Children and staff at Killisick Junior School in Arnold welcomed Gem 106 stars Jo and Sparky into school to see their new radio station.
Killisick Junior School had been using various fundraising activities to raise money for a professional radio station for children, and with a final £1000 to be found, business manager, Kathryn Carlyle-Butlin sent out a hopeful application to Gem’s ‘Cash for Kids’ fund.
Kathryn said: “We had raised funding for the radio station in numerous ways like school fairs, tuck shops, Giving Lottery, and we are very grateful to the parents/carers who supported us in raising the money.
“The final £1000 we needed came from the bid to ‘Gem & Greatest Hits Radio’s Cash for Kids’, and we were delighted to hear that they chose to support us, -especially given the number of applications they receive.
“Now our children have a professional standard radio station, a fully functioning desk complete with microphones and mixing desk! We have a group of four ‘Killisick Radio Leaders’ who have learned how to use the equipment and are going to produce radio shows and teach others how to use the equipment too.”
Kathryn said the school wanted children to have the opportunity to use the radio station, called ‘Killisick Rockin Radio’ to develop confidence and new transferrable skills.
“We purchased the radio station as we knew it would be beneficial to all our children. It will be run by the children for the children.
“School radio stations have been shown to benefit children in many ways including developing confidence, improving speaking and listening skills, developing teamwork, inclusion, empowerment and supporting the school curriculum across all subjects. Many of our children lack confidence with public speaking and having our own radio station is a way to enhance confidence in this area of development.”
Kathryn said that in future the school want to use the radio station to support the local community, researching and creating radio shows to present to residents of local care homes and members of the local community.
Pupil Bethany Charlton Year 5 said of Jo and Sparky’s visit: “I’m very excited to meet Jo and Sparky from Gem and to show them our station. We have made lots of recordings with children from Year 3 & 4 and we have been teaching them how to use the radio station. In future I would like to host all kinds of music, in particular pop music, as it makes you feel happy and energised. My DJ name will be BCDJ!’
Rock and pop fan, Fletcher Marshall, Year 5, said the radio station was a fun addition to school life.
“I love to use the new radio station, it’s fun to teach other children how to use it,” he said.
“We have recorded introductions and have had fun learning to use the equipment. My DJ name will be DJ Fletch and it’s my dream to work in TV or radio when I’m older.”
Thomas Hayes is a Year 5 pupil and said: “It’s really fun to have a radio station in school as most schools don’t have this equipment. We are very lucky to have it. I would like to be a sports reporter; my favourite sport is football.” Thomas said the children are finding new ways to use the station. “We played a game with the children from Year 3 & 4. We asked them to turn around, we played an introduction to a song, they had to guess what the song was!” Hollie Woodward also in Year 5 has received training to be on the mixing desk, ‘I am one of the radio station leaders, I love doing it because we get to have loads of fun!’
Speaking of their visit the radio stars said how much they had enjoyed meeting the children.
Jo said: “These children listen to our show with their families, and at a time when they are busy getting ready for school. So, for us, visiting schools is a way for us to say thank you for their support and the time that they give to us. It means a lot to us to be able to come and meet the children and get to know them. This school radio is such a positive thing. These children now have an outlet where they can be positive about their school and its community, be creative and work together. The children’s enthusiasm has been fantastic.”
Sparky said they were impressed with the radio station set up.
He said: “I thought it was amazing, it’s a great thing for children and not something that I had access to when I was growing up. I knew I always wanted to channel this inner presenter in me and until I eventually got into radio there was no place for me to practice. It’s great that the children at this school will have the opportunity to learn those skills and the children’s enthusiasm for learning is amazing.
“The life skills, including the confidence to speak publicly will be invaluable to these children no matter what profession they choose. It’s a fantastic creative outlet that builds solid skills they will be able to call on in their future.” Sparky said that the school had a family feel to it. “The relationship between pupils and the teachers here seems amazing and we have really enjoyed our visit.”