Sheldon Heath Media Summer Challenge

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The aim of the Summer Challenge was to produce three minute broadcast quality film dramas, set in Birmingham.

This programme took part in two phases: first a Summer Challenge at which young people from Sheldon Heath School would gain the technical skills to make a short film. In the second phase the young people would then take part in follow up weekend sessions in which, supported by professionals and trained staff, they would pass the knowledge they had gained on to younger students from Elms Farm and Stanville primary schools.


What Participants Say

‘I’ve enjoyed the last two weeks a lot and this experience has taught me to appreciate the effort that goes into filming much more."

Young person

"Though the main aim of participating students was probably to gain technical skills and have fun, the KS4 students demonstrated considerable Peer Tutoring skills."

Sheldon Heath Teacher

Phase 1

A Summer Challenge at Sheldon Heath School, Birmingham, offered 30 places for Key Stage 4 students on a two week programme in July and August 2006.

The Summer Challenge was devised by the leading media company Maverick television, whose staff led the delivery, along with trained staff from University of the First Age and UFA trained Peer Tutors.

The aim of the Summer Challenge was to produce three minute broadcast quality film dramas, set in Birmingham.

The programme included introductions, icebreakers and team building games before going on to cover all aspects of the skills required for making short films. From planning, through technical training to the marketing of a finished product ready for broadcast the young people received an intensive introduction to many key areas of the industry.

All the young people who took part agreed that they enjoyed the training as it helped them with confidence and developing new skills.

Phase 2

The aim of the Saturday Media Schools was to disseminate knowledge and skills from the Summer Challenge to younger students at Sheldon Heath School and to students in Year 6 at primary schools in the area.

The UFA worked with staff from Sheldon Heath City Learning Centre to develop a programme including filming, editing and sound recording for podcasting. The programme ran on Saturdays throughout the autumn term, with each two week module leading to a finished product – a trailer for a specific film genre, an ‘infomercial’ or a short radio programme.

The KS4 students were trained in Peer Tutoring techniques by the UFA and up to eight Peer Tutors supported each session. Up to thirty younger students, mainly from Sheldon Heath School, Elms Farm Primary School and Stanville School also attended each session, supported by staff from the CLC, UFA staff and teaching staff from Sheldon Heath School.

Staff from Sheldon Heath CLC who devised the programme in conjunction with UFA felt that the following were positive outcomes of the event:

Peer Tutors worked incredibly hard; they were well liked by younger children and staff, extremely bright and quick to learn.

  • Younger children were engaged all the time.
  • All participants developed high level skills.
  • All produced a high standard of work.
  • Positive feedback from all participants and parents.

Conclusions & Considerations

From observation ‘on-the-day’ and young people, parents’ and providers’ comments and student evaluations, it appears that this programme was an overwhelming success, with young people gaining the skills the project set out to achieve.

Both Maverick Television and the staff at Sheldon CLC provided excellent technological expertise and support.

Though the main aim of participating students was to gain technical skills and have fun, the KS4 students demonstrated considerable Peer Tutoring skills; they were firm, sensitive and caring towards the younger students, who also formed good relationships with them. It is clear that this has been a very successful programme.

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