Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 18:01 UK

Teachers' feedback

Assistant Head teacher, Lisa Forster, at Alec Hunter Humanities College in Essex
It was a truly inspiring and fantastic day; one of those days when I think to myself: This is why I am a teacher.
Lisa Forster, Assistant Head, Alec Hunter Humanities College

Teachers who took part in School Report 2008/9 are sharing their experience with teachers interested in taking part in the project this academic year.

Feedback and advice from several teachers is gathered on this page as a way of sharing advice and good practice.

More information for teachers who are new to the project and answers to frequently asked questions are also available.

'Insight into the workplace'

Andy Lawrence from Hampton School in Middlesex referred to School Report as an "absolutely first class educational programme", adding: "My School Report team loved every minute of the process and gained a lot from it - the activities gave them a real insight into the pressures and workings of a busy newsroom."

Spend time looking over the website as a group and make use of the tips and videos.
Get to grips with the technology in plenty of time.
Make the project as cross-curricular as possible.

Have some pieces prepared before the News Day: the day will be less daunting and potential problems will be highlighted.
Ask pupils to keep an eye on the news leading up to the day itself.
On the News Day, make sure pupils know what they can do if they find themselves at a loose end.
Be flexible - some things will take much longer than anticipated, other items may be done quicker than you had thought.
You may want to drop some stories. Make sure pupils are aware of this and have prioritised their items to ensure everyone plays a part.
Ann MacDonald, Gaelic teacher, Glasgow Gaelic Secondary School

'Boost to language skills'

Deputy head teacher of Glasgow Gaelic Secondary School, Rachel McPherson, was delighted her students were featured on BBC Alba evening news. She said: "The project worked wonderfully well for pupils: working together, helping other groups, using initiative, being creative - it ticked every box. It also was great for language skills and confidence building and I think the class will take a couple of the topics we covered and expand on them for another film project next term."

'This is why I'm a teacher'

"It was a truly inspiring and fantastic day; one of those days when I think to myself 'This is why I am a teacher,' said Assistant Head teacher, Lisa Forster, at Alec Hunter Humanities College in Essex. She added: "It was a brilliant day of team building and developing great relationships with students, as well as them learning new skills. You need to be energetic, enthusiastic and have a lot of patience - but then as a teacher you need those things anyway! Our web page was created with blood, sweat and tears and a lot of love!"

Teacher Hilary Over with students at The Thomas Hardye School in Dorse
Use School Report for GCSE coursework
Bring technical staff on board
Let students leave their desks and the classroom
Hilary Over, Thomas Hardye School

'Improved attendance'

A few weeks after News Day, a group of 40 parents visited a Year 9 class at The Thomas Hardye School in Dorset. Teacher Hilary Over asked her students to explain what they had been doing. "School Report was the first to figure", she said. "They were animated and excited in explaining all the things they did, some of which I hadn't realised: Otherwise very quiet girls suddenly becoming interviewers; awkward boys taking over cameras and organising their group to success; girls with cameras telling boys how to do it; two students in wheelchairs organising a trip to a farm; the improvement in attendance and self esteem of a youngster who found school particularly difficult."

'No more boring course work'

Ms Over added: "We are using the film made by students for School Report for Media Studies GCSE pre-production and production coursework, which we start in Year 9 and finish in Year 10. Whenever I have done 'boring' things before, I am always faced with a couple of students who have no Media coursework to speak of. This year all will go into Year 10 with coursework."

'Freedom to learn'

Ms Over said: "I learnt a lot about allowing students to leave their desks and the classroom and coming back with something worthwhile which I had not formally taught them - giving them time and space to work it out."

School Reporters at Brentside High School in London
Make the lessons a compulsory unit for English or Media
Get as many teachers on board as possible
Involve the ICT department from the start
Book ICT suites in advance
Set practice News Day dates in advance
Build up the profile of the project in the school, explaining how students benefit from it
Go 'low-tech': Record on mobile phones and edit using a single computer
Get in touch with your local CLC
Vesna Klein, Literacy co-ordinator, Brentside High School

'Lessons lead to interest in news'

"Having Huw Edwards introducing the lessons is quite impressive", said Literacy co-ordinator and English teacher, Vesna Klein, at Brentside High School in London. She added: "The students, who would otherwise not engage with news or newspapers, found confidence after completing the lessons and they became interested in the news.

"The lessons are a good preparation for the practice News Days and the News Day itself. Establishing the dates for the practice News Days in advance, gives students a concrete aim and a deadline to achieve. This is usually a great motivator and students of all abilities work with enthusiasm towards it."

'Cross-curricular unit'

Miss Klein added: "The lessons form an excellent basis for a Key Stage 3 Media and English unit, with a lot of scope for cross-curricular activities, such as ICT, Humanities, Science and Art. For example, a scientific discovery can make excellent news."

'Literacy boosted across abilities'

Ms Klein said: "The lessons are engaging and can be tailor-made to suit the specific needs of individual students. I found that students with literacy needs, as well as the gifted and talented ones, benefit greatly from the project. Some students told me they feel much more confident about themselves now, with the acquisition of new skills and new vocabulary. I was really pleased because some of the students who participated usually don't speak very much and find it hard to express their opinions. But thanks to the project, they were able to overcome this. The gifted and talented had the opportunity to shine and to expand their skills in a variety of creative ways, using different media."

Student feedback

Anita from Year 8 at Brentside High wrote to Ms Klein to say "Thank you very much, I really enjoyed the News Day." She added: "The videoing was fun and we all had a laugh. We were involved in interesting discussions where we could express our views on different topics, and it was interesting to talk to others from different countries. The whole process was REALLY exiting! I really enjoyed going live!"

'Raising self esteem'

Chris Andrews, Playing for Success Lead Teacher for BBC News School Report at the Bath Rugby Education Centre
Sign up early
Take part in as many practice News Days as possible
Contact your local BBC
Chris Andrews, Bath Rugby Education Centre

"The students really loved it and there is no better way to raise self-esteem and confidence than through compiling news reports which interest them and then presenting them to camera for a potential worldwide audience," said Chris Andrews who ran School Report at Bath Rugby Education Centre as part of the Playing for Success scheme.

He added: "It was the first year that we took part. We signed up early on and produced packages for three practice days in November, December and January. This enabled us to include as many students as possible; more than if we had just run on News Day. It also allowed us to make some mistakes, and learn and reflect on what worked well for next time.

'One of the team'

"As March 26 approached, we contacted our local BBC newsroom which led to two students presenting live from BBC Points West on the News Day. At this point, we were also provided with a mentor from BBC Radio Bristol which led to live radio broadcasts from the centre and on-site guidance.

"The BBC provides so much support and assistance to teachers and students during the project that you genuinely feel one of the team. I would thoroughly recommend all teachers to sign up to this project. It is exciting and stimulating and above all it is fun; and as it's fun, learning and real outcomes are achieved."

Read more feedback from teachers who took part in School Report 2007/8 and 2006/7.

Teachers' feedback 2006-2008
21 May 09 |  School Report
Help for teachers new to School Report
25 Nov 10 |  School Report

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