Padiham teenager Chloe scoops national award for work on school newspaper

A Padiham teenager is wiriting her own headlines after scooping a national award for the dedication she has shown towards her school newspaper project.

After nearly two years producing Coal Clough News, Chloe Lovell (15) has become a very important member of the team and now takes on a mentoring role assisting and encouraging new reporters.

Chloe has been attending Coal Clough Academy in Burnley since she was 13 when mainstream schooling did not work out for her.

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At first, she was lacking in confidence and quite shy, but on the project she has gained invaluable skills and now eagerly looks forward to the paper when she works with freelance journalist Catherine Smyth.

Award winning student Chloe Lovell with headteacher of Coal Clough Academy Holly Clarke. Chloe won the Shine Scholar 2020 title in the national Shine School Media Awards.

Catherine, whose business Catherine Smyth Media has been producing school newspapers in primary and secondary schools since 2007, nominated Chloe for the Shine Scholar 2020 - in the national Shine School Media Awards. Normally a prestigious London ceremony, Covid-19 meant this year the results were pre-recorded.

Chloe was up against nine students from grammar schools, sixth form colleges and academies from all over the country.

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She said: “I am shocked; I never thought I would win. What surprised me most was I was up against grammar schools. I have had many teachers coming up to me in school and saying well done.

“The newspaper project has helped me so much. It has made me more confident in myself and it has helped my English skills and now I am better at writing.

“I want to do my A levels and go to university and I would like to be a teacher in a primary school.”

The four-page newspaper, which Catherine started at the school in 2017, is produced in a day. The reporters spend a morning writing stories and interviewing to document activities that have taken place over half-a-term.

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It is printed in-house and sent out to parents and local schools.

Deputy headteacher Chris Whittaker said: “It has been fantastic not only to see the school newspaper develop in recent years, but also to see how engaged and confident our student team has become.

“Chloe, in particular, has embraced it so much since first getting involved and, after our first trip to the Shine awards last year; it seems to have inspired her even more. I fondly remember a conversation we had on the train down to London last year when the team felt that we would not win anything.

“The train back was a very different story after we were awarded 'highly commended' as a rising star. A year on and the hard work and dedication reaps reward.

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“Personally, I am so proud of the attitude, effort and determination shown by Chloe and the team and thanks also goes to Catherine for her support in developing the CCA team of journalists. Bring on next year.”

Headteacher Holly Clarke, said: “Chloe is a true inspiration and credit to herself, her family and the Coal Clough Academy community.

“She has shown resilience and determination in every aspect of her life and we are very proud of this achievement. Chloe’s dedication to the writing of the school newspaper has been fantastic to see; she coordinates the team, motivates others and demonstrates good leadership qualities with her peers.”

It is the third time a top award has been won by school newspapers Catherine has been involved in creating.