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Children's news show wins prime-time TV spot

School TV Innovation on Tri TV

Children's news and sports show wins prime-time spot

A programme made by school children has been so successful it is now a half-hour news and sport show with a prime-time spot on Triangle Television.

SchoolsInc, which will screen on Triangle every Wednesday at 7.30pm, has evolved from the 15-minute programme SchoolTV produced by Point England Primary School.

The programme's writer and producer, Max Jacobsen, reinvented and renamed the programme when he left Point England Primary School to run the Tamaki Achievement Pathway (TAP). TAP is a Ministry of Education-funded schooling improvement initiative that links schools in Tamaki, such as those in the suburbs of Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure.

SchoolsInc is fronted by pupils who read the news, interview fellow pupils and prepare news segments on education, community events and sports days. Two children from a different school present each programme.

Each show opens with 'Cruising our Classrooms', a three- to four-minute overview of one of the 11 schools in the TAP area. There is a regular sports segment, while other items highlight reading programmes, plays, art and music.

SchoolsInc features values-based advertisements on issues such as the hazards of playing with fire or not washing hands. There is also a series on the negative effects of bullying. The ads are made from footage provided by the schools.

Raw footage is filmed under teachers' direction with participation from children. Future programmes will raise the profile of board-of-trustee members who will share their visions for their particular school.

TAP facilitator Robby Munnik says the show aims to lift students' achievements and change any negative perceptions they may have about themselves by building their self-esteem.

"It inspires the confidence of the community, ensures that our schools become schools of choice, and helps children develop language skills. English is a second language for many Tamaki children," says Mr Munnik.

The programme has had a positive effect on the children, their families and the community at large, he says.

SchoolsInc is sponsored by several charitable trusts, however, TAP aims to make the programme self-funding by seeking advertising and financial support from local businesses.

"Someone might like to sponsor a segment of the show or advertise during the show," said Mr Munnik.

The show's 7.30pm time slot was chosen because many television viewers change channels at that time. Its target audiences are parents, pupils, teachers and the wider community. In past years the show's audience has extended well beyond the local community. It appeals to young viewers and their families largely because it is fronted by youngsters and offers information and entertainment relevant to them.

An estimated 65 per cent of Tamaki residents have access to the SchoolsInc programme, based on a count of UHF aerials in three sample areas, Mr Munnick says.

SchoolTV continues to be produced by Point England School and often features as part of SchoolsInc.

Last year SchoolsInc was a 15-minute programme screening at 5.45pm on Tuesday evenings.

TAP, which has three full-time staff and serves eight primary schools, a Kura Kaupapa Maori, Tamaki Intermediate and Tamaki College, was developed by former principals and boards of trustees of schools in Tamaki.

It aims to create a sense of unity among the schools and enables teachers and pupils from various schools to work together and develop and share a sense of pride and achievement.

It provides opportunities for a wide range of children who develop a sense of collaboration. TAP trains teachers in basic footage and editing skills so they can work on the programme.

Triangle Television is Auckland's only regional, non-commercial television station and has operated as a public broadcaster to Greater Auckland since August 1 1998. The channel screens a mix of regional-access television with international news and information programmes. It is non-profit making and operates with no funding from NZ On Air. Triangle broadcasts 24 hours daily from UHF channel 41.

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