Actor visits Suffolk school

WITNESS statements, interviews with detectives and vital pieces of evidence replaced text books as pupils at a Lowestoft school were given the task of solving a fictional murder yesterday.

WITNESS statements, interviews with detectives and vital pieces of evidence replaced text books as pupils at a Lowestoft school were given the task of solving a fictional murder yesterday.

Students at Harris Middle School put on their thinking caps to gather information, quiz police officers and use special computer programmes to try to find out who was responsible for killing Sir William Loot.

The year seven pupils were joined by real officers from Lowestoft's south and central safer neighbourhood teams, sixth form students from the nearby Denes High School and actors from the Seagull Theatre to create a day of interactive fun and learning.

Actor Tony Scannell, who played Det Sgt Ted Roach in ITV's The Bill from 1984 to 1993 and now lives in Lowestoft, dusted off his police pocketbook to join in the fun - having being promoted to play Det Chief Insp Bruce Gunn for the day.


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While one classroom was turned into an incident room for interviewing suspects and police officers, students used other rooms to search for clues from a specially-created computer programme which allowed them to see the scene of the crime and even look through Sir Loot's filofax, notebooks and bin for clues.

Assistant headteacher Mark Becker said: “The aim of the day is to teach the students the skills they need to be able to learn. They're using ICT and interviewing people to come up with their idea of who the killer is, and then they'll make a presentation with their findings.

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“When it was time for morning break, some of the students asked me whether they actually had to stop working because they were enjoying it so much.”

Mr Scannell, who was asked to take part after becoming involved with the Seagull Theatre, said: “The children seem to be very interested in everything, which is wonderful.

“I'm collating all the information which my fictional detectives have got from the suspects in the case and then helping to pass that on to the students - I've even told them that some of my detectives are taking an exam next week and that it would be really good if some of them could solve the case before the professionals, which has spurred them on. It's turning out to be a real success.”

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