Page last updated at 17:20 GMT, Thursday, 20 January 2011

January's Practice News Day as it happened

School Reporters all over the UK took part in the third practice News Day of this year's project. Find out how they got on as they turned their classrooms into newsrooms.


The Bonus Pastor Catholic College pupils discuss their editorial ideas
The morning's editorial meeting at Lewisham CLC
4 Feb: School Reporters from Bonus Pastor Catholic College in Lewisham put their ideas to the test in their practice News Day. Their morning editorial meeting at Lewisham City Learning Centre saw the team discuss stories such as the teenager building a "death ray" machine in his shed, Spanish striker Fernando Torres' £50m move from Liverpool to Chelsea and the voice actor in the new Gnomeo and Juliet movie who is scared of gnomes! Find out more.

20 January

1715: Right then, many, many thanks to everyone who has taken part in today's practice News Day. It's been fantastic to hear what everyone has been up to, and we hope you learned plenty of lessons to use later in the project.

Don't forget that the next Practice News Day is on 17 February, and then it's the big one: School Report News Day on 24 March. See you then!

West Ham and Tottenham's fight for the Olympic Stadium
homelessness in the UK
shark fishing
the dangers of texting while walking
1704: School Reporters at Hillcrest School have been reflecting on their day of news-making. Tiara and Barbara both say "it feels great" and have enjoyed being part of a team.

Some of the stories they've been working on include quitting smoking advice and about the dangers of texting while walking.

Safia and Noor were interviewed by fellow student Damilola about their experiences. They explained how they were more nervous last year when they did School Report "but this year we have got more experience and we have been getting more confident to do our best".

Apparently all the reporting team have been very busy. They said "last year was calm; this year is more hustle and bustle!"

1657: Teacher Scott McPhilemy from Thornliebank Primary School in East Renfrewshire said 20 pupils produced a news bulletin with their BBC mentor Mairead Ferguson, with the anchor, chief reporters and programme editor being elected to their posts by class.

Mr McPhilemy said the class loved putting together the bulletin, with editor Lucy-Ann keeping everyone on task. Gillian anchored the bulletin and only had one take to get it right! "She did great!" Mr McPhilemy told us.

The whole class researched potential stories in advance and went through today's newspapers, choosing to cover political, sports and news from their school.

1650: It's been another busy day at Alperton Community School!

Some of the Year 8s wrote a report on their latest school trip while others put their interviewing skills into practice for the first time putting questions to staff and students in the sixth form about their choices and about the impact of the new Pathways scheme the school is introducing. Have a read of their reports on the school's website.

1638: The Year 7 reporting team from Walworth Academy in London met for the first time this afternoon.
Walworth Academy student Ryan
Walworth Academy pupil Ryan presents his story on unemployment

They started talking about some story ideas before presenting their own headline report based on the stories from today's newspapers.

Ryan was the first to present to the rest of the team. He'd researched about the increase in young people being unemployed.

1625: Teacher Kath Farrell has been running the Practice News Day in Horbury School in west Yorkshire, and this is her take on how it all went with her group of School Reporters.

"It's been a really good day which was enjoyed by all," said Ms Farrell. "We didn't do much video this time and focused on audio and written pieces. The educational expert Sir John Jones came to the school last week so they've done a report on him and what the teachers thought of his techniques.

"Oliver from year 11, who took part in School Report last year and is a cyber mentor at the school, has built a website at the request of the newly formed James Bulger Trust and today the students did a radio interview with Oliver.

The main focus today was on the rules and basics of journalism, and we were checking out what other schools do to get ideas.

"Looking ahead, the school will be covering the "Race for James" which will be in March and the work of the James Bulger Trust which aims to help disadvantaged young people affected by bullying, or who are young carers and support for youngsters who try to help others and the community."

1618: It all came together for Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College as they spent the day at Widnes CLC researching, scripting, recording and editing their stories before broadcasting them at 2pm.

Eleven pupils from across Years 7, 8 and 9 worked on four stories with three students from last year's School Report acting as senior editors. The four stories covered were about the English Baccalaureate, the flooding in Australia, animal cruelty and a celebrity baby boom.

