Thursday, March 10th, 2016.

 Joe interviewing Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter and Animal Sanctuary Chief Executive Leyla Rutter for BBC School Report


The reporting skills of Excelsior pupils turned journalists are taking top billing on BBC Radio Newcastle’s airwaves today.

Listeners heard a report from Year 7 youngsters examining the diversity of cultures which underpin school life at Excelsior Academy.

Executive Principal Craig Taylor was also interviewed live by BBC reporter Emma Wass into Alfie and Charlie’s popular breakfast show which broadcast the pupils’ report.

They spoke with newly arrived children from Syria as well as youngsters from Romania and Hungary to look at the realities of life for young people arriving at Excelsior from an overseas country, often with little or no spoken English.

The reporters discovered that more than 50% of youngsters at Excelsior were from countries other than the UK, with more than 50 different languages spoken in school.

Their feature story ran on BBC Radio Newcastle as part of the BBC School Report Day turning over the national news agenda to school pupils for the day to report on the issues which matter to them.

The youngsters interviewed by the Excelsior reporting team told how welcome they were made to feel when they arrived at the academy, how this calmed their nerves and allowed them to make new friends.

As well as school diversity, Excelsior pupils have also looked at animal welfare with a trip around the Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter and Animal Sanctuary, interviewing its chief executive Leyla Rutter.

Mr Taylor told BBC Radio Newcastle: “What we try to do at Excelsior is to reflect a lot of the world that we live in.

“I think it is important that the academy is a microcosm of the broader world. We try to prepare our pupils for life ahead, it’s a diverse, multi-cultural world and we try to reflect that here at Excelsior.

“I think the main way that we help pupils at the academy is through the students themselves.

“We have such a diverse community that anyone arriving from abroad will immediately recognise that they won’t be one amongst many.

“We have such a diverse academy that there will be someone who speaks the same language or who understands the same culture.”

BBC journalist Emma is in Excelsior throughout the school day, reporting into BBC Newcastle’s programming about the school and its outstanding work.

To listen to BBC Newcastle’s Excelsior School Report interviews, go to: