Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Youth crime makes the headlines

Youth crime, the credit crunch and sport were the themes that Year 8 pupils at Maidenhill School in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, chose to focus on when they received a visit from the BBC School Report team during their practice News Day.

School Reporters at Maidenhill School, in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire
After filming, the students edited their raw footage

The day began with a look at the newspapers and a discussion of the stories that had caught their eye and why.

Many were concerned by what was happening to the people in Haiti following the devastating earthquake.

The recent snowy weather, which had forced the closure of their school a few days earlier, was also a popular subject matter.

Other stories students picked included the controversial book about the Madeleine McCann case, the policemen ticked off for tobogganing while on duty and the attack on the Togo football team in Angola.

The 21 pupils then split into groups of three and began to think about what stories or issues interested them, and what would make a good subject matter for their reports.

Two of the groups were keen to look into youth crime, with one of the groups expanding their report to investigate whether there is a link between youth crime and the credit crunch.

The third group chose to consider whether doing virtual sports, using games such as Wii Fit, is better, equal to or worse than doing real sports.

'Really exciting'

With the help of four Year 11 Gifted and Talented Media Studies students, the groups set about drawing up their storyboards, thinking about who they wanted to interview and how they planned to film it.

The head teacher, PE teacher, a teacher who works for the school's reintegration centre and another teacher, who was formerly a policeman, were all interviewed for their views, as well as other pupils.

Thanks to the creative input from two of the Year 11 students, the group investigating youth crime chose to begin their report with a reconstruction of a playground bullying incident.

After lunch, the students moved into the editing suite to begin turning their interviews, vox-pops and location shots into a seamless news report.

"We learnt how to use a camera, and also videoed ourselves doing a documentary," said Kiera, 13, who worked on the report on youth crime and the credit crunch. "It was really exciting getting it onto camera and knowing it might go on the website."

Their teacher, Danielle Davidson, said: "I was really proud of the way the students dealt with the challenges of the day themselves without relying too much on adult input."

She said the practice News Day had given pupils a good idea of what to expect on March 11. "It has given both myself and the students a better grasp of the equipment we need to use and showed the students the importance of working to a deadline," she explained.

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