Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

January's practice News Day

Pupils from Wildern School, Hampshire
Join in a practice News Day on:
4 February

Schools around the UK took part in a dress rehearsal for the ultimate News Day.

The practice News Day, on 14 January, was the third of four practice days in the run up to School Report News Day on 11 March 2010, when thousands of students will simultaneously make the news.

Here's how the day unfolded:

COMMENTARY (all times GMT)
Heathfield School, Pinner, Middlesex Students produced a video bulletin featuring reports on the recent snow fall, rewards for obese people who lose weight, teen slang and irritating noises.

St John Fisher & St Thomas More Catholic Humanities College in Colne, Lancashire Year 7 pupils worked alongside Year 8 students to sift through the papers. The stories they focused on were the earthquake in Haiti, the Simpsons' anniversary, Burnley FC's new manager and toilet-trained deer among others. They then produced a five-minute bulletin using the school's radio equipment. Teacher David Swarbrick said they are now having weekly meetings to think of a news story they can feature on 11 March.

1827: Beaumont Hill Special School, Darlington, Durham Seven students with Special Educational Needs worked at the Education Village, Darlington, to produce a news bulletin about the snowy conditions. Pupils spoke to local people about the problems the current weather was causing and asked Science teacher Dr Willis why he thought there was so much snow. Reporter Joe wrote: "I interviewed people coming in and out of school. I asked them what they were thinking about the snow and if they liked it. One man was working from 5 o'clock in the morning until 5pm at night. He was putting grit and salt down to protect the roads and he was cold." Matthew wrote: "I used a video camera to take the pictures and they need to be good ones. I need to keep my hand steady. I really enjoyed this and would like to do it again." Watch the video on the school's website

1745: The Bulmershe School, Reading, Berkshire Year 8 students are being introduced to video journalism as part of a cross-curricular project. They learn filming techniques, editing and follow the lessons on the BBC School Report to create their own stories to put on the school's website. The video produced for the practice day was presented and edited by students after two hours instruction. They used photos from the week and a previously filmed interview with the head teacher to create a news story of the chaos caused by early January's snow, and the lessons learnt. Teacher Liz Kerry admitted that it was an "exhausting" day but that doing the practice was really useful and highlighted how quick the day goes when you are working to the broadcast deadline. Watch the video on the school's website

1611: Rodborough Technology College, Godalming, Surrey During tomorrow's practice News Day, 12 students from Year 9, will be working in small groups to make news reports. Teacher Natalie Hawker said: "This year School Report's online lessons have been built into the school's English curriculum and on the calendar right from the start of term. In the course of this month it will have launched throughout Year 9." On the 11 March News Day, 180 Year 9 students will be taking part in the morning followed by a group of around 30 Gifted and Talented pupils in the afternoon. They will be working on various stories including recycling, plans for a new store in town, bike ramps, school food, eco schools, teenage language, teenage entrepreneurs, life in the army and mobile phones. Students are hoping to interview personalities such as the Mayor of Godalming and BBC presenter Roger Hearing.

Pupils from Hillcrest School in Birmingham
School Reporters at Hillcrest are covering a range of news stories
1450: Hillcrest School, Birmingham, West Midlands Local, national, international news and weather are being covered by 20 students from Years 7, 8 and 9. The weather is dominating the local news audio and video news bulletins, with students looking at how residents have been affected, as well wild animals and local ducks, geese and swans. Australian visitors to the school, from Winmalee High School in the Blue Mountains, have been sharing their personal experiences about the devastating bush fires of Black Saturday in February 2009. The Haiti earthquake is also being covered. Students are also interested in Cleopatra's eye make-up and its possible eye health benefits. ICT teacher, Susan Miller, who is running School Report as a cross-curricular project with the English department, said: "It helps the students write concisely and stick to the point. Also writing to a deadline is a useful skill to have for project work in Year 10." Sara, 11, one of the camera operators, said: "Looking at the earthquake in Haiti, it's shocking to see how many people are on the streets, and the need for more medical aid." Nosheen, 13, who has been script-writing and presenting, found it challenging to "separate the truth from the random information" in a selection of newspapers.

School Reporters Weronica and Angelika from Brentside High School in West London
Weronica and Angelika prepare to read the news
1444: Brentside High School, West London Year 8 students have been finding out about what School Reporters did last year. Zahara admitted it made her nervous as some of the reports were so good, and she knows they have got to do even better this year. She has been working on an entertainment story, writing about Simon Cowell leaving American Idol. She did some research on the internet to find quotes from him to include in her report. "I have learnt lots of new facts," Zahara said. School Reporter Monica has been translating, from English into Polish, a script she and a friend wrote. She is now editing her Polish TV report about a dog who doesn't understand English and is adding opening titles. She said: "Its been really enjoyable, especially presenting".

