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 firstname.lastname@example.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!