lovely discussion and cross-desk exchanges between our presenters.

As always, there was the usual mix of top quality school and community news along with a fabulous interview with Jules Howard, top zoologist and BBC presenter who joined us on Wednesday to give us an incredible day’s learning about fossils. With some excellent song choices from the children and audience participation through email and text, it made for a fantastic show which almost topped 30 minutes, even after editing and song removal. Well done everyone, it was a pleasure to be in the studio watching.

We even had a retweet from Richard Allinson, famous Magic FM radio DJ on Twitter last night!
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Here is the show in full for you to listen again: