FOR this week’s In the Classroom feature, reporter Grace Walton took a trip to Hanley Castle High School, in Church End. She paid a visit to the English department where she was greeted by Jessica Millward, or as some would call her, “Miss Smiley.”

I WAS welcomed by the Year 8 pupils who have been studying the play Richard III, by William Shakespeare.

I had the privilege of hearing some of the pupils perform a speech by Lady Anne from the play, after which classmates gave their feedback.

The pupils had travelled back to Shakespearean times, speaking in his language and mirroring experiences at that time.

Miss Millward said: “The study of literature is also the study of culture. It is a chance to examine, explore, and enjoy the qualities of texts and language, as well as appreciate the influences of our history.

“We are ambitious, but we have faith and determination in ensuring the students relish in their challenging and stimulating lessons. We want them to be inspired. We hope that all students can develop socially, academically, and culturally as a result of this.”

Read more: WEA 2019: 'Smiley' Jessica Millward nominated for Teacher of the Year Award

I was an enthusiastic student myself during the English lesson. Miss Millward has this special way about her of enticing you and making you feel passionate about learning. I noticed every pupil in the room was engaged and interacted with her during the class.

The teacher tries to challenge the children, allowing them to aim high and exceed expectations.

Upon my visit, the school was taking part in the BBC Young Reporters project where I spoke to a few aspiring journalists. The BBC Young Reporter works in partnership with schools to provide young people with the skills they need to create and understand the media.

Kris Jonsberg, who runs the project said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the pupils to learn about how news production works and what it is like being a journalist and the importance of getting their voice across.

"The students are so passionate, and it’s wonderful to watch them and bring all their skills together.”

The pupils are able to develop their skills such as filming and editing, interviewing and also writing skills.

Amelia Gittings, aged 14, who is taking part in the project for the third time, said: “It’s a good opportunity for the students and it will help us develop our skills in the long run.

"I have gained confidence and met so many friends through doing this.

"It has inspired me to take on a career in journalism and become a presenter.”


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