School Pupil-led Climate Emergency Newsroom for COP26
One of the most important events within our COP26 programme was our school pupil-led Climate Emergency Newsroom, a collaborations between our Politics & International Relations subject and South Lanarkshire Council’s Education Resources in recognition of Glasgow’s role as host of COP26.
For the two weeks of COP26, 80 6th Year pupils from South Lanarkshire’s secondary schools came together to form a newsroom in the University's St. Andrew’s Building taking roles including Editor-in-Chief, Social Media Manager and journalist, and covering the events of the conference. They have explored the local actions people can take to tackle climate change; and have taken complex ideas around climate change and presented them in clear and accessible ways for their audience, specifically primary school children of South Lanarkshire.
The newsroom was the brainchild of Michael Wilkie, Faculty Head at Calderside Academy, who worked with the School's Deputy Head of Politics & International Relations, Dr Andrew Judge, South Lanarkshire Council’s Education Resources to bring the idea to life.
The decision on who to take part was given to South Lanarkshire's pupil-led Youth Forum on Climate Change and Sustainability who, along with their schools, nominated pupils to take part. As well as having the unique opportunity to be part of a climate change conference, the newsroom has also had an important widening participation aspect, giving pupils an insight into a university experience.
One of those pupils was Shay Pritchard, a 6th year pupil at Calderside Academy who was Editor-in-Chief in week two.
"For once young people in Scotland are being listened to and given the chance to ask questions at the conference."
"When I was at primary school climate change was never spoken about but it's really important for them to realise what's going on so they can start to make changes, be respectful of the planet and continue with good habits throughout their lives."
"I'll enjoy taking what I've learned from this experience back to school and educate others on how we can improve and make everybody's childhood better and help save the planet."
Charli Whiteford is a 6th year from Lanark Grammar and was one of the Social Media Managers.
"I wanted to take part in the Newsroom as we need to get the message across that we need to do more about climate change and that we’re not doing enough."
"We've been able to listen to the important speeches taking place and report on them. They showed how bad things are and that we need to do more. It was emotional and moving listening to David Attenborough’s speech."
"This week I've gained skills on social media engagement and video/photo editing. I've enjoyed working as part of a team which will help with my future career plans. It’s such a great experience."
Interviews and articles from the newsroom's two weeks can be found on its website along with future stories where the young people will continue their important work.
First published: 13 November 2021