On Thursday 27th January, Kinsale Community School welcomed Dr Domnall Fleming, UCC to formally launch the Radio and Podcast Studio ‘Voice of KCS’. The specialised Digital Media Hub, the first purpose-built studio of its kind, which is host to “Voice of KCS” radio and podcast studio, will provide students across the school with a unique opportunity to get involved in the creation of content for podcasts and radio as well as enhancing student voice amongst the school community. Students at Kinsale Community School have the unique opportunity to create and broadcast content that reflects the issues/topics that they are passionate about and provides them with a platform to broadcast their views and opinions.
Principal, Mr. Fergal McCarthy said: “It's the student voice that determines what it is that we put in place. When you journey through our school, the school options are determined you. It is student voice that looked for the best sport facilities that we could have, that determines our subjects, that looks for the inclusion of children with autism in our school and who welcomes children with moderate learning difficulties in our school. This Digital Media Hub is an important piece of infrastructure that allows every student voice to be recorded.”
The soundproof studio, designed and built by the school caretakers, Mr Brendan Barry and Mr Eoin Wright, contains state of the art recording equipment that would rival any professional recording studio. The Digital Media Hub is a powerful tool giving accessibility to students across a range of abilities from Junior to Senior Cycle. Student dialogue empowers the students allowing them to truly have a voice informing the direction of the development of their educational environment. Kinsale Community School has an active Student Council and TY audio module. The TY audio module has so far trained approx. 100 students in pre-production, performance and sound editing techniques that allow them to create and develop podcasts. The Student Council also took part in an intensive one-day session on podcasting. Michael O’Shea, teacher said: “ The aim of the module is to equip students with the skills they need to explore topics and questions that interest them. Topics have ranged from examinations of androgynous fashion to discussions on commercial fishing. The audio module is an opportunity to highlight the unique and varied nature of student voices in Kinsale Community School.”
Dr Domnall Flemming, the most authoritative voice of student voice in Ireland, who officially opened the digital hub along with Head Boy, Louis Allman and Deputy Head Girl, Caoimhe McGuinness, speaking at the opening said, “The concept of a Community School is important, and Kinsale Community School is an exceptionally good example as it is lived out here. Students and parents in Kinsale are voting with their feet and coming here because they know the quality. Students are the most important people in a school and therefore should, must and have a right to have a say in what happens in their school. All students at Kinsale Community School are safeguarded around four rights: The right to learn, the right to be happy, the right to be different and the right to be heard. The lived experience of the school's mission, vision and four fundamental rights is critical and evident at an entire range of levels including the student council, head boy and head girl structure, student voice projects and initiatives around student wellbeing. The right to be heard and student voice experience at Kinsale Community School is so positive, unique, and progressive. It is a pleasure to be asked to launch ‘Voice of KCS’. It is a further construct of student voice and a visual expression of it. “
Speaking with Teachers Brian O’Reilly and Aaron Bowen of Kinsale Community School, they said: “Using technology to supplement learning can enhance pupils experience in school and give them skills for the future. The radio station will give the pupils a feeling of ownership and enable them to learn and be creative in an exciting environment. This is a focal point for our school where students are the drivers of the content and can express their views and learning in a safe, unimposing environment which will promote inclusion and school community.” Assisted also by Student Council, teacher Mr. James Wilson said the students have been really busy and putting their presenting skills to the test. Mr Wilson said: “This is a great opportunity to raise the student voice in the school, building confidence and public speaking skills and who knows this might be the start of a career in the broadcasting industry.”
Tune in to Episode 1 on Spotify which is a jam-packed episode with an introduction from Principal, Mr. McCarthy, music from talented students “The Crowley Sisters” and Ciaran Desmond, Aaron Ganly and Sarah Deasy discussing making it to the finals of “Junk Kouture”. Resident Sustainability expert Klaus Harvey tells us about ways we can all help reduce our impact on the environment and finally the President Michael D Higgins makes an appearance.