With more pets than ever before apparently abandoned over Christmas, students secured a phone interview with an RSPCA officer from Widnes and are looking to see if they could take the story further in March with a celebrity interview.

Leona Lewis or Simon Cowell have been suggested and the students are looking into how to go about this.

1607: Here's what's going on at Accrington Academy in Lancashire, from Mark Duxbury, the school's creative and media technician.

"We worked with the different teams to fine-tune their skills needed for the day, First thing in the morning we have a special visitor in school in the shape of Mr Bob Stott, the director of universal and prevention services in Lancashire Education.

The students give their presentation
Accrington Academy students give their presentation
"Two of our film makers filmed his walk around school and then our eco-classroom students "Roots" did a presentation to Mr Stott which they had previously given to architects in San Jose, California.

The presentation shows how our students designed the UK's first self-sustained classroom and how they are going about deciding which company builds it and what the actual building will be built of.

Session two was the presenters' session. Miss Davenport spoke to them about diction and how to write a script and deliver it in different styles.

In the third session the film makers went with Mr Duxbury and were shown how to edit the VT for the live shows using Final Cut Pro.

And finally in session four the technical crew and floor manager were shown how to set up the TV studio cameras, how to communicate in the gallery and the TV studio so that the mixing of cameras and VT looks smooth."

1600: School Reporters Charlie, Harvey and Laura at Catmose College in Rutland got in ahead of the crowd for their Practice News Day, recording a news bulletin on Wednesday which you can see on their Radiowaves website.

1547: Year 9 students are taking the editorial reins at Clyst Vale Community College in Exeter, Devon. A handful of the 13 and 14-year-olds are supporting the Year 7, 8 and 9 journalists by "checking everyone's work is acceptable to put on the website and to record," explained 13-year-old Elliott, one of the Year 9 editors.

He was pleased with his team's work, adding: "They are doing their job correctly and they've all been great."

In groups of twos and threes, the 22 students are tackling a range of stories including the school becoming an academy, the riots in Tunisia, the 2012 Olympics, student jobs, rising sea levels and the bad weather at the end of 2010.

Pupils have been quizzing staff and students around the school, to find out their thoughts about becoming an academy. Many pupils are concerned about the effect when it comes to taking options and some teachers cited greater freedom and finance as advantages.

The young journalists will be posting their video and written reports on their school website shortly.

1537: Bonus Pastor Catholic College have done no fewer than three live broadcasts today, working with Lewisham City Learning Centre.
Bonus Pastor Catholic College pupils Sephora and Courtney
Pupils Sephora and Courtney both loved their time doing a Practice Day

Year 8 was split into three teams, each doing breaking news, sport, entertainment and the weather. Courtney, 12, said she really enjoyed doing the weather as you get to choose what to say. Apparently the forecast tomorrow is for rain and cold temperatures!

Sephora, also 12, added: "It's amazing, I've never experienced anything like this before. It's a once in a life experience!".

She told us that the class have already started talking about the News Day in March and everyone's really excited about it!

1524: Everyone at Hamilton College is feeling "a bit frazzled", according to teacher Derek Hotchkiss after a busy day of reporting with the help of BBC mentor Sandy Murray!

The view of a frosty Hamilton Park racecourse from the school
The view of a frosty Hamilton Park racecourse which borders the school
"Phew! It's been a busy day," said Mr Hotchkiss. "It didn't get off to the best of starts when I was held up in traffic and was late for school! Fog and frost has returned and hasn't lifted all day."

Students there are looking at how to cover April's Royal Wedding and are also following up their interest in 12-year-old Ross who is competing in the International Student Games in the summer. They are hoping to speak to children in Burkina Faso, with Hamilton College involved with fundraising for education and health projects in the west African country.

1509: School Reporter Robert at Tendring Technology College in Essex is "buzzing" after today's Practice Day!

Working with fellow student Ralf on a story about Andy Murray's Australian Open win over Illya Marchenko.

Robert said it was a difficult but rewarding day and explained that "it was hard to save stuff on the memory stick and I had to learn how to use the Apple Mac and how to put news reports together".

Robert also mentioned that the story about Apple's recent problems with its mobile phones was now completed.

The students have also been working on very serious stories including one about the current problem of people owning dangerous animals.

1454: The School Reporters at Bolton School Boys' Division have been working on all kinds of stories, involving School Report veterans as mentors to the younger pupils.

"It was chaos at first because of network issues," said Daniel, 15, from Bolton School Boys Division. "We had people fixing software all around us but in the end it got fixed."

A Bolton pupil researches his story
Research is a vital part of the reporting process

Part of a team of seven pupil mentors assisting 23 School Reporters, Daniel explained his role. "I've done School Report for the last two years and I know how to publish stories of all sorts and I was showing them how to do it.. I like the rush to get it all finished in time and think through the consequences if something doesn't work."

School Reporters have been working on wide range of stories including the unemployment rate, the floods in Australia, the situation in Tunisia, proposals to change the NHS, the royal wedding, "coach potato kids" and an obituary of legendary footballer Nat Lofthouse.

Adam, 16, agreed the day had been worthwhile. "It is amazing to find out we can do things it had never crossed our minds that we could do before," he said.

"My top tip for others is to keep organised and keep to your deadlines, that's what it's all about."

1448: Northfield School and Sports College in Billingham are having a well-earned break after researching their news stories this morning. Topics include changing the curriculum, the demolition of a local landmark and the regeneration of a local area.

"Students found it's not as easy as they thought it would be," said teacher Lyndsay Johnson - but they all agreed it was good practice for the News Day itself.

1333: It's also a hive of activity over at Wildern School in Southampton. School Reporters there have been producing reports on a range of subjects including the use of iPads and other hand-held devices in education, how teenagers are stereotyped by shop assistants and Southampton FC player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and possible transfer deals with Premier League clubs.

Comments from the students involved include: "It's been a different experience and a really enjoyable one - we are really looking forward to the News Day in March! and "the day has been fun and interesting and it's been really useful to plan what we will do on the day itself."

1320: It's all go at Stockley Academy in Middlesex, where they started this morning with a group editorial meeting to finalise plans for the news stories they would report on.

Stockley Academy students get to work
Stockley Academy pupils work on their stories for Practice News Day
Students then split into different reporting teams , covering stories like people's experiences of the NHS, Wednesday's FA Cup replay between Leeds and Arsenal, the secrets of the success of the school's Year 9 football team and West Ham and Tottenham's fight for the Olympic Stadium.

Students are now busy writing, recording and editing their stories, trying to make the deadline!

1259: Latest news from Bramcote Park Business & Enterprise School where teacher Joanna Garvey is brimming with enthusiasm and her Year 9 class has worked very hard to produce positive results.

Their planning meeting produced ideas for stories on shark fishing. They have also contacted Nottingham Forest's press office with the aim of setting up an interview and are also chasing Derby County for interviewees! They have written their stories and are ready to go live with them today, including pictures.

To sum up the day, teacher Joanna said: "This practice day has been very successful, the children have worked so hard and produced some very good stuff!" They are currently having a debrief on today's planning meeting, discussing what they have learnt from the planning session.

1247: School Reporters at Hanham High School in Bristol got together for the first time today to talk about their story ideas.

They came up with two big ideas: one about safety for young people on the streets of Bristol and the other about one of the reporters' dad's who's the British champion kickboxer.

This afternoon they're going to have a go with the camera and get recording. BBC mentor Stuart Maisner said (with a mouthful of sandwich): "It was a really useful session where the students came up with some fantastic ideas, and I even got a plate of sandwiches for lunch!"

1238: Hamilton College in South Lanarkshire have got their BBC mentor on the premises today to help with their activities. BBC Scotland senior broadcast journalist Sandy Murray is working with S1 pupils on how to find, gather and write news. Have a look at the photos on the Hamilton College website.

1225: The hard work is continuing at Brentside High School in Ealing, with the reports starting to take shape.
Pupils at Brentside High School get ready to read their bulletin
Pupils at Brentside High School prepare to present their report

Asked what she liked about involving her students in School Report, English teacher Kate Richards said: "Because School Report gives the children a real audience for their writing it really encourages them to take ownership over it.

