PC Journalism Club’s Year 11 students recorded a report about the college charity Lifeline’s recent charity fundraising walk for NI Cancer Fund for Children

BBC School Report 2019

PC Journalism Club took part in BBC Young Reporter this year, working on a number of different projects.

In Year 13, Danielle Weir was responsible for filming and editing a piece directed by Jonathan Reid and Ellie Currie on the motion debated by MPs relating to a proposed later start to the school day, while Year 11 girls Scarlett Grady, Chloe Cust and Kiera Whaley filmed and edited a Journalism class piece on the benefits owning a dog has on our wellbeing (links to the videos below).

Sixth form students Jonathan Reid and Matthew Walsh researched and produced written journalism for BBC Young Reporter, covering Irish theatre and NI football.

Students from Years 11, 12 and 13 took part in a BBC Digital Cities event, learning how to film and edit digital news, and experimenting with VR technology in addition to participating in BBC NI Festival of News Day workshops and interactive news events at BBC Broadcasting House, Belfast.

The Year 11 Journalism Class made their own BBC News Report in response to the suggestion by the UK Schools Minister Nick Gibb to ban smartphones in schools. You can view it on the school website. As a class they took part in the BBC Festival of News on Live News Day, trying out sports commentating, weather reporting in front of the green screen and being kitted up with bullet proof jackets in readiness for reporting from the field.

Year 12 students Lucy Williamson, Lucy Quinn and Amy Hanna and Year 13 student Jonathan Reid all enjoyed some live broadcasting on the Lunchtime news and the BBC News Channel with BBC presenter Aileen Moignagh as part of Live News Day.

In recognition of their contribution to BBC School Report and by way of celebrating their achievements, they all received certificates.

Here are links to two videos created by our Year 11 and Year 13 Journalism students:

Dogs: https://vimeo.com/329574286

Should Year 13 start school later?: https://vimeo.com/329574217


BBC School Report 2018 has come to Portadown College again…

Check out these videos made by Year 11 students and watch out for additional videos to be uploaded on modern feminism, drugs education and the relevance of the Holocaust to young people in the Twenty-first Century.

Check out BBCNI  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/northern_ireland on Live News Day to watch PC students broadcast live from BBC Broadcasting House at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

PC Year 11 GCSE Journalism students explore whether Snapchat is really dangerous

Year11 GCSE Journalism students have put their theory into practice, making their own class broadcast exploring whether there’s truth behind the claims made recently by the Children’s Commissioner in England that Snapchat is dangerous for young poeple.

Year 11 boys wonder what changes the new VAR technolgy will have on football

As football fans, Jay, Ben and Bobby made their causal discussions regarding referee decisions and new VAR technology into a short package, interviewing a NI football fan, a NI Under 18 footballer and a Coach with Ards FC.

PC Journalism is an extra-curricular club that meets weekly to create journalism for a variety of media.  The Club exists to create opportunities for you as students to enter the world of Journalism.

Support is offered to those students who choose to engage in some investigative journalism, writing features and filming news packages where they independently carry out research and conduct interviews.

Every year, we sign up to participate in BBC School Report, which enables Yr11 and 12 aspiring broadcast and print journalists get to produce their own news stories for which they investigate, take photos and carry out interviews.

PC Journalism meets on Mondays at breaktime in Room 5 and is organised by Mrs Murphy.

PC Journalists Make Their Debut in Broadcasting

PC students enjoyed their first taste of Broadcasting at BBC Young Reporter Festival of News in BBC Broadcasting House on 6th March 2019.

GCSE Journalism students and members of the Journalism Club participated in a range of broadcasting activities: reading the news, relishing the chance to get behind the studio cameras, getting in front of the green screen for weather news, getting kitted out for reporting from war zones, performing sports commentary, managing autocue and taking charge of the sound desk for live broadcasts in Studio 1 in BBC Broadcasting House.

Some students rose to the challenge of the live broadcast. Amy Hanna and Lucy Williamson did a live interview with BBC NI Aileen Moynagh on the BBC News Channel, supported by Amelie Dobson on the weather. Later, Lucy Quinn and Jonathan Reid had a live slot with Aileen Moynagh on the BBC Newsline programme live at 1.30pm.

