Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 16:06 UK

Teachers' feedback 2006-2008

The thoughts of teachers involved in School Report 2006/7 and 2007/8 are gathered on this page as a way of sharing good practice.

Please send us your feedback using our feedback form or online evaluation

Practice makes perfect

Teachers who took part in a practice News Day said it one of the best ways to prepare for the UK-wide News Day. They particularly enjoyed seeing students and their work on the BBC website.

Dawn Hughes from Desborough School in Berkshire said: "The level of excitement and focus increased when the students witnessed their first piece go live on the School Report site.

"Although there was a lot of work involved, today has been absolutely brilliant. I'm going to ask the head if we can arrange another practice News Day."

Teachers take on students' roles

Adam Lucas, Advanced Skills Teacher in English and Media Studies at Henry Beaufort School
The day has shown me ways of using Media Studies across the curriculum
Adam Lucas

A "class" of teachers had a go at making the news during a practice News Day organised by the Special Schools and Academies Trust and the BBC.

Duncan White, who is in charge of teaching Media Studies at Trinity School in Kent, said: "The teachers' News Day has been very exciting. I hope the pupils at my school get as much from it as I have.

It's been very interesting working to a deadline and learning about the technology. It'll has helped me understand what we need to do on School Report New Days to produce the best work possible."

Catherine Juckes, Head of English at Huncliff School in Middlesbrough said: "It has helped me think about what my students will need and how we'll get them ready for School Report News Day in March.

It's been really useful for me to have a go myself, to see what some of the problems are going to be and how much my students are going to enjoy it. My school were really excited I was coming to the teachers' News Day."

John Westwood is the head of digital communications at Mayfield School in Essex. He said: "It's important to experience what the students will be doing. In my 32 years of teaching, I have never asked any of my students to do something I'd never done before - it would not be fair."

During School Report 2006/7, the BBC worked with over 80 schools with a specialist status. The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) have published some useful feedback on their website.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Adam Lucas is an Advanced Skills Teacher in English and Media Studies at Henry Beaufort School in Hampshire. He said: "Today has shown me ways of using Media Studies across the curriculum."

Peter Milwright, from the English department of Claydon High School in Suffolk, said: "Making the news today will help me run the school newspaper and it will be useful for lessons as well."

'Can we do School Report again?'

Teacher Annabel Gibbs from Guildford County School in Surrey said: "There was an enthusiasm for the project beyond what we had imagined. Students would come up to me in the corridor and ask: 'When can we do School Report? Can we do it again this week?' I would like to build on this enthusiasm next year.

"Pretending to be a journalist in a speaking and listening exercise is something we would normally do in an English lesson, but this was real - and that made a huge difference.

"As well as reporting news at school, the project also allowed students to recognise that there is a whole world out there. Reading newspapers and finding stories was so good for them.

"Students can become bored of seeing their teacher, and a real journalist from outside the school was a good role model for them.

"Prospective parents see School Report as a positive activity and are keen to hear that it is already established at the school.

School Report eases bullying

Sherrill Townsend
I know that there's going to be an added benefit from School Report on the whole issue of verbal bullying in our school
Sherrill Townsend

A teacher taking part in School Report has said she believes the project could help ease bullying at school.

Sherrill Townsend made her comments at Brentside High School in Ealing after taking part in the BBC project.

She said: "I know that there's going to be an added benefit from School Report on the whole issue of verbal bullying in our school.

"Pupils will feel more confident in expressing their opinions and knowing that what they are, and what they produce today, is of some worth."

Developing social skills

English teacher Deborah Quysner
It's really useful for students to see the skills that they're learning in the classroom are those used by professional organisations like BBC News.
Deborah Quysner

English teacher Rebecca Price, from Forest Hill School in London, said: "There are so many skills that you gain from doing this: teamwork, co-operation, meeting deadlines. There's something for all pupils and that's why it's such an important thing to do."

Special needs SEN teaching assistant Nicky Remice from Forest Hill School in London said: "Some children with learning or behavioural difficulties are very creative and need to be kept on the go all the time. The News Day kept them active all day long."

'Giving pupils a voice'

Teacher at Haggerston School in London, Steve Townsend, said: "School Report is a way of giving students a voice, but rather than being heard by parents and teachers, students are heard nationally.

"We often hear that TV affects the way our children are brought up. If we can help them see behind the scenes of any media production, it gives them a greater ability to read the message, to understand bias and to avoid being swayed by it.

"Throughout the BBC project I had the best attendance ever from my class."

'Bringing the real world into the classroom'

Curriculum director of Hackney City Learning Centres, Vivi Lachs, said: "Having journalists coming in and working with young people was absolutely superb. I can't say that enough. They were bringing the real world in. They weren't speaking to the young people like they were teachers and they were there to offer students an opportunity to see that their job was something they could do.

"During the two pilot days, and on the News Day itself, all the adults, and some of the young people, had their mobile phones switched on because they were conducting interviewing by phone. This is not something that would normally happen in schools. It was so real, so to the moment and something very special.

"On the News Day, having a deadline was really motivating. Often the stuff kids learn is the same stuff their sisters and brothers have learned maybe ten years before. To be doing something now makes it very, very real - and that's what's important."

Robert Baldock, a teacher at the Reading School in Berkshire added that his school chose to participate "because it was a chance to extend and enrich the Year 8 media curriculum in a way that the students would also see as relevant to the real world.