Practice News Day at Tendring Technology College, Essex
A School Reporter carries out an interview at Tendring College
1351: Tendring Technology College, Essex Students are busy working on six stories covering everything from the Haiti earthquake to last night's school basketball tournament. They have grilled the headteacher over how the college aims to meet the 10:10 climate change pledge and are also planning to put together a special weather show to react to the recent cold snap. Editing of pieces is under way and teacher Valentina Burley says its a "great atmosphere".

1259: Wildern School, Hampshire "So far, the day is going really well. I'm looking forward to continuing to develop my journalism skills further," says Emily. Matthew says: "It's amazing! I really like using the different pieces of technology and developing my journalistic skills." The pupils are in groups of five and have given themselves different roles. Once they have decided on their topics, they will create a 60-second vox-pop ready to be used in March. "The media suite is a hub of activity that I'm sure reflects the true environment of a newsroom," says teacher Tom Hastings.

1222: Catford High School, south-east London One class, of 30 pupils, is taking part in the practice day at Lewisham City Learning Centre. The snow prevented another class doing a practice day on Wednesday. Other classes will be doing practice days in the next two to three weeks. Overall, six classes - making up 180 pupils from Year 8 - will take part on 11 March. Today the group is doing a TV bulletin, using newspapers, Sky and BBC reports as research. Each pupil has to produce a 90-word report and then deliver before camera. They are allowed one picture (from Google) each. The stories they are doing include the Haiti earthquake, Dannii Minogue's pregnancy, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie giving money to Haiti, Reading beating Liverpool and Andy Murray seeded 5th in the Australian Open. Their teacher, Miss Ettling, says the pupils are doing really well. She thinks they are enjoying it but are particularly looking forward to speaking in front of camera.

1208: Brechin High School, Angus Five pupils in Years 1 and 2 are doing a video interview with a staff member about the White Ribbon Campaign (organised by men who want to end violence against women). The pupils hope to have time to edit some of it today. Christine Glass, the lead teacher, says the pupils are keen, especially after a visit from a BBC mentor last week. The school is considering making BBC School Report part of a cross-curricular Moving Images Education Course next year.

1139: Brentside High School, West London Students are busy selecting which stories of the day to include in their news bulletins. Pupils are keen to report on the Haiti earthquake, Simon Cowell leaving American Idol and the UK's icy weather. Around 20 pupils are currently writing scripts in English, Polish and Russian and will begin filming next lesson.

1126: William Ellis school, Camden Fourteen students attended a practice news day at Camden City Learning Centre on Wednesday. Kujo, 13, was involved in filming and working on international news stories. He said they went to different news websites to get the news and then re-wrote the stories. "It's interesting," he said, "because you find out more about things. I found the day hard." Lead teacher Leila Alkunshalie said the whole day was superb and could not thank Camden CLC enough for all their help. Their BBC mentor, Anna Adams, also joined them briefly, but had to go back to the newsroom to cover the earthquake in Hiaiti. "It gave our pupils a flavour of what working in the 'real' world of journalism was all about and of course the urgency attached to the role," Ms Alkunshalie said. Some other stories covered were the snow and weather, sport, Haiti and the latest news of Madeleine McCann. Kujo said that when he got home that evening he watched the news. "I have a new-found respect for the news as I didn't know how hard it was."

1118: Wildern School, Hampshire Thirty School Reporters have been busy newsgathering since 0800. They are a range of Year 7 to 9 students. Having had an editorial briefing and researched topical stories online and in the newspapers, they are now storyboarding - using some of the photos they have already taken from around school. Stories they are looking into include Google pulling out of China, soldiers in Afghanistan, and whether obesity is it getting worse because more kids are using Xboxes and computers. One group is starting to think about ongoing news stories they can work on in the build-up to School Report Day on 11 March. They are thinking about the size zero model issue. Their BBC mentor, the South Today weather presenter Reham Khan, will be joining them shortly to help them develop their stories. By the end of today they plan to have recorded vox pops to publish on their school website.


Beaumont Hill Special School, Darlington, Durham

Brechin High School, Brechin, Angus

Brentside High School, Ealing, London

The Bulmershe School, Reading, Berkshire

Catford High School, Catford, London

Hillcrest School, Birmingham, West Midlands

Horbury School and Specialist Language College, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Marden High School, North Shields, Tyne And Wear

Mellow Lane School, Hayes, Middlesex

St John Fisher and St Thomas More Catholic Humanities College, Colne, Lancs

Tendring Technology College, Thorpe-Le Soken, Essex

Wildern School, Southampton, Hants


Alleyne's High School, Stone, Staffordshire (29 January)

Ewing School, West Didsbury, Manchester (11 -15 January)

Maidenhill School, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire (15 January)

Rodborough Technology College, Godalming, Surrey (15 January)

St John Houghton Catholic School, Ilkeston, Derbyshire (27 January)

William Ellis School, Camden, London (13 January)

Heathfield School, Pinner, Middlesex (January 13)


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