Primary schools in Middlesbrough visit the We Are Middlesbrough pop-up newsroom as part of the Middlesbrough Reads campaign

23 May 2019
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To celebrate the BBC’s focus on Middlesbrough this week, our Middlesbrough Reads team took two local primary schools to the BBC We Are Middlesbrough pop-up newsroom, where they learned about working in the media.

The BBC’s We Are Middlesbrough project comes as the town prepares to host BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Stewart Park this Bank Holiday Weekend. The initiative is shining a light on the stories of the people from Middlesbrough, its history and showcasing the best things about living in the town.

Pupils from Beech Grove Primary School and Hemlington Hall Academy were invited to join Middlesbrough Reads to experience how the BBC produces its TV at the Cleveland Centre on Monday. The children had the chance to present the sports round-up from BBC Look North’s famous red sofa using an autocue, play a Horrible Histories puzzle game, peer inside Doctor Who’s TARDIS and appear live on the area’s local radio station, BBC Tees. Pupils were even able to watch as the BBC afternoon news was broadcasted live to the nation, by newsreader Simon McCoy.

At the end of the session we asked the pupils about the part of the day that they enjoyed the most and the new skills they had learnt. They said:

“I learned that it takes a lot of practice to read the news.”

“The cameras come with a special screen that has a script for the presenter to read.”

“On the BBC they use a silver screen instead of a green screen so if you wear a green jumper your body won’t disappear.”

When asked about their favourite things about reading, the pupils said:

“It helps to grow my imagination”

“It gives me things to write about.”

“It can take you anywhere.”

Our Middlesbrough Reads Manager Allison Potter said:

“We had an excellent afternoon at the We Are Middlesbrough pop-up news room. We know that literacy and employment-focused school trips are a great way to raise children’s aspirations and we hope that the pupils from Beech Grove Primary and Hemlington Hall Academy enjoyed their day.”

The National Literacy Trust and Middlesbrough Reads offer two programmes to schools to encourage pupils to become more engaged in the media and the working world. NewsWise provides teachers of pupils in Years 5 and 6 with a suite of curriculum-based lesson plans and online resources about spotting fake news, as well as school workshops delivered by journalists. It is delivered in partnership with the Guardian Foundation and the PSHE Association.

Our Words for Work programme gives young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the communication skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Volunteers from the local community share their knowledge of employment and the workplace, working with students through a variety of activities designed to improve communication skills.