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Mark Jones, Assistant Headteacher, St Christopher’s School, Bahrain

Which First News Education tools did you school choose?

We have used First News Education for a few years now, subscribing to the physical copies of the newspaper and the Activity Sheets. We added the iHub and the Digital Edition of the newspaper because we wanted to make the texts more accessible to a wider range of children and incorporate it more regularly into our teaching practice.

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How do you use news-based learning with your pupils?

We use the First News Digital Edition as a reading tool for children. They are encouraged to access this before school and occasionally during break times when inside. We also use the iHub as a regular part of homework or again, during registration before lessons start. Some staff very much enjoy using the Activity Sheets to support Guided reading, preferring this option when working directly with children.

Our school is in the middle of a full curriculum update, so at the moment First News Education is used to support general reading and for Guided Reading sessions. Informal debates have been had in many classrooms based upon the headlines of that week.

How have your pupils responded?

Our children have responded with great enthusiasm to all of the tools, regularly completing the polls and talking about the different articles that they have come across.

“I love doing the crosswords and getting the badges” – Annabel Y4
“It is great that you can find out what is going on at the moment” – Alex Y6

Our main goals are that the tools are used regularly and that they engage children in their reading – this is definitely evident and therefore we are very satisfied at this time.

“We have found First News Education to be an excellent addition to the suite of resources that we provide for our pupils here at St Christopher’s School. We have been delighted with the way that it has been received by students who really can’t wait to see what the headlines will be each week.”

How did First News Education support your school during remote-teaching?

First News was a fabulous addition to our remote learning as it provided such a huge library of articles and past editions for our children to explore. The fact that it is relevant and up to date is guaranteed to capture children’s interest. Children generally were directed to use the iHub for a set amount of time or to complete a number of comprehension activities each week.

What has been the most valuable feature for your school?

During lockdown, the area in which children have suffered the most is interactions and playing with other children. One of the things that First News provides is an opportunity for relevant and fun discussion on a regular basis. Staff have found the weekly e-mail effective as a way of sharing a link (via Classroom) directly with children and then using this to initiate discussions and talking points. The automatic feedback and marking is of course a very well received feature!

We have found First News Education to be an excellent addition to the suite of resources that we provide for our pupils here at St Christopher’s School. We have been delighted with the way that it has been received by students who really can’t wait to see what the headlines will be each week.

I can say, very enthusiastically, that staff and students at school have absolutely loved having the access to First News and the iHub – it is a fabulous investment and well worth the money.

Get full, unlimited access to all activities and features on the iHub during a free 30 day trial, including:

  • Differentiated activities, automatically tailored to students’ reading levels
  • An interactive interface to engage students, driving interest and focus
  • Your own reporting dashboard to measure pupil and class progress
  • Automatic marking of multiple-choice questions, saving you valuable time
  • Points and badges to reward achievements, motivating pupils through their progress
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