“Very impressive” students praised by TV legend Fiona Bruce

By Tamsen, 13 and Jill Dando News

Students aged 9 to 18 have been praised by TV legend Fiona Bruce as she appeared in their latest Jill Dando News TV Zoom interview.

“Olivia masterfully chaired it all with the ease of a professional. It was all very impressive and encouraging for the future of journalism.”

Fiona Bruce

The brilliant presenter of BBC’s Question Time, BBC News and Antiques Roadshow was asked a wide-range of questions by students in The Priory Learning Trust.

Olivia Finch, aged 16, Head Girl of Worle Community School Academy, hosted the one-hour interview – the culmination of over four years of experience since being a founding member of Jill Dando News at the academy.

Afterwards Fiona said: “It was an absolute delight to meet the students who had clearly put a lot of thought into their questions. A few of them really put me on the spot! 

“And Olivia masterfully chaired it all with the ease of a professional. It was all very impressive and encouraging for the future of journalism.” 

Fiona top left with Jill Dando reporters and TPLT staff

The 25 students quizzed Fiona about her time in the BBC, her journalism tips, and how she was inspired by Jill Dando to achieve her dreams. Jill’s older brother, Nigel, welcomed Fiona Bruce to Jill Dando TV.

In previous weeks the students have interviewed the BBC’s LA Correspondent Sophie Long, a former pupil of Windwhistle Primary School in Weston-super-Mare, as well as popular former BBC presenter Emma Britton.

Olivia Finch said: “It’s been a hugely rewarding experience to be a part of the interview with Fiona. 

“We’ve had the chance to interview so many inspirational people from different organisations and careers.”

Neville Coles, CEO of TPLT, said: “Our students are producing top-class standards of journalism with maturity and professionalism. This has been yet another superb round of Jill Dando TV interviews.” 

Olivia, right, with other Jill Dando reporters

Jill was a former student at WCSA, and played a pivotal part in inspiring Fiona to aim to get to the top of British TV journalism.

Jill Dando TV is part of TPLT’s Jill Dando News Centres, aiming to promote positive stories of kindness, positivity and inspiration across Somerset and beyond. Students find and write positive stories, and are trained by professional journalists such as Mr Dando.

Olivia and Aimee Braithwaite, 14, of PCSA, helped launch Jill Dando Television on 27th April 2019, the 20th anniversary of Jill’ death.

Then for JDTV in August 2019, students including Dawson Panter-Wray, then aged 12, of The King Alfred School Academy (TKASA), were the first journalists in Britain to interview new Prime Minister Boris Johnson inside Downing Street. 

A month earlier Dawson and other JDTV reporters had filmed and interviewed Mr Johnson at their news centre at TKASA, while at the same time being given journalism tips by Sophy Ridge of Sky News.

Schools taking part in the Fiona interview also included students from Priory Community School Academy, The King Alfred School Academy, St Anne’s Church Academy, Castle Batch School Academy, and Pawlett Primary School Academy, all part of TPLT. Ollie, a Year 5 pupil at Ashcombe Primary School which has a Jill Dando News Centre, also asked a question.