The team met bleary eyed at 5.20 Monday morning ready to find out who we were up against and what we may have won.  We were in for a scorcher of a day and everyone was in high spirits. We arrived in London at 9am and made our way underground to St Pauls station.

Somewhere underground.

It was a short walk around the Cathedral to Stationers Hall – a beautiful grade 1 listed building that houses the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers.  The Stationers Company was founded in 1403 and is at the heart of the publishing industry. We were in good company. Schools from all over the country were filing in, registering and collecting goodie bags before entering the main chambers of the hall.  Before the awards, there were a series of workshops the students could take part in. Hearst, Google, the Copyright Licensing Agency and Shepherds were a few of the companies on hand to mentor the students.

Stationers Hall


Charlie taking part in a workshop provided by Google

To our amazement, we had been nominated for seven awards, we knew we had been nominated for three so this came as a surprise.  The competition was tough, not only were we up against some fairly prestigious schools but students three years our senior. We couldn’t wait to see what, if anything, we had won.

Lunch was served in the main hall (which was delicious) and then the pre-award talks started.  The first was given by Bill Bowkett, a previous winner of the Shine Scholar award. He gave an inspirational talk where he shared how his studies and now his career in journalism had been shaped by his participation in the Shine Awards.  His words were motivational and timely for the fellow students in the room. Next to the stage was Hugh Dickerson from Google. In his talk he shared his thoughts on creativity in the digital age which was insightful and up-lifting.

Now was the time; the nerves were jangling.  The awards were underway. We sat and waited as the first categories were introduced and the winners announced, and then it was our turn, could we have a shot at Best Design and Layout?  Needless to say we were proud of our magazine this year, but we’re bound to think that…

We were up against three private schools in this category: City of London School, Ibstock Place School and Headington School, could we possibly rival them?  To our absolute shock, we did. Winner of best design and layout. We were stunned. The team went up to the stage and collected their trophy. I was so incredibly proud of the students on stage and the rest of the team back in Plymouth.  Evie was beaming, she had worked so hard turning each student’s content into a beautifully laid out page. (She’s now a pro using InDesign) They had achieved something outstanding. (see website for video).

The next category we were in for was Best Podcast, we were up against: Dartford Grammar School, Kings High School Warwick and Workington Academy.  Kings High School Warwick won it with their interview with Ricky Arnold on board the International Space Station and we came out with a highly commended certificate for Ava and Molly’s piece interviewing residents of Nazareth House.  Brilliant, a second award in the bag!

We didn’t make the cut with Best Overall Content or Best Community and Environmental Initiative but then came the next category; Best Photograph: Our Photographer of the Year.  I had my eye on this one as it was sponsored by Getty and it would be a fantastic addition to a students’ CV. We were up against some stiff competition in this category: King’s High School Warwick, Prior Park School, Saint Olave’s Grammar School, Stationers’ Crown Woods Academy, Sutton Grammar School, Tarporley High School & Sixth Form College and The Marlborough Science Academy. Prior Park School took the top spot with a beautiful portrait but to our schock, Isaac and Reuben’s picture (our cover image) won a highly commended certificate.  Isaac was over the moon and proudly went to the stage to collect the certificate and a prize book. That was award number three.

Surely that was our lot?  Last year we got one certificate and were proud as punch with that!  The last category was the biggie. Best Magazine. This one carried the prize of £1000 and work experience with the Times in London.  We were up against: Colyton Grammar School, Headington School, Ibstock Place School, Kings High School Warwick, Mill Hill School, Saint Olave’s Grammar School and St George’s School for Girls.  We couldn’t believe we’d been nominated, this was a big accolade in itself. Ibstock Place School won the category but to our shock, we took Highly Commended alongside Colyton Grammar School. See image below of our students receiving their certificate from Terry Mansfield CBE.  We were elated. Four awards!!

We watched the final awards being introduced and announced and we all sat in a bit of a daze, had we really achieved all this?  The awards came to a close for 2018 to a mighty round of applause and students and their teachers began filing out. A voice broke over our conversation and a lady introduced herself, she was Liz Hunt, Daily Mail Consulting Editor.  She wanted to speak to us about Tom’s football article in the magazine and said she was sorry it didn’t get through to the final. She said it was one of her favourites from the competition and she was championing it through the early stages of the competition.  She kindly followed up her conversation with an email:

What a way to round off what had been an amazing day already. We were now ready to head home back to a cooler, cleaner Plymouth and reflect on what we had achieved.  Tom couldn’t have put it better. Here’s looking forward to 2019!!


Ava: “I loved going to the shine awards, though it was really hot and I was really nervous, I enjoyed learning all about the different jobs or career paths that I might want to follow, I also loved seeing how the different schools made there magazine, and there were so many who came from all over the country, it was exciting but also really scary, but I loved the whole experience and am really proud of how we did.”

Charlie:  “I thoroughly enjoyed working on TINT magazine and getting to attend the shine awards! “

Ali G:  “Having been nominated in a total of seven categories PSCA came away with a coveted, beautiful crystal trophy and several Highly Commended certificates! The team acquitted themselves fabulously and made Cass and me very proud. At the end of the ceremony the group was approached by Liz Hunt an editor from a national newspaper who just wanted us to know how very highly she had rated one of the featured articles in, ”Tint” and asked us to pass her words on to the author…. Praise indeed. It was, altogether, a pretty good day out.”

We have a limited edition of the magazine available to buy this year.  We invested heavily in the magazine to produce something of exceptional quality and we didn’t have the capacity this year to look for subsidy through advertising, so therefore we ask for a minimum donation of £5 per copy. 

The magazine will be on sale from Monday 9th July.


A special thanks to for their support and expertise in helping us to deliver this project, we couldn’t have done it without them.


  • Lucy Dodsworth

    So ignore my previous comment as here is all the news I wanted to see! Great article, thank you 🙂

  • Beth Munro

    Well done all, great result ….bring on 2019!