"They also take a lot of pride in their work and it encourages them to work well in groups. They feel a real sense of achievement when they watch back what they have worked hard on all day and it produces a tangible result for them."

1206: Students at The Vyne Community School in Basingstoke are planning to produce a radio bulletin today, putting their own spin on the day's news, and teacher Stacey Biggle has explained the stories they are looking at:

First up is a comparison of how much time children and adults spend outside because the results of a recent survey suggests that children don't play outside very often.

Secondly is canvassing student opinion on the student who was sent home because he looks 24!

A report on the issue rising homelessness in the UK, linked to the recession and the building of homes that are being sold for £135m.

And a look into the fortunes of Apple now that Steve Jobs is ill and they have encountered stock market losses - asking students how important Apple is to them

1140: Latest update from Hounsdown Secondary School teacher Lisa Roe. "At 9am, 12 of our Year 8 pupils gathered in the library to plan the timetable of filming for the morning. First visit was to the art block for an interview with several pupils on their opinions of graffiti and a special interview with Mr Chalke, one of our very talented art teachers.

School Reporters set up their camera shots
The School Reporters set up their cameras for their graffiti film
"Miss Shaw, our technician, also spent time showing the pupils some Banksy artwork which they use to inspire the pupils' during art lessons.

"Whilst some of the group were interviewing, a few of the team started filming the intro to our report, but had constant interruptions from the resident chickens. It seemed everyone wanted their say on this topic!

"At 1030 we headed off to speak to Mr Howard, who is a site manager at Hounsdown, who showed us how our school was tackling graffiti. Calum and Harry told us that they were surprised at the amount of work needed to remove graffiti.

"A couple of the pupils then headed up to a local underpass to see whether they could find any graffiti. However, they were pleasantly surprised to see that not only is graffiti very limited in our area but it was not offensive. We agreed that maybe graffiti is not such an issue after all... discussions are however continuing.

Hounsdown School pupils look at some Banksy artwork
Hounsdown School pupils look at some Banksy artwork

"At 1110 - Emily, Ellie and Laura interviewed a Year 11 pupil and were pleasantly surprised by his Banksy-inspired art.

"And at 1130 two of our team interviewed our headteacher on her and the school's views on graffiti. They were both very nervous but excited about the prospect!"

1124: Teacher Candice Lott has been updating us on what Ormiston Bushfield Academy in Peterborough are planning for today.

The school has 19 students from Year 9 taking part and they have divided themselves into groups, each focusing on different stories:

Reporters in group one will seek out their own angle on today's story from BBC News about parents with disabled children and the support they get. They've gone out to interview parents with disabled children to find out how hard it is to look after them under budget constraints.

The second story concerned the new build of the school which will affect the local cycle path, so they are interviewing people who might suffer as a result.

And the third story is about obesity and eating disorders. Students are talking to parents of a child who did have an eating disorder, and there is even talk of an interview with 'How To Look Good Naked' presenter Gok Wan! Watch this space...

1115: The latest from Clyst Vale Community College in Exeter is that things are going well, research is progressing and pupils are really enjoying the day! School Reporter Blythe says "progress is steady!"

1110: It's busy, busy, busy at Alperton Community School in west London. Their School Reporters have no time to chat just yet as they are off to the upper school site to find their news!

They are planning to interview staff and students in the sixth form to find out more about the new changes to education, specifically A-Levels vs BTEC and University Applications.

1056: Tendring Technology College in Essex started their School Report practice day at 9am sharp. 22 students from Years 7, 8, 9 are taking part. The day started with a briefing session so the students could discuss what stories they would be working on.

School Reports at Tendring College research their stories
School Reports at Tendring College research their stories
The students are working on a mixture of world and local stories. World stories include reporting on world disasters and their causes, for example looking at the recent earthquake in Haiti.

Students will also be looking at Apple's recent signal loss problems with its mobile phones and the increasing problem of computer game addiction.

