“Radio is a fun, creative and inclusive way to engage both teaching and learning. A learning environment that stimulates and motivates pupils”
- Synergy School Radio
Highdown School have their own radio station HSR (Highdown School Radio). The equipment is available for all students and staff to use for curriculum based projects and extra-curricular fun!
Content is often prepared in the classroom with the teacher before a visit to the radio studio to record small groups. Using the radio equipment can also be given as a reward for students’ good work in the classroom.
Sixth Form students can book a recording time for their study periods to make podcasts to support their learning or to develop their skills and UCAS portfolio by promoting school events or fundraising activities.
Teachers and support staff are able to use the radio to make teaching resources.
Some students find listening to audio a great revision technique. Not only do they have their revision notes made to listen to over again but they will also remember the experience recording their podcast. Students can record a simple voice podcast or add some music and sound effects. They could even record their own lyrics of revision material to a tune they like, to help remember it.
At lunchtime and after school the radio equipment is used for extra-curricular activities. Students can use the radio to make their choice of podcasts from radio shows to jingles and adverts. They are able to design their own ‘radio shows’ with features including news, interviews, music, quizzes and messages.
Most of the students who attend regularly are in years 7 and 8; however being part of the radio team is open to all ages.
Every Student can be a Radio Reporter
Digital technology enables many students with voice recorders on their phones to make their own reports for HSR anytime. They may wish to collect some interviews from audiences or backstage at the many concerts held at Highdown or provide some commentary or a sport report whist cheering on the Highdown sports teams.
Student reporters can then come along to radio club for help to edit their recording, use any of the computers available in school outside of lesson time (with their own headphones) or edit their work at home.
Students can opt to get involved on a single occasion for a particular event or work independently making reports to send to the radio team rather than be a regular attendee of the extra-curricular club.
Using the radio whether it be just for fun as an extra-curricular activity or with curriculum content helps to develop students’ confidence, speaking and listening skills. Those who are shy often like the advantage of radio where they cannot see their audience to get stage fright.
Using the radio equipment gives students an opportunity to learn unique ICT skills ‘driving’ the mixer desk to be creative putting together speech, music and sound effects. Students learn how to use Audacity software to edit their podcasts; however, they are encouraged to pretend they are live especially when creating a 30 minute ‘radio show’ podcast when there is little or no time for editing during a lunch break.
Audacity is currently a free downloadable programme and students will need to download an Audacity plug-in to allow the programme to read phone audio files. For more details on software, students can come along to radio club.
Where can Highdown School Radio be heard?
At present HSR plays pre-recorded podcasts however the technology could be set up for live broadcasts in school via an intranet.
The extra-curricular ‘radio shows’ which also include any promotional adverts made by the students are played in The Gallery at lunchtime. Occasionally there are themed menu days hosted by our catering company, Accent. These provide students a subject for their podcast to add to the fun atmosphere. Themes in the past have included America, Jungle, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as seasonal favourites like Halloween and the 'Christmas Countdown'.
Curriculum podcasts are played in the classroom by the teacher or for students’ own study use. Podcasts promoting events, house competitions and school news are distributed to tutors to play during mentor period.
Unfortunately, music licencing means we are only able to play podcasts with copyrighted music and material within school however, we will share a few interviews and news reports with you in due course whenever possible.
Rewards for Getting Involved
Students who attend club once a week during the term each receive a P2 for attending and getting involved. The same applies to students who regularly create reports on location and edit their work at home or elsewhere in school to send to the radio team for broadcasting in mentor period or The Gallery.
These students are then eligible for an invitation to the annual trip each July to BBC Radio Berkshire. As well as a reward for giving up their free time throughout the year to be involved with the school radio, the trip also inspires students who plan to continue being part of the radio team in the next academic year as well as providing them the opportunity to find out about careers in radio.
Students are rewarded with a P1 for using the Highdown School word of the week in context when recording, excellent improvement of skills vocally or technically or a fantastic extra-curricular podcast. Subject teachers may give out P points for good curriculum podcast projects.
For Sixth Form, creating podcasts good for UCAS applications. A mention of being involved or even better an audio portfolio something different to take to a university interview to give students an edge over others who are of a similar academic standard.
Radio Students visiting BBC Radio Berkshire