Along with workshops with BBC reporter Helen Jones, Assistant Producer Eunan McConville and BBC NI Apprentice Jordan Kenny, students gained an insight into work and careers at the BBC.

Portadown College students interview Ash’s Tim Wheeler at Radio 1’s Biggest Weekend

As part of BBC School Report, Portadown College Year 11 students Amy Hanna and Lucy Williamson were given the opportunity to film their own package at BBC Biggest Weekend Belfast.

Having pitched their story ideas to the BBC School Report team and then to the Arts show, the BBC lined up an interview with Tim Wheeler from Ash, setting the stage for a unique opportunity.

Having researched the band and their music, the girls attended the BBC Biggest Weekend fringe event “The Art of the Interview” where 6 Music experts Mary Ann Hobbs and Matt Everett shared their tips on music interviews which would be very useful when interviewing Tim Wheeler.

With Press Passes to the ‘Guest’ area in the Titanic museum on Saturday, not only did Amy and Lucy get to meet and interview Tim Wheeler and the rest of Ash, but they also met Mary Ann Hobbs who invited them to see the 6 Music production team as they broadcast live from the building, and were filmed for BBC Music NI.

Having the interview in the bag, the girls were able to film live at the music festival, carrying out vox pops while enjoying the live music, before rocking to the music of Ash; all the more significant having got to know the man behind the guitar.

Here are the reflections from Amy and Lucy as they made their way home on the train later on Saturday:

Today we had an incredible experience with BBC School Report, getting the opportunity to interview Tim Wheeler. There wasn’t a big window of time between arriving at Titanic and starting to interview Tim. This meant that although we were both really nervous, we didn’t have time to overthink our questions or how we were presenting ourselves. At the beginning we thought only one of us would get the opportunity to ask the questions but it ended up that we were both given the chance. The fact that we both got to enjoy and share the experience made the interview even better. Before we began the interview we got the chance to speak with Tim normally and it was such a shock how genuine and normal he came across. When we started the interview our nerves were set aside and it felt like we were proper interviewers. 

After our interview with Tim, we spotted Mary Ann Hobbs, a 6 Music presenter. On Thursday we had been at her Workshop on “the Art of the interview” which helped to calm our nerves before interviewing Tim. We had the opportunity to talk to Mary and she was so delighted that we had taken some of her tips on board when we interviewed Tim that she whisked us up the stairs to see her boss.

The reason for us being there was for the BBC Biggest Weekend as we were doing a package on the festival and we needed appropriate shots, intros and vox pops. We had to search within the crowd to find suitable festival-goers to ask questions to. We found a combination of people who were chatting and enjoying the day. The highlight of the festival was seeing Ash perform with the Undertones performing Teenage Kicks. During our interview Tim Wheeler described The Undertones being one of his biggest influences and getting to see them performing together seemed like a fitting end to the day.

Review of the Year 2017/18

PC Journalism Club took part in BBC School Report this year, working on a number of different projects.

In Year 13, Emily Monroe was responsible for filming and editing a piece directed by Joanna Kerr and Nye Crozier on the importance of remembering the Holocaust, while Matthew Walsh worked with Year 12 student Phillip Shirley on a piece promoting drugs awareness using the Student Voice Question Time event earlier this year, while Year 12 girl Hollie Teggart filmed and edited a Journalism class piece on Equality for Females. Matthew and Phillip also took part in the BBC NI Festival of News Day workshops and interactive news events.

Jay Davey and Ben Gibbons from Year 11 took part in a BBC Digital Cities event, learning how to film and edit digital news, and used this to inspire their successful pitch for a news feature concerning the possible implications surrounding the newly introduced VAR technology in football. BBC Sport Reporter Stuart Portis brought his camera equipment to PC where they were accompanied by classmate Bobby Farquhar to make the BBC News School Report which you can watch on the College website.

The Year 11 Journalism Class made their own BBC News School Report in response to criticism by the Children’s Commissioner regarding young people’s use of Snapchat. You can view it on the school website.  As a class they took part in the BBC Festival of News on Live News Day, trying out sports commentating, weather reporting in front of the green screen and being kitted up with bullet proof jackets in readiness for reporting from the field.