The local stories will include the recent school trip to the Kumasi Airport School in Ghana which has a partnership with Tendring.

1047: Should fluoride be introduced into drinking water? It's a hot topic in Southampton at the moment so School Reporters from Hounsdown Secondary School decided to find out what fluoridation is and how it will affect the local community if introduced. They interviewed local MP Dr Julian Lewis and dental consultant, Jeyanthi John for their news report.

1035: The Bramcote Park Business & Enterprise School in Nottinghamshire are preparing for their planning meeting and their first year doing School Report - 22 students are brimming with enthusiasm and are ready to go!

The Year 9 group are looking through newspapers and discussing story ideas. Student Jay said: "It is really exciting, so far we have talked about the floods in Australia and issues in the school." Teacher Joanna Garvey is leading the planning meeting and said: "We are hoping to speak to students and staff about the issues that concern them and what they want to hear about on the news."

She went on to say: "We are all very excited about the project and can't wait to get started."

1026: More than 60 pupils from Year 8 at Ealing's Brentside High School are working in small groups covering various news stories for Practice News Day.

Among the stories they are reporting on are the Australia floods, university tuition fees, interviews with sixth formers at their school discovering their feelings about going to university, the battle between West Ham and Tottenham to be given the Olympic stadium and mysterious birds falling from the sky!

1009: When it comes to running a student radio station, Isca College of Media Arts in Devon are really setting the standards. For the second year running, Isca beat off all competition to win a prestigious Sony Award. Why not have a read of their report.

1005: School Reporters from Greycourt School in Richmond have started working as a reporting team and their first assignment is to produce some written reports about the recent flooding in Australia and Brazil.

0950: On 17 January, Year 7 students at Southfields Community College in London spent the day with the Chelsea Girls' Football Academy to witness their training programme.

Members of Chelsea's girls' teams
Members of the Chelsea girls' team spoke to Southfields pupils

School Reporters Faisal and Safio spoke to the team and others interviewed the football coaches while young journalists Cheyanne, Owen, Rena, Jasmine, Jessica, Justin, Mohammed and Asia took responsibility for the filming and introductions. The video package was pieced together at Wandsworth City Learning Centre and you can watch their video report on the school's website.

0935: School Reporters Calum, Kyle and Scott from Shawlands Academy in Glasgow have been busy, talking to local band Manran, who sing in Gaelic, after watching them perform at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. The band are hoping to become the first Gaelic language band of the 21st century to reach the top 40. You can read Calum, Kyle and Scott's interview on the Shawlands Academy website.

0910: With Christmas well and truly out of the way, School Report is back in full swing. A brainstorming session at Hendon School in north London on Tuesday, produced some top ideas with the pupils interested in pursuing a story about the controversy over the local Copthall Stadium, which rugby club Saracens and football side Barnet both want to move to. The School Reporters are also looking into topics like university tuition fees and air traffic control!

0900: Good morning everyone and welcome to the third of the four practice News Days. We've got School Reporters all over the UK itching to get on with their stories for the day, and this is the place to keep up to date with what they are getting up to.


Accrington Academy, Lancashire

All Saints Catholic High School, Sheffield

Alperton Community School, London

Bolton School Boys' Division, Bolton

Brentside High School, Ealing

Clyst Vale Community College, Exeter

Hamilton College, South Lanarkshire

Hanham High School, Bristol

Hillcrest School, Birmingham

Horbury School, Wakefield

Hounsdown Secondary School, Southampton

Northfield School and Sports College, Billingham

Oasis Academy Oldham, Chadderton

Ormiston Bushfield Academy, Peterborough

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College, Widnes

Southfields Community College, London

St Chad's Catholic and Church of England High School, Runcorn

Stockley Academy , Hillingdon

Tendring Technology College, Thorpe-Le Soken

The Bramcote Park Business & Enterprise School, Nottingham

Thornliebank Primary School, East Renfrewshire

The Vyne Community School, Basingstoke

Wildern School, Southampton

November's Practice News Day as it happened
18 Nov 10 |  School Report
December's practice News Day as it happened
09 Dec 10 |  School Report


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