TBSHS Sixth Former sets up exciting student publication

A TBSHS & BS College Pupil Initiative

Date published: Thu 4 Feb 2021   Author: HLH   Category: Publicity   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email

A year 12 TBSHS student, Elliot Wood has joined up with his pal, Freddie Cooke from Bishop's Stortford College, to edit The Student Economist, a student led publication which discusses anything political, economic or societal – largely a junior version of The Economist.

Elliot says - "The owner is Freddie Cooke (head boy at the College) and I coordinate the publication with him.

The topics of the articles are decided by the journalist – we actively encourage them to write about what interests them. Freddie and I have to have more of a role in setting up debate articles between two writers but besides that it is free rein.

It began as an endeavour circulated within the College but Freddie was keen to expand it. We know each other well and he knew I am very interested in economics and politics (much like him) so I said I’d get on board – this involves helping him to edit articles, edit and update the website, spreading the publication and getting writers from my school. The time spent on it is various (Freddie put lots of effort and time into the website to set it up as it was originally a pdf newsletter rather than a website). I am involved in the editing at multiple stages of articles written by TBSHS students and Freddie does the same for the College. We also both write our own articles and edit each other’s. It does take up time but is well worth it.

Freddie and I keep in good contact and are always looking for more writers and schools to get involved. We are open to all those interested!"

What gave us the idea to start it?

Freddie says - "We started the Student Economist in school towards the end of last year with the intent of fostering debate on current affairs and increasing uptake of learning and knowledge around politics and economics – particularly around the largely unprecedented current climate. The initial plan was to keep it internal at the college, but after working with a friend of mine, Elliot Wood, the now school editor from The Bishop's Stortford High School, we both thought this could be a great way to collaborate across Stortford – starting with two schools that are more used to rivalry rather than collaboration, certainly in regard to sport!"    

What are you aiming to do with it?

Our tagline is, ‘broadening minds and expanding futures’. Firstly, we hope that reading our articles, seeing our correspondence on social media and hearing about us around school will encourage debate around current affairs, curiosity into different subject areas or even just questioning of the constant barrage of news where before it may have been taken as a given. Social media news, where the majority of people our get their news, often leads to echo corridors of identical opinions and we hope to collect differing opinions in one platform will inspire interest, debate and questioning that may not have otherwise occurred.

Most importantly for us though, it’s all about expanding the futures of the young people in Bishop's Stortford who write for us. With the COVID lockdowns and slow down for businesses, work experience is extremely hard to come by for us all. Hence, we hope to provide a ‘springboard’ if you like, something our contributors can put on their university or job application in order to demonstrate that they are willing to go above and beyond for their career or university course of interest. 

How does it work?

We have four columns at the moment. The first is current affairs, followed by debate, where we pick a title, for example the first is ‘The UK should take more immigrants’, and two journalists with opposing views write articles and the reader votes at the bottom who was more persuasive. Although in its infancy, this is my favourite column as I believe it best satisfies our aim of fostering debate and questioning where otherwise it may have been easy to side with one well explained article. We also have the controversary column, where out of the ordinary opinions are presented to provoke thought and questioning of things that may have before been taken as an accepted truth. Lastly we have the insight column, where journalists pick a niche and really get into the topic. An example of this could be an article on the Gender Pay Gap or an assessment of the lies behind the film “The Big Short”.  Despite the name The Student Economist, this is where I hope we will begin to diversify our topics and therefore reader base, whilst also allowing a greater range of young people with differing interests and intended career paths to write for TSE.  

In terms of structure we have school editors (Elliot Wood at TBSHS) who encourage uptake, both reading and writing, internally at the school. They are responsible for editing and sending the articles and get them posted online.  That way we keep a local close- to-school feel, but it feeds into something bigger that is contributed to by the whole of Stortford, hence increasing the visibility of our contributors and bringing the readers of different schools together.

Who will benefit and how?                                                                                           Freddie Cooke

Young people in Bishop's Stortford, I hope, will benefit from the chance to feed their interests into something bigger. By contributing and engaging with the publication, fellow students are able to showcase their interests and opinions, and demonstrate these to universities and future employers. With work experience being so hard to come by in the current climate, we also started a LinkedIn page ( This allows us to showcase our contributors on an international platform that they may use in the future to apply for jobs. Also, journalism, economics and politics, three subject areas massively interlinked with the publication, are some of the hardest to break in to, so this is a great place to start.

Where do you want it to go? 

Firstly, it is always good to find likeminded people, the chances are if you are a young person reading a newspaper you are someone who is interested in current affairs and journalism, so what better a place to advertise. We also want to expand. At the moment we have journalists from TBSHS and BSC, but we want the whole of Stortford to write towards the publication. I don’t want people to be put off by the name either – as I said we may have economist in our name but we want all opinions and articles on any subject matters. We say on our website that if you are interested in it than someone else our age will - no matter how niche a subject matter or out of the ordinary it may be. We want to hear different opinions and ideas from a large range of people, and I hope the prospect of raising awareness in the paper can help achieve this. Working with us can come in the form of just a one off article, writing every 1, 4 or 7 weeks or even managing our social media if they want to go into marketing and that’s what you enjoy – whatever works for you. We are run by students for students, and we are looking for more to join!

Mr Rob Stark, Head of Sixth Form said, " Elliot is a fantastic student who contributes to all areas of the life of the school and our Sixth Form. Our Sixth Form actively encourages students to pursue their own interests as part of our engaging, diverse and comprehensive enrichment programme. I am proud to say, due to the commitment of our staff, we were able to provide an exciting enrichment programme in between this lockdown and the previous one too. That being said, Elliot has done a brilliant job: managing the demands of his studies; training for elite level triathlon (outside of school); taking part in TBSHS running club and co-ordinating his very own student publication. Elliot’s and the magazine’s initiative is most welcome as it gives students a fantastic opportunity, especially at a time when opportunities are limited due to the current lockdown."