For School Report live news day the BBC screen tested a number of students in order to select broadcasters for BBC NI Festival of News held at BBC Broadcasting House in Belfast. Matthew Walsh, Jay Davey, Amy Hanna, Lucy Quin, Alex Reid and Lucy Williamson were selected and you can see the recording of their live broadcasts of the 1pm, 2pm and 3pm news bulletins on the school website.  Not only this, but Lucy Quin enjoyed an impromptu chat with weatherman Barra Best live on air.

In recognition of their contribution to BBC School Report and by way of celebrating their achievements, they all received certificates.

In the Spotlight for PC’s Broadcasters and Politicians

Five students were invited to join the audience for BBC Spotlight on 24th October.

Matthew Wilson enjoyed his role as a panellist at the top table for the warm up with Mandy McCauley, articulating the politician’s viewpoint with vigour.  Nye Crozier put a question to the DUP’s Edwin Poots, while Penny McCullough was chosen to present her question on abortion to the panel.

Kathryn Reilly and Rachel Turner also enjoyed the audience experience as well as the anticipation following the submission of questions in the Green Room.

Meeting host Noel Thompson at the end and actually sitting with him at the top table was the highlight of the evening for students and teachers alike.


GCSE Journalists report for BBC School Report 2017

This year, the Year 11 GCSE Journalism class created their own BBC New School Report, completing the research, scripting, filming, interviewing and editing independently of any BBC support staff.  This was a major achievement.

Following the shake up of the American election and the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of USA, the Year 11 journalists decided to discuss the impact of Trump on us here in Portadown, given that Portadown is home to global industries that operate in the US such as Almac and Ulster Carpet Mills.

You can watch their report here.

BBC School Report

BBC School Report 2017

PC Journalism Club students became working journalists for the day on 1st March when they produced and recorded a radio package for BBC School Report on board the BBC Bus about supporting the well-being of young people in Portadown College.

Portadown College recently brought local mentoring charity Reach on board to support students in their everyday lives.  Reach is an organisation that exists to mentor and help young people to unleash their potential, currently partnering with 17 schools in the Craigavon area.

Matthew Walsh interviewed Reach volunteer Johnny Hampton finding out a little bit about Reach:  their origins, purpose and programme.

With Johnny was Zoe Davison who was in one of the first classes to work with the Reach team in Lurgan.  Hollie Teggart interviewed Zoe about how Reach helped her to cope with the struggles she had as a young person.

Adam Hewitt, Kiara Stothers and  Kirsty Buller were hands on throughout the day recording vox pops for the package, while Amy Cosgrove, Hannah Ashley and  Gemma Davies became professionals in the Voice Over department.

Listen to the radio package here.

Upon completion of the project, the BBC staff assisted our on-site Year 11 cameraman Phillip Shirley and Journalists as the PC Journalists recorded an additional audio visual news package relating to the consequences of listening to music through headphones.




Portadown College Journalism 2016 School Report

Congratulations to the Year 11 Journalism class who took part in BBC School Report.

The project began in earnest when the BBC visited the school on 23rd February, bringing a team of journalists and technical experts who helped students to produce, film and take part in their class production of a documentary about the place of religion in school.

On 3rd March, Year 11 students Nye Crozier and Rosie Johnson with the help of a BBC cameraman recorded an interview with Ireland Rugby Captain and PC former student Rory Best for BBC School Report.  This interview featured on both the BBC Sport homepage and BBC NI homepage.

Following a screen testing and interview techniques workshop with the BBC on 28th January, Year 11 Journalism students Nathan Capper and Dale Mulligan were selected to take part in NI BBC School Report live broadcast on Live News Day 10th March.  Nathan took on the role of continuity presenter, presenting news updates throughout the programme, while Dale presented the sports news which included our own news package about Rory Best, filmed at Portadown College.

The BBC has awarded them certificates to mark their achievement in producing relevant and informative news items for BBC School Report.

Click here to see the Live News Programme


Recent articles by Journalism students

Two Year 11 students reviewed and provided photos for this year’s College School Play

Portadown College Play 2016

Portadown College Dramatic Society presents…

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

 All my pupils are the crème de la crème.

 This year’s school play at the College was Jay Presson Allen’s dramatization of the novel by Muriel Spark which was made famous in 1969 when Maggie Smith won an Oscar for her portrayal of the title role.

