SCHOOLCHILDREN posed a number of probing questions to me when I visited them at White Meadows Primary Academy, in Wick, on Thursday (January 8), writes Gazette chief reporter Tom Cotterill.
I stopped by to give year-six pupils some top tips about being a reporter, as well as finding out a little bit about the children’s school project to write their own newspaper.
Aside from the odd comical query, the youngsters did pose genuinely interesting and insightful questions that, at points, left me scratching my head while searching for a good answer.
The questions included everything from what the hardest part of my job was to what the secrets of conducting a good interview were.
And this week, the youngsters of Oak, Elder and Chestnut classes were putting my tips into action – by interviewing a total of 53 different people from across the town. Everyone from Littlehampton’s mayor and leading local politicians to the head of the school, police, firefighters and past pupils who made the brave jump to ‘big school’ were in the children’s sights.
Mayor Jill Long was one of the first to be interviewed on Monday morning.
When I spoke to her about her experience with the schoolchildren, she said: “It was a fun experience.
“The girl who interviewed me came with an array of prepared questions, from how I became mayor to what the role entails.
“She was very professional about it.
“She handled herself really well and had some really good questions.”
Littlehampton Harbour Master Billy Johnson is also set to go into the hot seat, with his interview taking place tomorrow afternoon.
“I am excited to be able to talk to the children,” he said. “I think that not everyone sees what we do in the harbour, so it will be different.
“I have not been interviewed by a child before except my own. So I’m not quite sure how it will all go.”
I am sure the year-sixes will do very well and I look forward to seeing their work.
The year-six teams aimed to spend about 30 minutes with each interviewee. It has been the culmination of work by the children that began before Christmas. Year-six teacher Amanda Tilbrook said it had been a really rewarding experience.
“The children are very excited by the project and seem very eager to do a good job with their interview and write a good article,” she said.
“Some are nervous about interviewing someone on their own, but they have all been putting a lot of effort into their questions and we hope it will build their confidence.
“We decided to do the project because the children were finding it difficult to write without a real-life context.”
The would-be reporters will now spend the next three weeks or so structuring their stories and putting them together into a paper, which they will sell to parents, teachers and other pupils.
The publication, which they have named the Daily Meadows, does not only work on the pupils’ literacy skills but their numeracy and businesses ones, too.
Ms Tillbrook said the classes would all need to work out the cost of printing the papers and the profits they would need to achieve to make it worth publishing.
It is then hoped that all the money they raise will be ploughed back into the school’s funds to pay for an end-of-term treat for the children.