North Ayrshire Council’s journalism teaching project has proved to be a big hit with students across North Ayrshire primary and secondary schools.

The project was born thanks to collaboration between Angela Noble, Literacy & English Coordinator for North Ayrshire, and Anne Noble, Education Resource Librarian, who wanted to bring literacy “off the page”, incorporating the world of work.

So ‘Say It As It Is!’ was born, which explored the art of journalism, shorthand and interview techniques, used research skills and information gathering to create factual articles and trained in Cornell note-making, a skill for life.

The project covered several lessons and included some in person school visits, where pupils at Abbey, Glebe and Woodland’s primary schools and students at Ardrossan, St. Matthews and Irvine Royal Academies had the chance to experience some first-hand learning.

This included a visit from local children’s author, Lindsay Littleson, who writes historical fiction. She shared her journey from primary teacher to author and discussed how important it is to get your facts right when writing about real life events in the past.

Pupils were then given the chance to write up their own biography research task based on local heritage. Feedback was great and an S3 pupil in Ardrossan Academy held back to speak to author, Lindsay Littleson, and ask her about her novels, and sharing his love of books.

Murray Grayston (a journalism student and former Ardrossan pupil) gave pupils a chance to ask about journalism and student life. This was inspirational and aspirational for our young learners. While at St Matthews an S1 pupil held back at the end and gave up his break time to interview Murray and take notes in his spiral notebook.

One pupil interviewed his Grandpa (using reporter guidelines and note-making skills). This linked into ‘Rights Respecting Schools’ and was shared on the school’s media platform.

Angela Noble aims to offer this motivational programme out to more schools in 2022-23 and give another local student journalist a chance to participate with the existing team and author. The team involved have made it sustainable by creating a replicable approach, skill set and resource.

She said: “I am extremely proud of everyone who worked hard to make ‘Say It As It Is!’ successful, especially our amazing pupils.”

Anne Noble added: “I’m delighted that pupils have engaged with the project and, as well as learning new skills, have been inspired by taking part.”

Author Lindsay Littleson, commented: “It was a real pleasure to take part in this wonderful, impactful project. The pupils asked really thoughtful questions about my writing journey and the challenges involved in researching and writing historical fiction.”

Journalist Murray Grayston, said: “If even one pupil was inspired to step into journalism from ‘Say It As It Is!’ it will show just how worthwhile and powerful the programme can be.”