PUPILS at a South Tyneside primary school were given a lesson in crime prevention and a taste of life as a reporter.
Youngsters at Ridgeway Primary Academy in South Shields were challenged to write stories about the dangers of anti-social behaviour.
The lesson was led by journalist and general election candidate Lisa Nightingale.
After a morning of learning question-and-answer techniques and testing their shorthand, pupils were split into three rival newspapers and tasked with reporting on a grass fire supposedly started at the town’s Temple Park playing fields.
They were given the chance to interview fire crew manager Nicole Mordecai, Pc Steve Warren and police community support officer Paul Smiles.
Firefighter Norman Stephenson also gave a fire safety talk to the pupils.
Mick Hassen, a teacher at the Park Avenue school, said: “The pupils enjoyed themselves, and it has given them a new perspective on what newspaper reporting is all about.
“The interaction with the police and fire service has helped energise their writing.
“By taking part in the activity, it has also helped get across an important fire safety message, which we have had further discussions about.”
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s watch manager for prevention and education, Ray Houghton, said: “The pupils were engaged and inquisitive.
“This activity not only gave them the chance to gain an insight of the role of being a reporter but also enabled the fire service and the police to deliver an important safety message about the dangers of grass fires.”
The youngsters needed to uncover the fact that while firefighters were dealing with the grass blaze, a house fire had broken out in another area of the town.
The task aimed to show the impact starting a grass fire can have by tying up a fire engine.
Pc Warren said: “The pupils were really enthusiastic and asked some really good questions to gain the information they needed to go back and write their stories. Because they were asking the questions, it was making them think more about the dangers associated with fire.”
n Lisa Nightingale is standing as an independent candidate in Thursday’s parliamentary elections for South Shields. The other candidates are: Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour) Robert Oliver (Conservative), Gita Gordon (Liberal Democrat), Norman Dennis (UKIP) and Shirley Ford (Green Party).