This report evaluates the impact of the third year of NewsWise – a free, cross-curricular news literacy programme for 9- to 11-year-olds across the UK, developed by the Guardian Foundation, the National Literacy Trust and the PSHE Association, and funded by Google and the Garfield Weston Foundation. Read a report on the second year of the programme.
NewsWise aims to empower children from disadvantaged communities with the skills and knowledge to engage with and enjoy news, to feel confident to ask questions and to challenge misinformation, and to have their own values and opinions. Between August 2020 and July 2021:
- 1,878 pupils in 35 UK primary schools took part in face-to-face NewsWise workshops, giving children the chance to learn about news, improve their news literacy skills and prepare their own reports
- 568 teachers received online training or took part in webinars, helping schools support and embed news literacy across the curriculum
- 58,368 free resources were downloaded from the NewsWise website, including curriculum-based lesson plans, classroom materials and family activity packs.
About the evaluation
The evaluation found that children who took part in NewsWise had increased interest in the news, greater critical engagement and improved confidence and skills when navigating news:
- More than twice the percentage of pupils said they would check whether a news story was reported by other news companies at the end of the programme (increasing from 32.8% to 75.0%)
- One-third (32.9%) said they found it easy to tell whether or not a news story is trustworthy before taking part in NewsWise, and 9 in 10 (90.7%) believed this after taking part. This compares with a national average of 60.3% of Key Stage 2 pupils who say they find it easy
- The percentage of pupils able to correctly identify whether news stories in a news quiz were fake or real more than doubled, with 32.1% scoring two points or more out of three before NewsWise and 73.8% doing so at the end of the programme
- The percentage of pupils saying they were interested in news almost doubled after participating in a NewsWise workshop, increasing from 35.5% to 67.4%
- 92.8% of teachers who took part in a NewsWise teacher training session rated it as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’
- 100% of teachers say they are now more confident in supporting pupils’ news literacy
- 100% of teachers agree that pupils’ skills in thinking critically about news stories increased.
I have rarely seen children so engaged. They saw the power of the media in changing minds. They realised that they aren't powerless, that news organisations can change government's minds.Teacher's comment