With the help of staff, the pupils at The Samworth Church Academy (TCSA) produced an electronic magazine that charts their experiences during lockdown, warts and all.
And so successful is the e-zine, called ‘TCSA: A Year In Lockdown’, that they are thinking of developing the theme by submitting work to national journals, or working with other schools on a similar project.
Teacher John Rogers said: “We know that many Covid experiences have been harrowing, but I was pleased with how the students found different ways to approach an emotive issue.
"For instance, Caitlin Radford unmasked the prejudices we face in society, while Lizzi Jackson was keen to explore the relationship with technology.”
Caitlin and Lizzi sere two of 15 pupils, aged 11 to 16, who were involved in the project, which was undertaken remotely and stemmed from a brainwave by John, who teaches English at the Sherwood Hall Road school.
He explained: "I was reading a publication called ‘Poetry And Covid’, whereby pairs of writers collaborated remotely. Voices from different continents joined to create a shared response to the pandemic, and I thought we could do something similar at Samworth.
"After putting out a call to students by e-mail, they got in touch via Microsoft Teams. I set up workshops about approaches to poetry and short fiction, in addition to sharing editing advice.”
John was pleased that working online did not prevent the students becoming a cohesive group. Other members of staff get involved, and as the project expanded, it was decided to publish an e-zine that was easy to share and also reflected the digital methods used by the writers.
The pupils felt they learned so much from the project. Sophie Broughton, of year eight, said it advanced her writing and drawing skills and improved her understanding of others.
While Connor Summerell, of year 11, said said: “I find politics fascinating, so I wrote about the emotion any Prime Minister would feel just before announcing a national lockdown.
"I learned how to structure a narrative to make sure it flows, and I really enjoyed the chance to imagine what it was like taking the decisions that guided us through the pandemic.”