Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Friday, 14 October 2011 16:53 UK

These resources are designed to help BBC mentors get the most out of working on the School Report project

A mentor shows students how to use a camera

Working with young people is lots of fun and many BBC mentors tell us how much they enjoy the experience.

Child protection issues are an important part of the project, but don't worry - most of the advice is pure common sense and won't come as any kind of shock to you.

Help prepare for School Report News Day
Support the lead teacher
Help to identify stories
Give an insight into the BBC

Essentially, children and young people should be treated with care, respect and dignity. Those working for the BBC will be perceived by children as trusted representatives of the BBC and should live up to that lofty status!

We want every child who takes part to feel empowered and to enjoy their School Report experience.

There are some basic ground rules we ask BBC mentors to follow when working with children. These are to protect both you and the young people.

Don't forget that you need to complete the BBC's Working with Children module, available on the Gateway intranet site, before working with your school.

You should also make sure you are familiar with the BBC's Child Protection Policy, before working with your school.

We don't require mentors to be checked by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) any more, but we do ask that everyone completes a personal disclosure form. This will be emailed to you when you sign up.


School Reporters should never give their last name in any of their stories.

This is to avoid jigsaw identification and protect them. Remind the teacher of this and watch out for kids signing off video or audio reports with their full name.


We tell every teacher taking part in the project that BBC mentors should not be left alone with children. It might be worth reminding the teacher of this when you start working with them.

It's for your safety and that of the pupils.


BBC mentors shouldn't give out their personal contact details to pupils.

If any child asks you for an e-mail address or phone number, explain you can't give out that information but that their teacher can contact you with any questions or queries.

And remember, don't take any child's personal details, even if they are offered to you.


Avoid any physical contact with children and young people except for reasons of health and safety.

So obviously do stop a child from running out into a busy road, but be aware of how an encouraging hug on a job well done could be misinterpreted.

You need to complete the BBC's Working with Children module, available on the Gateway intranet site, before working with your school

BBC mentors are there to provide support to the teacher and offer help and practical advice based on their experience but it's not your job to control the class.

Let the teachers deal with discipline and don't be afraid to ask the teacher for help or say that you can't continue if pupils aren't behaving.

If a child does misbehave, remain calm and polite. The teacher is responsible for discipline so do not get involved.


The School Report team collect consent forms from all schools taking part in the project.

It's always worth asking the teacher to confirm they have sent back all their forms, so you are sure they have permission to publish their content online.

Always ensure that appropriate consent forms are signed and that you adhere to the conditions of that consent form. This is done centrally but it's worth checking.


Be fair in your dealings with young people; don't make promises or even appear to make promises you can't or won't keep.

Remember the young person has a right to change their mind about contributing at any time.

So if a child decides, even if it's two minutes before the broadcast, they don't want to do something, don't force them.


If a young person confides in you about abuse or other problems, remember we are not trained to counsel and should not attempt it.

In the unlikely event you have to deal with a situation like this, make a note of your conversation as soon as possible afterwards so you are clear about what was said.

Alert the teacher or headteacher to what has been said.

You should tell a member of the project team if you have any concerns about a child or something they have told you. Deputy editor Ros Smith, editor Helen Shreeve or executive editor Melanie Essex, who is BBC News' lead for child protection issues, will all be able to advise.

Quiz: Working with Children

Working with children is lots of fun and many mentors tell us how much they enjoy the experience. See how much you know about working with children by taking our short quiz.

A mentor working with children

1.) E-mail Etiquette

A School Reporter asks you for your e-mail address so she can update you on the story she's working on. Should you give them the address?

A woman using a laptop
  1. Yes
  2. No

2.) Social Networking

A student you've been working with tries to add you as a friend on Facebook. What do you do?

  1. Add them
  2. Add them but limit their access to your profile
  3. Decline the request

3.) Working after class

A child wants to finish editing their item at lunchtime. You need to be there to help them. What should you do?

Two children using a computer
  1. Say no, you can't work with them outside of class
  2. Stay with them alone in the classroom at lunch
  3. Ask the teacher if they or another staff member are available at lunchtime

4.) Working outside school

You arrive at a school and the teacher asks if you can take a group of students outside the school to conduct interviews. What do you do?

School Reporters presenting in front of the camera
  1. Say yes and head out to report
  2. Say no because it's too complicated
  3. Plan the interviews with the teacher in advance

5.) Staying safe

What's wrong with this photo caption? "Sarah Corbett and Adam Fisher and Martha Grantly from Burlington Danes School, Wood Lane, London W12, perform their production of 'Let's Blast Tonight'."

  1. It's too long
  2. It contains too much information
  3. It's not exciting enough

Safeguarding children

A young person is very upset and confides in you that someone has been behaving towards them in what sounds like a highly inappropriate way.

A woman in profile

6.) Safeguarding children

What should you do?

  1. Tell nobody so you don't break their trust
  2. Tell their teacher
  3. Report it to the child protection officer - as long as its not the person the child mentioned - and the School Report team


  1. No, you shouldn't give your contact details to any School Reporter. Explain that you're not allowed to give out your personal details but explain any questions they have can be sent to you via their teacher.
  2. You should decline the request. Mentors should not communicate directly with students in any way - this includes over social networking sites. If you are at all concerned about a child who tries to contact you, please inform the teacher and the School Report team.
  3. Ask the teacher if they or another staff member are available at lunchtime or can work in a supervised public area. You should never be left alone with a child. If there are no staff members available and you will not be able to work with the child again, direct them to our School Report resources, which contain advice on making video and TV packages.
  4. Talk to the teacher to make a plan for the interviews. This needs to be planned in advance, as a teacher has to be with you, and logistics must have been worked out by the school. The schools are asked to undertake their own risk assessments.
  5. It contains too much information. School Reporters must never reveal their last names in any of their reports. They also don't need to give the full address of their school. First names, the name of their school and the general location are fine.
  6. Report it to a child protection officer and the School Report team. Every school has a child protection officer and they should be told if you have any concerns for a young person you work with. You should also let the School Report team know, so we are aware of the situation.

Your Score

0 - 1 : Have another try

2 - 3 : Good work

4 - 5 : Well done!

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