When a maverick schoolmistress in a conservative school in Edinburgh in the 1930s is in her prime, the classroom can take on a new identity and no one can predict what will happen.  Jean Brodie tries to cultivate the interests of her ‘gels’ with exposure to opera and art but also introduces them to what she perceives to be the advantages of Fascism.

Miss Brodie’s prime and fall was vividly portrayed by Evie Symington in Year14 who dominated the stage and created spectacle with her wide array of colourful dresses.  Her ‘Elite Pupils’ whom she favoured with privileges were superbly cast, from Katherine Whitten as the brooding Sandy to Holly Keery as the rather unfortunate Mary McGregor.

With the amazing and talented cast starring Evie Symington as Miss Jean Brodie and other main performers including Katherine Whitten, Kay Douglas, Matthew Walsh, Tim Neill, Thomas Frampton, Kerry Black, Juliette Roberts, Helen Kane, Holly Keery and Alex Maxwell  this was a must see for all college students and parents.  There certainly was something for everyone:  a love triangle pitting Thomas Frampton as art teacher Teddy Lloyd against novice music teacher Gordon Lowther played by Tim Neill; comedy moments often provided by the titular character; engaging journalism as American journalist played by Matthew Walsh sought to get to the heart of Sister Helena’s (played by Kay Douglas) story.  I’m glad I didn’t miss it!

By Hollie Teggart Year 11





Photos by Philip Shirley, Year 11

Why my family couldn’t do a digital detox.

Let me make one thing absolutely clear: I could not make it through a week long digital detox. Hats off to the students at Tarporley High School, but I just could not do it.

Take right now for an example. 18:58 on a Sunday evening. I’m updating Tumblr from my laptop as I write, I’m pumping music from Spotify through my earphones, and I’m waiting for my favourite vlogger to go live on YouNow on my phone. It’s pretty easy to see that I depend heavily on my technology to get me through the day.

The pupils at Tarporley are completely abandoning social media and online gaming of all kinds. That’s where my issue lies.

Social media is the outlet through which I can connect with the world. It’s where I get most of my news, where I chat with friends worldwide, and get a good few laughs now and then too. I’d feel extremely out of the loop without that access.

I can already hear the cries of “but it’s a small problem, back in my day we had none of this stuff! If I could do without it, so can you!” from my parents and their acquaintances. While that may be correct, it is no longer 1975, and in today’s diverse and vibrant society, we take our smartphones and internet connection for granted. They may not really understand what I’m doing when I spend hours at a time browsing social media, but I am almost certain my parents, with their two-generations-behind mobiles and poor understanding of how to connect to the internet, would suffer during a Tarporley-style digital detox.

Take my dad, for example. He passes plenty of time playing whatever game Facebook is obsessed with that particular week. He uses YouTube on a regular basis to play his favourite piano covers on our TV. He checks Facebook at regular intervals during the day, liking posts on a range of issues; from current affairs to nature photography.

My mother, although limited in her abilities to download apps, loves to watch Netflix shows in the kitchen while she prepares our evening meals. Her favourite website by far is Pinterest, where she could easily spend hours at a time browsing boards on anything from embroidery to baking and anything inbetween.

My family, as a unit, would find it well near impossible to completely ignore our technology for even a day. Even the TV – the thing we all take for granted and everyone seems to forget – would be out of bounds. No family movie nights to pass the time!

So the next time your parents belittle you for your reliance on technology, remind them of all the little pastimes and hobbies they enjoy that depend on access to the internet. Although they may find your predicament petty, they enjoy the use of their own technology too.

Tarporley High School, I salute you. You have gone where I would never dare to go – the empty, boring void of life without the occasional twitter notification.

Emily Monroe

Kick off at Portadown College

Portadown College’s footballing fortunes have in the past few years taken a turn for the better with former Portadown College student Luke McCullough playing his own minor part in Northern Ireland’s recent qualifications for this summer’s European Championships.

Luke, who plays his club football for Doncaster Rovers featured in a victory over Greece at Windsor Park that helped Northern Ireland to the top of qualification group F; the first time Northern Ireland has qualified for the championships.

Far from the only star to have emerged from such beginnings Portadown College currently features under 18’s international Nathaniel Ferris. Sixth former Ferris recently hit a hattrick in a friendly against Jersey and is currently representing his country in the Centenary Shield.

