Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

February's practice News Day

School Reporters from Castlehead High School, Paisley, Renfrewshire

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

The practice News Day, on 4 February, was the final of four practice days in the run-up to School Report News Day on 11 March when thousands of students will simultaneously make the news.

See how the practice News Day unfolded:

COMMENTARY (all times GMT)
Alec Hunter Humanities College, Braintree, Essex Throughout the day, a team at the school has been keeping track of their own news team's activities - and those of other student journalists around the UK. Here's an insert from their "live events" page: We have now finished all of our phone calls to the Vyne Community School, Abraham Moss and Hillhead High School and found out that they are close to finishing their news reports of the day. Many of the students here at Alec Hunter are close to finishing their reports and the camera woman Gil is still in the process of creating a video of the school news report and all the work we have been doing. It has been a great experience for all of us working with the BBC, and now we all know what it is like to be a news reporter for the day. Read the complete account of the day at the four schools on Alec Hunter's website.

School Reporters from Horsforth School, Leeds
Year 12s mentor the Year 9s at Horsforth
Horsforth School, Leeds School Reporters spent the day filming, interviewing and creating graphics for their news items. Year 12 Media Students showed Year 9 reporters how to film and edit. School Reporters asked the following questions: Simon Cowell has produced a song to raise money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, but what are staff and students doing to help? Why is the planet Pluto changing colour? Andy Murray recently suffered a defeat, are schools doing enough to produce sports champions of the future? Why do we celebrate Valentine's Day? What do diabetic students at the school feel about an artificial pancreas? Curriculum Leader Media, Nicola Hazell, said: "Students are totally engaged, working hard and enjoying the whole process."

Culcheth High School, Culcheth, Warrington The construction of a new school building was the focus for 27 Year 7 and 8 mixed-ability students. Pupils created a video news story about A block, which has been used for school-purposes since 1931, and a radio podcast about the new school building which will be open in June. While the young reporters worked to a 1500 deadline, the Gifted and Talented students designed and built the website. Teacher Chrissie Price said: "It has really helped us think about how we will plan and organise the actual News Day. The students really enjoyed the highly paced day and are looking forward to improving for 11 March."

Batley Girls' High School, Batley, West Yorkshire Forty-two students worked on a variety of different stories including fundraising activities for the Haiti earthquake, the impact of the recent snow on schools and a school residential in York as part of the government's Extra Mile initiative. The school is part of the Building Schools for the Future scheme and students were asked what they liked about the current school and what they would like in the new school. They also considered the differences between co-education schools and single-sex provision.

School Reporters at Guildford County School, Guildford, Surrey
Exam cheating investigated at Guildford County
1829: Guildford County School, Guildford, Surrey "BBC School Report is a fun way of learning things you wouldn't have usually learnt" said Briony. Another student added: "I have been having a lot of fun and it has been very interesting finding out how to record and type the final article. It has been a lot of fun finding out what people think about cheating in exams."

1700: Northfleet School For Girls, Gravesend, Kent Students spent the day researching and preparing their news reports. They chose to report on the Haiti earthquake, including fundraising events within the school, and the impact of carrier bags on China. Locally, they investigated why there are currently policemen on all local school gates, and the Building Schools for the Future project. " All the students were keen and enthusiastic," said teacher Marie Sweetlove.

1651: Lurgan Junior High School, Lurgan, Co Armagh Students wrote articles on the price of a bronze sculpture, the dangers of tanning, the Haiti appeal, the new sports pitches being built at the school, John Terry and how a man in a coma could respond to questions asked by scientists. They also spent time on the telephone to the Pakastani Embassy, the American Embassy and the Tate Gallery. They produced two video reports and an audio report about cheating in school exams. Students found the day tough-going but very satisfying and cannot wait until 11 March, reported teacher Paul Moorehead.

1645: Margaret Beaufort Middle School, Bedford, Bedfordshire Eight Year 8 and four Year 7 pupils are taking part today. They are part of the Gifted and Talented set who will act as editors on 11 March, so today is a big learning curve for them. With help from students from the Media department at the upper school, the pupils are filming video reports on three thought-provoking topics: The first is dementia. Inspired by recent news coverage, students are asking: How aware are young people? The second topic is childcare. This was prompted by a report about a father in China who chained his child to a lamppost while he went to work because he couldn't afford proper childcare and was afraid his son would be otherwise be abducted. The final story focuses on full body scanners in airports and how children feel about them. Once these have been filmed, the pupils will learn how to edit so that, on the ultimate News Day, they will be able to package-up the stories filmed by fellow School Reporters.

School Reporters from Diss High School, Norfolk
Out on location at Diss High
1632: Diss High School, Norfolk "It's getting really exciting here. Year 9 students are editing their radio programmes and the television news teams are out on location filming! Everyone is very keen to meet the deadline but are being perfectionists at the same time!" reports teacher Suzanne Johnson.

1629: Brentside High School, Ealing, London "Students are looking for pictures to go with their reports. The opening and closing credits are also being edited in. We're all working hard to hit the deadline!" reports teacher Richard Paterson from the school.

School Reporters from Guildford County School, Guildford, Surrey
BBC mentor gives a helping hand in Guildford
1623: Guildford County School, Guildford, Surrey "BBC mentor Kate Riley has been giving her expert advice on everything we have done. She has helped us structure our reports, showed us how to give an angle on a story and, most importantly, she has experience to pass on to our budding journalists," reported one of the students taking part.

1617: St Aidan's CE Technology College, Blackpool, Lancashire "Well all our news reports are in the can, we are just assembling the final report for uploading to our web page. Lots of frantic activity going on," reported ICT Curriculum Support Technician, Kate Nisbet.

1611: Hillhead High School, Glasgow Thirty pupils aged from 11-13 are working on both web-based reports and audio packages. Their stories range from fundraising for Haiti, Fairtrade Fortnight and, from today's international news, a panda learning English. One group focused on politics and another wrote about the ethical and scientific perspectives of designer babies. Tymon, from S2, said:"The radio recording was the best part of the day. It's something I've never tried before and it was fun to hear us all talking." Darren, also from S2, said: "Researching the stories was my favourite part of the day because it was a challenge to find weird and wonderful things that are happening in the world."

1525: Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School, Sidcup, Kent Students are all excited and busy producing a short radio broadcast of the day's news, as well as some text-based articles.

1521: Rainford High Technology College, St. Helens, Merseyside Despite several members of staff and many students being absent in January because of the weather, there are still up to 270 Year 8 students preparing for the ultimate News Day. Forty A level students will be mentoring the 12 to 13-year-olds and helping them prepare their materials in the computer suite, where they have 40 editing laptops. "The kids here are lovely, they're up for doing anything," said Gemma Crinigan, the teacher co-ordinating the School Report effort. "We've already filmed one report on forensics, when a BBC team came in to help us." She added: "Word has spread through the school that it was fun." She explained the school's plans for 11 March: "Our Science and Technology Club will put on something on the day which we intend to report. We've got a school trip going to Barcelona on February 15 and they want to make a news report on the value of school trips. Another student has been in the local paper and he has set up an interview with the local council about giving children things to do and about the representation of teenagers in the press. We had a non-uniform day to raise money for Haiti and we will be having a Chinese week next week." The students have been following the Huw Edwards lessons and holding practice news sessions, sometimes with a deadline of just an hour, to give them a sense of working under pressure. They want to continue practising covering breaking news stories and are contemplating running a blog on their website to track what's happening. "All the heads of department have been contributing ideas," said Ms Crinigan, "And the kids really enjoy it. It's one of the things you just have to try. If it all falls apart, then we'll do it differently next time."

1420: Guildford County School, Guildford, Surrey "Almost all of the groups have missed the deadline but we are still going. Hopefully it won't go like this on the real day," said a teacher at the school.

1451: Alec Hunter Humanities College, Braintree, Essex Vicky spoke to Abda at Abraham Moss Moss High School in Manchester as part of the school's "live event" news gathering. Here's an entry from Alec Hunter's running account of the day: Abda said that their day so far was going very well, and they are making video news reports. One story is about a 31-year-old man who jumped in front of a train and killed himself. Read the "live events" page here.

School Reporters at Colne Community School, Colchester, Essex
Rory conducts an interview to inform his report
1440: Colne Community School, Colchester, Essex On 3 February, 16 students from Year 8 went out on location to film two stories. The first challenged the stereotype that young people today not as active as previous generations and was filmed at rollerblading and leisure centre in Colchester. The second story focussed on the end of the recession. Students gathered vox pops on Colchester High Street, where a new store was opening, asking people how they felt about the end of the credit crunch.

School Reporter from Hatch End High School, Harrow, Middlesex
A level exam protest is one of the hot topics at Hatch End
1433: Hatch End High School, Harrow, Middlesex Students are writing articles about the 2010 Olympics, healthy eating in schools, the protest against an A level exam on Facebook, Google in China, the earthquake in Haiti, the school production of "Hairspray" and Avatar smashing the Box office record. Students are also asking: Will summer be hot? and: Are prisons getting too soft? "I like having to work in a big team," said Disha. "It's a lot of responsibility but it's great," said Heather. "It's very interactive," said Adam. "It's a lot of fun and I look forward to doing the real one, " said Poppy. The main news items include John Terry's affair, a child who was chained to a post, brain scanners and multiple-yolker eggs. Students are also making a behind-the-scenes piece about School Report. "I'm learning and enjoying it a lot, but I can't imagine doing it every day," said Lizzie. "It's hard work, but also really fun," said Nathalie. "It is a great opportunity to learn about journalism and improve my skills, but it is a lot of work," said Nikita.

1425: Robert Pattinson School, Lincoln, Lincolnshire Young reporters were interrupted by a fire alarm, but are still on target to meet the deadline.

School Reporters from Robert Pattinson School, Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Compiling a running order at Robert Pattinson
1413: Robert Pattinson School, Lincoln, Lincolnshire Young reporters began the day at 0845 and are now in the process of compiling their stories. They interviewed a group of police constables who were were visiting the school and discussed ASBOs and the consequences of people's actions. Other stories the news teams are working on include: students and teachers cheating in exams, the Winter Olympics and Maths Challenge 2010. In entertainment news, students are asking: Has Twilight lost it's bite?

1405: The Grey Coat Hospital, Westminster, London Students created video reports and a podcast under the watchful eye of student editor Thomasin and BBC mentor Pallab Ghosh.

1400: Banbury School, Banbury, Oxfordshire On 2 February, 170 pupils took part in a practice News Day which went "amazingly well" according to lead teacher Wendy Smith. Students made seven reports which included interviewing specially-invited guests to the school. For an item on education, they held a secret ballot of the teachers to find out how many of them would still like to remain in the job. The results showed that most were still keen to teach, although around a third confessed that they were thinking of moving on.

School Reporters at The Holy Family Catholic School, Keighley, West Yorkshire
School Reporters carried on making the news around an Ofsted inspection
1354: The Holy Family Catholic School, Keighley, West Yorkshire As well as having an Ofsted inspection, 17 Year 8 pupils are taking part in today's practice News Day. Despite a few technical hitches with recording equipment, the day is jam-packed. A former member of pop band EMF, who stormed the charts in the '90s with You're Unbelievable, now teaches at the school. Inspired by him, students' main news topic is "Where are they now". Other reporters have been recording vox pops about why people chose certain cars; whether they are environmentally friendly. They are also investigating boxing for girls. The School Reporters are being followed by a documentary team who are making a fly-on-the wall piece, showing how the day progresses.

School Reporters at Rainham School for Girls, Gillingham, Kent
Harmony, Remy, Kayley and Anna-Lianne in action
1343: Rainham School for Girls, Gillingham, Kent A new card system has been installed in the school diner. Reporter Harmony says: "I'm having a really fun day. I like filming and being off my normal timetable."

1339: Guildford County School, Guildford, Surrey One of the radio groups have picked up on an interesting article about the different ways that pupils cheat in important exams to make sure they get the grades they need.

1333: Alperton Community School, Wembley, Middlesex Students have been researching and interviewing guests about electronic tagging of students, non-uniform day to raise money for Haiti and Unicef. The 10 Year 8 pupils have been using a video camera and a stills camera. One students said: "We've got good stories and it's really fun!" while their teacher commented: "They are loving it! They are encouraged by learning out of the classroom, independently and on a 'real' project." For the News Day in March, students are planning to examine the Building Schools for the Future project to see if it has been successful at their school.

School Reporters from Margaret Beaufort Middle School, Bedford, Bedfordshire
Researching airport body scanners at Margaret Beaufort
1322: Margaret Beaufort Middle School, Bedford, Bedfordshire Eight Year 8 and four Year 7 pupils are working on stories with the headlines: What do you know about dementia? What is childcare? and: Is the new body scanner to be used in airports an invasion of privacy?

1312: Alec Hunter Humanities College, Braintree, Essex A news gathering team are busy ringing round other schools to find out how their practice News Days are unfolding. Just like the BBC journalists compiling this page, students are capturing the highlights from their own school plus three other schools: Hillhead High School in Glasgow, The Vyne Community School in Hampshire and Abraham Moss High School in Manchester. Read their "live events" page here .

School Reporters at Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen
Joanne tries out a new filming angle
1304: Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen Students are spending the day familiarising themselves with a camera. With "a mixture of excitement and trepidation," as their English teacher Mike Elder puts it, the 20 students, who are 12 to 13-years-old, are getting stuck into their preparations for News Day on March 11. "The pupils are enthused and have really taken on the project," says Mr Elder. They're excited at the prospect of meeting Colin Wight from BBC Scotland later today, who will give them a master-class on using a camera. The group has already been allocated various roles, with six on camera-operation duty, while others will become film editors and reporters. So far, the students have been practising their writing skills by producing news articles. The subjects have been wide-ranging including a story about the torn Picasso painting in New York and the impact this will have on its value. One student has penned an article about a journalist in prison in Burma, another has chosen to focus on tiger farms in China, and one student has reported on the last Celebrity Big Brother, using the headline "Curtain McCall for CBB."

School Reporters from Diss High School, Norfolk
What's the story? Diss High reporters search the papers
1240: Diss High School, Norfolk There's a real buzz in the ICT room where 18 Year 9 students have finished their research. They have been busy booking interview slots with staff and students and begun recording their story anchors. There are two very busy news teams: One group is focusing on TV news and the other on radio news. They are fortunate to have a year 10 mentor, who took part in last year's School Report, to help with any difficult editing decisions. The whole year group has been feeding story ideas to the students. The TV news bulletin will include stories about fundraising for East Anglian Children's Hospice (EACH) and Haiti, the dangers facing young drivers, the sale of a Giacometti Sculpture, exam cheating and the number of students studying Physics A level. Editor of the TV group, Danielle, said: "I've really enjoyed researching and discussing story ideas. I feel really confident, as a result of this preparation, to ask people for key information needed for our news report." In the radio group, students are working on a story about communicating with brain damaged people and asking: What's the most fearsome animal - a pheasant? They are also examining the funding given to Diss and Roydon and asking which facilities would most benefit staff and students. Editor of the radio group, Declan, said: "I've really enjoyed learning about the 'real' working environment of a newsroom. It's been quite stressful having to meet deadlines already!"

School Reporters at Willowfield, School, London
An aggressive pheasant is on the news agenda at Willowfield
1234: Willowfield, School, London Everyone was at school for an 0830 start, as the library was transformed into a TV studio for the day. Teacher Lucy Evans says everyone is busy filming and editing on a range of stories from raising money for Haiti to the state of the school loos. Despite a few set backs - such as losing scripts - they are confident of having everything ready in time. The Running Order Editor, Charlotte, has already decided on her lead story and the "and finally" - an aggressive pheasant who is attacking villagers. She said that most of the others taking part had agreed with her decisions, although there were one or two who still needed persuading.

1231: Westfield Sports College, The City School and Birley Community College, Sheffield In their TV bulletin, pupils remember the death of two members of the community: a soldier who served with Prince Harry and a girl who was killed a year ago in a sledging accident. In their 1400 broadcast, Year 8 and 9 students will also report on school fundraising efforts for Haiti and exam cheating, including an interview with a teacher who marks exams. In their sports reports, they ask: Should John Terry still be captain and examine Tom Daley's preparation. The young diver trains at a pool in the area and several of the students have met him. Working at Sheffield East City Learning Centre, the students have already shot their pieces and are editing the footage.

1138: Brentside High School, Ealing, London Thirty students from Year 8 are making TV reports. Stories of interest include a giant salamander found in Japan, body scanners at Heathrow airport, US defence budget cuts and the sale of a Giacometti statue for £65m. Some of the pupils are working at the school and some at Acton City Learning Centre.

1136: Rainham School for Girls, Gillingham, Kent Almost a third of Year 7 - 110 students - are making radio and TV reports, writing articles and blogging. Four form groups are involved, each with a student editor in charge. The stories covered include the Haiti earthquake, a school initiative called Eco Champion and parents' fundraising. For their sports report, students are quizzing a Year 8 pupil who represented England at Judo, and trying to grab an interview with an older student who represented England at Ice Skating.

1119: Guildford County School, Guildford, Surrey Forty students from Year 8 are busy working to produce radio and online reports about a range of international, national and local news. They are interviewing people around the school about their stories which include the charity single for Haiti, the Cadburys takeover, causes of depression and the Portsmouth Football Club problems. Students are particularly focusing on developing their writing skills today.

School Reporters from  St Aidan's CE Technology College, Blackpool, Lancashire
Finding stories: Teams of three are working on news, sport and weather
1107: St Aidan's CE Technology College, Blackpool, Lancashire Students have been looking through the newspapers and news websites to decide on the stories they want to cover. They have been busy writing their scripts, deciding who they want to interview and what questions they want to ask. They have divided into teams of three and are now starting to film their stories. One of the main stories is about the effects and causes of the earthquake in Haiti, the release of the charity single and the presentation of the petition about debt. Other stories include cyber-bullying and internet safety week, Oscar nominations, national storytelling week, weird animals and the weather. The sports bulletin will include items about the Winter Olympics and school sports news.

1030: Licensed Victuallers' School, Ascot, Berkshire Twenty students from Year 9 are working to produce a TV news report and either a podcast or a written article. Students are currently roaming the school site filming reports about a number of topics.
School Reporters from Castlehead High School, Paisley, Renfrewshire
BBC tour for Castlehead High in Renfrewshire
They include fining parents who take their kids out of school for holidays, the recall of Toyota cars, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and one teacher's forthcoming attempt to cycle from John O'Groats to Land's End to raise money for charity.

Castlehead High School, Paisley, Renfrewshire Media Club pupils met with their School Report mentor David Currie for a whirl wind tour of the BBC studios The pupils really enjoyed the experience and got the opportunity to speak with a lot of different professionals. The students were fascinated when David chatted to Naveed from Still Game.


Abraham Moss High School, Crumpsall, Manchester

Alec Hunter Humanities College, Braintree, Essex

Alperton Community School, Wembley, Middlesex

Batley Girls' High School, Batley, West Yorkshire

Brentside High School, Ealing, London

Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School, Sidcup, Kent

Culcheth High School, Culcheth, Warrington

Diss High School, Norfolk

Guildford County School, Guildford, Surrey

Hatch End High School, Harrow, Middlesex

Hillhead High School, Glasgow

Horsforth School, Leeds

Kincorth Academy

Licensed Victuallers' School, Ascot, Berkshire

Lurgan Junior High Schoolm, Lurgan, Co Armagh

Margaret Beaufort Middle School, Bedford, Bedfordshire

North West Manchester City Learning Centre at Abraham Moss, Manchester

Rainham School for Girls, Gillingham, Kent

Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen

Robert Pattinson School, Lincoln, Lincolnshire

Sheffield East City Learning Centre, Sheffield

Soham Village College, Ely, Cambridgeshire

St Aidan's CE Technology College, Blackpool, Lancashire

The City School, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

The Grey Coat Hospital, Westminster, London

The Holy Family Catholic School, Keighley, West Yorkshire

The Vyne Community School, Basingstoke, Hampshire

Thorpe Hall School, Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Willowfield, School, London

Wren Academy, North Finchley, London


Colne Community School, Colchester, Essex (3 February)

The Kimberley School, Kimberley, Nottinghamshire

Ewing School, West Didsbury, Manchester

Mill Hill County High School, London

Prendergast Hilly Fields College, London

Mill Hill School, Ripley, Derbyshire

Ormiston Bushfield Academy, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Abbey Grange CE High School, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Banbury School, Banbury, Oxfordshire (2 February)

St Dunstan's Community School, Glastonbury, Somerset

Nab Wood School Bingley, West Yorkshire

Bonus Pastor Catholic College, Lewisham, London (10 February)

Catford High School, Catford, London (3 and 24 February)

Matthew Moss High School

Beaumont Hill Special School, Darlington, Durham

Rainford High Technology College, St Helens, Merseyside

Wilmslow High School, Wilmslow, Cheshire

Bellshill Academy, Bellshill, North Lanarkshire

In Pics: February's Practice Day
05 Feb 10 |  School Report


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific