Lights, camera, action – Weston School is coming to a screen near you.
Pupils at Weston School are creating their own TV channel, Watching Weston, showcasing the school, its pupils and the community.
The school received a $14,500 grant from the Ministry of Education for filming equipment and the support of creative tutors Maddy Maxwell and Bridget Ellis to carry out the project.
A group of eight year seven and eight pupils – who applied to be part of the project – were learning to film interviews, and school events, such as when the police tractor visited.
There were also plans to film the school’s kapa haka, information segments and create a soap opera.
Another 12 younger pupils were helping with the project to ensure its longevity.
All the ideas were led by the pupils and it was shaping up to be an interesting channel, Ms Maxwell said.
“It’s really great to see them so engaged and so creative, and just to help them get to that next level is a real delight,” Ms Maxwell said.
Ms Ellis said it was an exciting project to be involved in, and the pupils were very capable and supportive of each other.
The idea for the Watching Weston channel came after last year’s lockdown, when the school had to stream many annual events for parents and the community to see, Weston School principal Deidre Senior said.
Watching Weston would help strengthen the connection between the school and its community and would enable the pupils to have their voices heard by a wider audience.
“This is about creating great accessibility to our school and a window into what happens here, but also it’s an opportunity for these students to be exposed to some learning that is really contextual,” Mrs Senior said.
“The equipment that comes with it to enable it to happen means we can have some sustainability to it. Once the students are upskilled, and the teacher is upskilled, then we can continue this beyond our access to Maddy and Bridget.”
Having Ms Maxwell and Ms Ellis involved in the project was a privilege, considering their extensive background in film-making, Mrs Senior said.
The channel was covering a number of realms for the pupils – both creative and educational – and it was ”hugely exciting” for Weston School to be chosen for the grant, she said.
Watching Weston was expected to go live on the school’s website next month, and the school would continue to make more episodes.