Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 15:29 UK

Advice For Mentors

After receiving the name of the school and details of the lead teacher, it's important to arrange a meeting as soon as possible.

School Reporter presenting on News Day
News Day presenting

Some schools don't deliver the project until the Spring term but mentors need to know this. If you have not heard back from your school within a month of trying to arrange a meeting, tell the School Report office.


Establish boundaries straight away. Be clear about your skills and the time you have available. Schools should do the same. In some cases it will be the first time both school and mentor have worked on the project. Keep it simple. The aim is to run a News Day on 11th March 2010 where a pupil generated piece of news is produced in time for the 2 pm deadline. Anything above this is a bonus!

Remember the rules
No surnames!
Don't work alone with pupils
Teachers are in charge of discipline
Don't promise what you can't deliver

In school

Working with pupils is very rewarding and at times enlightening because of the ideas they produce and their ways of addressing problems. It can be great fun and extremely satisfying. Remember that your key role is to mentor the teacher, so always check that they are understanding the project. Next year they may be running the project on their own.


My school won't get back to me - what shall I do?

This is the most common question we get asked. Some mentors tell us they have emailed and phoned schools for weeks with no one getting back to them. This can feel very frustrating.

After you have emailed and left messages for the lead teacher - try calling the school secretary and asking for their help. They can help chase a response. If you still hear nothing get in touch with Ros Smith in the School Report office who will follow it up.

If after a month there is still no response, it may be time to find a new school for you to mentor.

My school has no facilities - how can they do the report?

School Report needs one child finding one news story, re-writing it in their own words - and putting it on their school website for the 2 pm deadline on March 11th. Anything above that is a bonus. All schools reports differ, from a few written reports on the web, a short bulletin filmed on a mobile phone, a radio show, to full blown TV bulletins that are picked up by network. The project is can be as big or as small as the school wants.

I work in radio/online and my school wants to do TV - how do I help them?

That's fine. Tell them you haven't got specific TV experience, but you do know how we to do things the BBC way. You may be able to help with aspects such as story selection, ordering bulletins or presentation styles. Any advice is welcome in school.

My Manager has agreed for me to take part but won't release me for the News day itself

These things happen. The schools know that there is no guarantee of a mentor being with them on March 11th, but try to let the lead teacher know as early as possible.

My school has done it before and doesn't need much help

Tell us! There are many schools with no BBC mentors so you could do some work with a second one. Or help recruit more mentors...

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