BBC News Interactive School ReportBBC News Interactive School Report
Last Updated: Monday, 22 October 2007, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Teachers train peers to make the news
Steve Townsend from Haggerston School, Hackney
Steve Townsend is mentoring another school in Hackney
If you want to learn about journalism, ask a teacher.

That was the key message emerging from a gathering of teachers taking part in the School Report project at BBC Television Centre in London on Friday 12 October.

Staff who supported several schools during the pilot year of the BBC initiative are, this year, cascading their knowledge to other schools.

Last year, Hackney City Learning Centre (CLC) assisted three local schools and is this year helping two more.

One of the new recruits is being supported by Steve Townsend, a teacher from Haggerston School who worked closely with Hackney CLC manager Vivi Lachs.

He said: "This year, I'm going to be another Vivi. I'm doing School Report with my school and mentoring people at another. It's great that professional development is being filtered down through the project."

Hackney CLC is not the only "delivery partner" to support a growing number of schools through this method of peer-to-peer guidance, which adds to the support provided by BBC journalists.

Last year, staff at Central Manchester CLC and Ealing CLC trained information technology technicians at their partner schools.

Innovations Manager for 11 to 19-year-olds at Central Manchester CLC, Sanjaya Siriwardena, added: "We also used a simple piece of editing software on laptops so the students could work on their report back at school, with the help of the school technicians."

Engaging teachers in a range of subject areas also helped share learning in Manchester.

Mr Siriwardena said: "In one school, the drama department got involved, giving the students voice coaching to help them with their news reading."

Teacher Vesna Klein from Brentside High School
Vesna Klein has modified School Report for Brentside High

Teacher Vesna Klein, who worked with Ealing CLC, is adapting the lesson plans on the School Report website into schemes of work for years seven, eight and nine, enabling them to be delivered to 750 students at Brentside High School.

She also plans to make the scheme available to all 13 secondary schools in the London borough.

Ealing CLC manager Alim Shaikh described the delivery method he used with Brentside High School as a "kick start".

It involved a day's workshop at the CLC in which a class of students undertook a condensed version of the six School Report lesson plans and were given the opportunity to create their own TV report.

Using this express method with a number of classes enabled the CLC to engage with seven schools.

School Report editor Helen Shreeve said: "This project is all about sharing learning for free, and that's one of the criteria we ask schools and delivery partners to agree to. It's fantastic to see the skills, knowledge and understanding of journalism being passed on in this way."


Below is an outline of the way in which four CLC's and their partner schools delivered the School Report project:

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  • Supported four schools
  • Focused on TV news
  • Used simple software on laptops
  • Teachers and CLC staff ran lessons, at school and in CLC
  • Trained IT technicians in the schools
  • Students took part in practice "news days"
  • Students created TV news items in advance of the news day
  • Each school had their own room at the CLC on the news day
  • On the news day, students worked on breaking news items, slotting their ready-made items into a bulletin which was published online
  • Radio bulletins were made by stripping the video from the TV bulletins
  • Online reports were based on the scripts for the TV bulletin
  • Supported seven schools
  • Focused on TV news
  • Used simple software
  • In some schools, teachers held journalism lessons
  • For other schools, students attended a "kick start" workshop at the CLC once a month
  • Trained IT technicians in the schools
  • Supported three schools
  • Focused on TV news
  • Created a TV studio at the CLC
  • During fortnightly practice news days, a class of students made a TV bulletin
  • Students were split into teams: script-writing (news sport, weather) and technical (studio and gallery)
  • Meanwhile, the CLC manager worked with groups of students, in school, to make TV news items using a digital video camera
  • During practice news days, students edited this footage
  • On the news day, some students from all three schools produced a TV news bulletin about that day's news
  • The practice news day bulletins and items made in school were also published on the CLC website
  • Supported three schools
  • Focused on TV news
  • School Report lessons were delivered in school in English, science and history
  • During practice news days, students spent two days at the CLC making TV news items
  • On the news day, students created a TV news bulletin incorporating news of the day and shortened versions of the ready-made news items
  • The bulletins and the ready-made features were published on the CLC website
  • Students' online news stories, to go with the TV news reports, were also published
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Please let us know how you are sharing learning and delivering the project in your school using the form below.

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