Arts Derbyshire


Success for DCG students on the Media Literacy Ambassador Programme with the Guardian Foundation

Students at Derby College Group (DCG) are excited to embark on the second year of the Media Ambassador Programme. The first year of this pioneering project has been so successful, and the achievements of the students have been amazing.

During this academic year Derby College Group’s Level 2 students from Media and GCSE Plus curriculum areas have collaborated with the Guardian Foundation to become accredited Media Literacy Ambassadors.  Students were trained by the Behind the Headlines team and have delivered peer-led Fake or Real workshops to over 90 of their peers to date.

This programme, which has been funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and evaluated by the National Literacy Trust, and has seen 24 of those students become accredited ambassadors so far. Additionally, Business students at the Roundhouse have received the initial training led by the GCSE Plus peers and will begin to deliver the workshops to the Business curriculum area in the autumn term.

The year culminated in a showcase event hosted at the City of Birmingham University. Here ten students represented DCG at a showcase event in which two students, Jenna Clark and Bhryel John Balabat, were invited to lead presentation workshops and interviews with journalists who were recipients of the Scott Trust Bursary at the Guardian.

The journalists they interviewed During the celebratory event students were challenged to create slogans for a media literacy campaign to highlight the importance of being able to identify mis- and dis-information. Jenna and Bhyrel John (GCSE Plus) were given awards along with three other students commending their contribution to the project: Elayna Parr (GCSE Plus), Ellie Woodlands (GCSE Plus) and Logan Mann (Media).

Earlier in the year two students and two teachers were invited to participate in a Guardian Foundation event in Euston, London on World Press Freedom Day. GCSE Plus students, Jenna Clark and Bhryel John Balabat were invited to host an interview panel with their teachers, Debbie Painter and Amy Naylor.

They showcased their film which documented the impact of the Media Literacy Programme at DCG and led an auditorium full of media professionals and journalists through a Fake or Real news workshop! It was such an honour to be invited to participate in such a prestigious event and the students were outstanding representatives of Derby College Group.

The Behind the Headlines team were delighted with the contribution that the students made to the event. They also commented the delegates of the event ‘were bowled over by the confidence and insight Jenna and John showed within their presentation.’ They commended our vision and input in rolling out the programme at Derby College Group.

During the day, the students were given a tour of Guardian newsroom and met young journalists and learnt about the journalist’s pathway into the industry and were able to discuss their future aspirations.

In 2023-24 Derby College will seek to train a second cohort of GCSE Plus, media students and Business along with further curriculum areas of Public Services and Art. The College will once again host the Behind the Headlines team at the College to deliver the peer training and will visit the Guardian offices in London to take part in a news editing workshop. Then students will take a leading role once again in training their peers from other curriculum areas and sites at the College.

Debbie Painter Curriculum Manager commented
“Students have really enjoyed being an integral part of this pilot project where they have been able to co-create the programme with the Behind the Headlines journalists. Students and teachers have formed part of a national advisory panel for the project. In an era where fake news and disinformation seems ubiquitous Derby College are ensuring students develop their awareness of the issue and are equipped with the skills to distinguish between fake or real information. It has been an amazing opportunity for the students.

And it was lovely to get so many compliments about the programme, including from one parent of a student, who said “We are forever grateful with no word to describe the gratitude from our hearts as parent for the privilege and opportunities that you paved towards John’s lived experience in your course at Derby College.”

“And we would also like to thank the entire Guardian Foundation team for making us feel so welcome and inspiring our students.”

Bhryel John Balabat and Jenna Clark presenting at the showcase

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