REPORTER Sarah Singleton paid a special visit to Springfields Academy in Calne to give youngsters some lessons in journalism and to talk to them about a career working in newspapers.

Sarah, who covers Chippenham, Calne, Corsham and Malmesbury, has also worked as a school teacher and enjoyed the chance to get back in the classroom on Thursday last week.

She was invited by Springfields teacher Kirsty Robertson, and spent time with two groups of pupils at the school, which provides an education for autistic children aged five to 19.

"Although we had a few hiccups, the children really enjoyed themselves and have come in discussing it today," said Miss Robertson.

"Sophie in particular said that she enjoyed learning about how to become a journalist and looking at the ‘gibberish’ (shorthand!) on the board! I think she liked looking at it as a code to decipher.

"The pupils were very inspired by the session, particularly enjoying learning about the life of a journalist and the wide range of stories they might cover in their careers."

The classes looked at the ways that writing news stories differed from other writing forms, and how a news story is structured, by analysing a fictitious news story about a retired man who won the lottery and bought a string of sweet shops.

Afterwards they tried their hand at writing their own news reports, based on the events in the folk tale Little Red Riding Hood.

At the end of the session, Sarah talked to the pupils about becoming a journalist and some of the stories she had covered.

She also demonstrated her shorthand skills - which intrigued the students.

"I was made very welcome at Springfields and enjoyed working with both classes," she said. "Some of the pupils clearly demonstrated a very wide vocabulary in their stories, and worked very hard on their news reports.

"I was asked some good questions too - about my biggest story and how much reporters are paid!"