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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Radio has pupils walking on air

By Natalie Chapples

FURNESS young people are to hit the airwaves with a dynamic new radio project.

Hundreds of students from eight secondary schools and Barrow Sixth Form College will be responsible for planning and creating Furness Youth Radio (FYR) from September.

The broadcast will go out on an FM frequency on Thursday November 13.

Pupils will present the show from Dowdales School, at Dalton, which will host the studio for the day.

Each school is set to have a slot of around one hour.

The scheduling is down to the students and there is expected to be a lively magazine style mix.

The programmes may follow a single theme or include various features, news items, debates, interviews and entertainment, such as music and plays.

The project is being managed by Cumbria Business Education Consortium (CBEC).

Each school will also have a business or entrepreneurial element in their programme.

The show is also set to end with the students putting questions to a media panel.

CBEC has already run successful youth radio projects in Kendal, Workington and Carlisle.

One Cumbrian school even managed to get an interview with Queen legend Brian May about his astrophysics links.

Carol Reynolds, operations manager at CBEC said: “Each time it has been a huge success and the children have gone away and said wow I want to do this again. The children get a fantastic feeling.

“It will be really exciting for them, and it helps them be aware of their community.”

Mrs Reynolds said the project ticks many boxes, including literacy, drama, and the new Diploma in Creative and Media which is being led by Barrow Sixth Form from September.

Furness Youth Radio students will receive advice and guidance from Amanda Bell, station manager of 107.3 Abbey FM, in Barrow.

Mrs Bell said: “The opportunities a project like this provides are immense.

“Obviously the students have the chance to learn the basics of broadcasting and explore a wide spectrum of media related careers. But there are many other hidden opportunities – it’s a wonderfully exciting way of reinforcing the fundamental life skills: verbal expression, writing, computer technology, music and art for instance – and a great way of engaging students in enterprise.”

Ian Booth, an assistant head at Dowdales, said the school was delighted to collaborate with CBEC once again.

Mr Booth said: “As a specialist school for the Performing Arts we are proud to host the Furness Youth Radio initiative.

“This is an exciting and innovative opportunity for us to extend our cross curricular work in literacy, citizenship and careers education as well as contributing to the personal and social development of the pupils involved.

“The project is timely in that we have just been accepted onto the Change School programme with Creative Partnerships, designed to put creativity at the heart of learning.

“We are continually experiencing the benefits of working with professional creative practitioners and this will be another opportunity to work with local media, businesses and organisations.

“The project will also support the development of the new Diploma in Creative and Media.”

The schools taking part in Furness Youth Radio are Alfred Barrow, Dowdales, Parkview, St Bernard’s, Thorncliffe, Ulverston Victoria High, Walney, George Hastwell, and Barrow Sixth Form College.

Students took part in a competition this month (JUNE) to design the station logo.

A website may also be set up to accompany the project.

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