Speaking about the College’s recent football success PC’s under 16 captain Jackson Holmes said, “If they [Portadown College] have produced Luke as a full international and have Nathaniel in the youth ranks they are doing something right. Portadown College would usually have players from big mid Ulster teams who have good experience, which helps.”

Clearly Portadown College’s football future is a bright one. Exactly how successful they can be remains to be seen.

Zivanna and Luke



Reporting for BBC News School Report, February 2016

The Year 11 Journalism class took part in creating their first BBC School Report on Tuesday when a team of journalists and technical experts came to the College.

Having researched the impact of the recent report relating to the place of religion in our education system, and the content of Religious Studies in our schools, students were directed to script their own news package, complete with original interviews.  Students then recorded interviews, vox pops and pieces to camera, in the end producing their own mini documentary which can be viewed below.

photo 2 2016 photo 1 2016

For Safer Internet Day, Year 11 Journalists produced news and feature articles to raise awareness in school of staying safe online.  See attachments.

Safer Internet Day
9 February 2016
Portadown College


so•cial net•work•ing


1. the use of dedicated websites and applications to interact with other users, or to find people with similar interests to one’s own.

Then why is social networking so dangerous?

I run an Instagram account dedicated to my favourite YouTube power couple. It’s a fan account, and I post photos relevant to the people whom the account is about, as well as sharing small, personal day-to-day things. It’s not huge, but over the space of 2 years and a few months, I’ve amassed just over three thousand followers.

That’s no mean feat, but it’s certainly not brilliant by any measure. Other people run pages dedicated to the same people with hundreds of thousands of followers. I’m relatively small.

No matter how seemingly unimportant I may be in this massive online community, I’ve noticed that everyone I’ve interacted with during my time on the popular app have been unbelievably kind. People like my photos, give me advice, and generate discussion. I can openly talk with admins of similar pages and I’ve made some great friends through the service that live on the other side of the planet. We can share ideas and help each other learn. An online friend, born and raised in Germany, speaks three languages fluently and recently shared that talking to me online has greatly improved his English. Other friends have helped me improve my conversational skills, and now I finally feel comfortable talking in a group.

Overall, using the app and connecting with others from a multitudes of cultures and continents has given me immense enjoyment, and I feel like an active, valued part of the community I love so much.

So if I’ve had such positive experiences, surely everyone else has?

Unfortunately not.

One 12 year old girl from Colorado shared her experiences with the popular social networking app:

“I posted a picture of myself on Instagram and people started commenting these awful things like “Eww ur so ugly,” “Why don’t you go kill urself everyone would be happier that way…” And I KNOW these people…they go to my school. I cried for a good 2 hours. But this wasn’t the first time this has happened; on all my pictures at least 3 people say something like that. I’m never going on Instagram again. I wish I could disappear so I don’t have to go to school.”

Certain features of Instagram allow users to tag other people in photos, mention them in comments and share photos and hurtful messages through the app’s direct messaging feature without the victim’s knowledge. Degrading images and rumours are easily spread and can go viral overnight, allowing thousands, if not millions, to see such messages. In instances such as the young Coloradan above, bullying occurs, which unless reported can be blown out of proportion to the point where victims no longer want to go to school, for fear of contact with bullies and humiliation.

However bad these situations may seem, the fault does not lie with the app itself. The fault is not that of social media as a whole. It lies with the people behind the hurtful comments, and they can be stopped.

There are multiple ways to report and prevent a range of issues to help keep Instagram a safe, friendly place. Images can be reported and removed under the community guidelines, and accounts responsible for bullying and harassment can be reported and dealt with by the Instagram team.

If you find yourself being bullied on Instagram or any social networking platform, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Tumblr, please tell someone you trust. Parents, teachers and friends want to help you, and the appropriate steps can be taken to protect you from further harm. You are not alone.

So now it’s back to Instagram and my wonderful, supportive community for me. And if you find yourself on the site, please take the steps necessary to keep it a safe, fun place for everyone.


· Turn your account on private in your settings. This means you are in total control of who follows you.

· Never share your full name. All your personal details, including your current location, are now only a Google search away.

· Be careful with the information and photos you share. Anyone could be viewing your account.

· If you feel unsafe, tell someone you trust.

Portadown BBC News School Report 2016