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Channel 4 challenges students to create a new television show

CHANNEL 4 is challenging Secondary School students across the UK to conjure up ideas for a new TV show as part of a nationwide competition.

Students are being invited to create a new show which explores how we are Altogether Different. The only other stipulation is that the show can be set at any point in time, except in 2023.

They will need to come up with the idea for the show; which could be a drama, documentary, comedy, reality show or any other genre; create a pitch to a TV commissioning team and produce a 30 second trailer for their programme or series to convince a tv commissioner their idea is the best.

The competition is part of Channel 4's 4Schools initiative which aims to encourage students to consider the wide range of careers available in the world of broadcasting. It features 2 categories:- KS3 and KS4; and Schools can submit up to 3 entries into each 1.

To help guide student groups on their creative journey, a range of aid materials are available including templates, information sheets, a detailed brief and guidance on how the commission process works.

Channel 4's Head of Partnerships and Skills Kevin Blacoe said:- "Brilliant tv programme ideas can come from anyone, anywhere - creativity has no boundaries. The 4Schools competition will help students develop a whole range of skills, shuch as:- team working, harnessing creative ideas, planning, organising, presenting and of course translating all of that into a 30 second trailer."

The best submissions will go on to a National Finals and be put before an expert judging panel with the winners being awarded a money can't buy Channel 4 experience day.

Last year's winners from St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School in Wigan visited the set of Hollyoaks and met several of the show's stars and production team in a special behind the scenes tour.

The St Edmund Arrowsmith students:- Francesco Foti, George Archer, Jack Stafford, Khaya Maninjwa and Noah Whitlow; came up with a futuristic comedy called:- '1 in 7 Billion.'

The deadline for entries for this year's 4Schools competition is at:- 4pm, on 31 May 2023, and competition packs can be downloaded from the 4Schools' website.

This World Book Day, half a million children in UK don't own a single book

TO mark World Book Day 2023, the charity is calling on teachers, carers and parents to ensure that reading for pleasure is encouraged as much as reading attainment, in and outside of Schools.

While reading was the only core subject which saw attainment levels improve in 2022, (at Key Stage 2, 75% of pupils met the expected standard in reading, up from 73% in 2019. 28% of pupils reached the higher standard in reading, up from 27% in 2019), the National Literacy Trust's Annual Literacy Survey shows that the number of children who say they enjoy it is in serious decline.

Reading for pleasure is not just a:- 'nice to have,' it is the single biggest indicator of a child's future success; more than their family circumstances, their parents' educational background or their income. However, reading for pleasure is at its lowest levels in 18 years; 47.8% of children aged 8 to 18 said they enjoyed reading in 2022, the lowest level since 2005. This is even lower for children growing up in poverty; fewer children and young people who receive Free School Meals (FSMs) said they enjoyed reading compared with their peers who do not receive FSMs (43.8% vs. 48.8%). The percentage point gap between these groups has more than doubled from 2.1pp to 5pp, between:- 2020 and 2022.

The cost of living is putting the biggest squeeze on family budgets in years and creating further barriers to reading for pleasure, with 64% of parents saying they currently have less money to spend on books for their children than before. 500,000 (1 in 15; 6.5%) children in England aged:- 8 to 18, say they don't own a single book, which rises to 9.7% for those eligible for Free School Meals. 22.4% of pupils receiving free School meals said that the book they 'bought' with their World Book Day book token was the 1st book of their own.

This year, the charity World Book Day has focused on a large number of initiatives and provided guidance to ensure anyone can take part and experience the joy and inspiration of reading, regardless of household income. This includes ideas for no or low-cost costumes or costume swaps, book swaps or other free activities in School or community groups. There is also advice on how to fundraise more inclusively, focusing more on reading over other aspects such as dressing up.

Fewer boys than girls said they enjoyed reading (45.6% vs. 54.9%) and 28.0% of children and young people aged 8 to 18 said that they read daily, the second-lowest level since the National Literacy Trust survey began. Boys who receive Free School Meals had the lowest levels of reading enjoyment, with just 39.8% enjoying reading; a drop of 6.5% since 2020.

Children and young people who take part in World Book Day activities enjoy reading more compared with their peers who don't take part - 63.8% vs 48.4%, while 54.7% read more books as a result of World Book Day. Parents surveyed by the charity said that 50% of children find reading more fun because of World Book Day, 48% make more time to read and 49% feel they have more choice in what they read because of it. Children who are the most engaged with literacy are also 3 times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than those who are the least engaged (39.4% vs 11.8%.) In its 25th year in 2022, World Book Day distributed 50 million £1 book tokens through:- Schools, Nurseries, magazines and partnerships, to enable children to get a book of their own, for free.

Cassie Chadderton, CEO of World Book Day comments:- "World Book Day exists to encourage more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to benefit from a life long habit of reading for pleasure. Many families are facing financial challenges so we want all children, families, Schools and communities to feel welcome to celebrate the joy of reading in ways that work for them. There are lots of affordable, inclusive and of course, enjoyable ways to create joy and excitement around reading. Dressing up is a great way to encourage children to read, and we've shared ideas for other fun activities and resources to help Schools, Nurseries and families to work together to create a World Book Day where everyone feels included. The joy of reading cannot be underestimated in terms of improved wellbeing and the improved life chances it can lead to."

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust comments:- "World Book Day is an important moment to inspire and delight children with the wonder of books and a powerful platform to reinforce the importance of building literacy skills for life – this is even more essential during times of economic hardship. Economic studies have shown that reading for pleasure can result in children getting better GCSEs, in turn boosting their lifetime earnings and raising the UK's GDP. In the future, my hope is that more children will grow up to be adults who read and that reading and books are part of their world."

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