News - Young Reporter Receives National Recognition

A Westwood College student has been short-listed in the prestigious Amnesty International’s Young Reporter Competition as a top-10 contender

This award celebrates talented young writers reporting on a human rights issue they care about.

Daniel Deaville, 17, from Leek, had his work judged by a panel of national journalists, renowned writers and educational professionals, including the acclaimed Christie Watson, author of Tiny Sunbirds Far Away and winner of the Costa First Novel Award.

The panel was incredibly impressed with the standard of Daniel’s article about the stolen lives of Syrian child soldiers.

It was the ‘rare combination of facts and figures combined with a story’ which writer Christie Watson found so striking.   ‘It is something to be remembered.’

Jane Houston, Amnesty’s education specialist, also praised Daniel’s entry and described it as a ‘rallying cry for action’.

Daniel, who is currently studying for A-Levels in English Literature, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, wrote about the terrible exploitation of child soldiers, an often ignored aspect of the Syrian crisis which is now entering its fourth year.

The government’s announcement, in January, stating the UK would act with the greatest urgency to help the most needy people in Syrian refugee camps , encouraged Daniel to research who would be regarded as the ‘most needy’.

This led to the uncovering of some shocking facts such as child soldiers being paid the equivalent of just £1.50 to kill.

Despite, such disturbing details, personally, Daniel is delighted at his achievement.

“I am thrilled at being shortlisted. I have always been aware of human rights issues, so I was immediately interested when this competition was brought to my attention by my teacher.’

‘My personal connection to the children of Syria is from a humanitarian viewpoint. I am glad to see that the certain organisations like UNICEF and various governments are now more involved in helping children caught in this terrible conflict.”

Over 2,700 young people took part in this prestigious nationwide competition which makes Daniel’s achievement all the more impressive.

So what next for Daniel?

‘I will carry on writing and, one day, I hope to become a journalist who takes an active interest in human rights across the world. ’

In the meantime, Daniel will pursue a degree next year, hopefully one which allows him to combine his love of writing with his interest in current affairs and science.

He will continue to be supported by all at Westwood College.

English teacher, Elora Chakma said, ‘Daniel wrote with such conviction.  It has confirmed for me that many young people care passionately about world affairs and this is so encouraging’.

As Director of Federation Sixth Form in Leek, Daniel Owen commented, ‘We are all really proud of Daniel’s wonderful achievement and it proves how our students are able to compete with the very best nationwide.’

There is no doubt reaching the top-10 shortlist for his age category in the highly distinguished Amnesty Youth Awards, will help Daniel move a very significant step closer towards his journalistic career.



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