"Having the kudos of the BBC brand and support behind it made it a genuine work-experience type affair for the students, who actually got to do real journalism with a real concrete outcome that had real presence in the outside world. It wasn't just a dry classroom based simulation."

'News Day talked about for weeks'

Sue White, a teacher at Coombeshead College in Devon, said: "The News Day was a subject of talk and discussion among students for weeks!

"It was great for the students to see BBC news crews in action and to experience the real 'buzz' of live interviews.

"School Report offered new and exciting opportunities to students. It built their confidence and self-esteem, improved their communication skills and widened their horizons.

"Our BBC mentors were excellent. They came into college and worked with students on run-up days and arranged a visits and press conferences. I would like to say how well they related to the students and how much the students gained from working with real journalists. Some were inspired to become future video journalists."

'Focussing on the journalism worked well'

Ealing City Learning Centre manager Alim Shaikh said: "Even though we are a CLC, we wanted to focus on delivering English skills rather than ICT skills.

"Typically, the students from one or two schools would come to the CLC for a day. In the morning we concentrated on the five Ws and three Cs of journalism (what, who, where, when, why, clear, concise, correct).

"It was only in the afternoon that we introduced the media, which in our case was a piece of software enabling you to read your own script while being filmed on webcam.

"The feedback we have had has been very good. This method worked really, really well and was one of the reasons why we managed to get seven of the 13 secondary schools in Ealing involved."

'Spoken work boosts pupils confidence'

Teacher Vesna Klein, from Brentside High School in Ealing, London, said: "Taking part in School Report has been an extremely valuable experience for the students and teachers involved.

"Learning about the skills of journalism has boosted literacy levels among the Year 8 students.

"Students don't have many opportunities to produce a piece of work in a spoken context and being able to do so has boosted their confidence."

'Students' progress clearly visible'

Teacher Will Halsey, from Acton High School in Ealing, London, said: "The progress made by the students was clearly visible. During the first practice News Day, students were pushing each other and laughing. By the end of the process, they were working like professionals.

"When I told the City Learning Centre manager that we would have our news made by 2pm on 22 March 2007, I wasn't totally sure we would. But the students were really, really great and met the News Day deadline.

"The kids loved School Report and were all really sad to see it finish for this year."

He added: "We chose to distil the six lesson plans on the website into a one-day workshop for a small group of students. They found, gathered and wrote their news scripts during the first half of the day and assembled, edited and delivered them in the afternoon. It is worth while being aware of another way of delivering the lesson plans.

'School Report helps CPD'

Paul Hayes, audio and visual technician at Sir James Smith's Humanities College in Cornwall
With a project like this you're going to be wearing many hats
Paul Hayes

Audio and visual technician Paul Hayes, from Sir James Smith's College in Cornwall, was keen to swap his technical knowledge for a deeper understanding of the journalistic process.

He said: "It's quite important to understand the editorial side. With a project like this you're going to be wearing many hats.

"For example, when you edit, you can help students focus on the story as well as tying it in with the technical side of computer editing."

Teacher Lisa Plowman from Longsands College in Cambridgeshire added: "The college gained media specialist status last September which means we have lots of snazzy resources but they were not being used freely throughout the college.

"School Report has encouraged staff to use interactive whiteboards, of which some teachers were previously wary, and to download material, which they would not have otherwise done. It has been really beneficial in terms of staff CPD.

"School Report also prompted the English department to review the current media provision for Key Stage 3 students and to create a scheme of work from the resources on the School Report website for the whole of Year 8.

"On the News Day, five members were off timetable, but actually, the kids could have run it themselves. They took it very seriously.

"By the end of the day there were 174 reports on the school website!

"Being involved in a UK-wide project really enabled the students to feel part of a community and to experience a connection with people beyond the school.

"Since School Report, students have been keen to keep up their reporting skills. Some students have asked me if they can do work experience at the BBC and others have joined the Presspack club.

Developing cross-curricular links

Steve Durman, Director of Geography at Sir James Smith's Humanities College
It will be a great opportunity
Steve Durham

News is often taught within English and Citizenship lesson, but Sir James Smith's College in Cornwall is one of 13 specialist humanities schools who took part in News Day.

Director of Geography, Steve Durman, said: "It's a great opportunity for a cross-curricular project where the Geography department can work together with other subjects such as History and English to improve students literacy skills and give a whole school focus to something which is bound to stimulate them and motivate them.

"There are all sorts of issues which children have strong opinions about with a geographical connection. In a rural area like North Cornwall many of the children are concerned with issues such as the establishment of wind farms and renewable energy."

Teacher Nicki Gower from Chantry High School in Ipswich added: "As well as explicitly developing English skills, School Report has been great in terms of developing cross curricular links throughout the school.

"One of the students' reports was about a student - a hammer thrower - who is representing Great Britain, so this group worked with PE department.

"The PSHE department were also involved with the research into a report on 'size zero', anorexia and bulimia. Students also developed their ICT skills while using a variety of editing and publishing software.

Lewisham CLC manager Zalihe Collymore-Hussein
Quite a large number of the elements can be pre-prepared so you can run a News Day with very simple equipment.
Zalihe Collymore-Hussein

"The students absolutely loved the News Day. They were excited by all the goodies which arrived in the School Report pack, but not as excited as the head of Media and I when we discovered the School Report clock!

"The kids got so much out of it. It was incredible."

'No need for lots of equipment'

Lewisham City Learning Centre manager Zalihe Collymore-Hussein said: "Quite a large number of the elements can be pre-prepared so you can run a News Day with very simple equipment."

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