BBC News Interactive School ReportBBC News Interactive School Report
Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2008, 13:06 GMT
February's practice News Day
Map of School Report schools in the UK

School Reporters across the UK took part in a practice News Day on Thursday 7 February, in preparation for School Report News Day in less than five weeks time.

This page provides a running account of news-making activities in schools across the UK.


Ryan Giggs, Max Beesley, Chris Bisson, Richard O'Brien and Samia Smith are lending their support to Manchester charity, the Five Star Scanner Appeal, which aims to raise 1m for a replacement MRI scanner for the new Manchester Children's Hospital.

And School Reporters from South Chadderton School in Lancashire are are lending their support too.

During a practice News Day at Oldham City Learning Centre on Thursday 21 February, students planned their coverage of a charity singing competition, judged by celebrities, at their school. Singer and actor Richard Fleeshman was one of the judges last year.

Lauren, 12, prepared interview questions for contestant Rosie, 12, and drama teacher Louise Endersby. She said: "I thought it would make a good news story because it's to do with children in school doing what they like doing - singing, raising money for charity, and it involves celebrities. There is something of interest for everyone and it should get lots of attention."

Other students from her Year 8 class also researched international and national stories using newspapers and the internet.

Kara, 12 said: "To be a good researcher, you've got to have determination. If you're half-way through researching a story and you spot another one that your audience will like, you've got to make a quick decision what to do. If possible, I'd finish researching one story and slot the other story in as well."


Eight School Reporters at New Bridge School created a radio bulletin during a practice News Day on Monday 18 February at Oldham City Learning Centre.

The Year 9 students, with special educational needs, formed three teams, reporting on world, national and local news.

Ben, 14, researched a news item about a proposal to install metal detectors in schools as a preventative measure against knife crime.

He said: "It's a good idea to watch and listen and read the news because some things are really important."

Annalise, 13, was interested to read that a local person had been fined over 500 for dropping cigarette ends.

She said: "A lot of people don't know you can get fined so it's important to warn people."

She added: "I also want to get the message across to people that it's not good to leave dog muck and other litter on the floor."

Teacher Richard Bright said: "The students were asked to consider the last piece of information they heard which was so exciting they were bursting to tell someone else. It helped them realise that reporting involves looking for your own news not just absorbing news from bulletins, newspapers and websites."


Working with Brentford City Learning Centre (CLC) on February's practice News Day, School Reporters from Lampton School, Feltham Community College and Hounslow Manor School, in Middlesex found, gathered and prioritised the day's headlines before creating scripts ready for the newsreaders to present on television and radio.

Both 10-minute programmes were made in time for the 1400 GMT deadline.

The TV bulletin included special reports about technology in schools, and about how their teachers had visited Rwanda to find out more about education in the country. One teacher commented that there were about 60 students in each lesson.

Students compiled special reports on donating to charity and the expansion of Heathrow airport to include a sixth runway.

The radio bulletin included items on:

  • The exam results of children under 14 to be made available on a database so employers, schools and colleges can verify their claims
  • Schools at risk
  • An apology from the Australian prime minister to Aborigines
  • A traffic report
  • A weather report
  • Entertainment news
  • Sports news including an update on Manchester City's contract with goal-scorer Hammond
  • The end of a script writer strike


School Reporters and staff at Heathfield School in Pinner Middlesex are proud of the progress they have made during the practice News Day and are feeling more confident about taking part on 13 March.

English teacher Nanci Lister said: "The students are becoming much slicker and professional. There is a buoyant atmosphere in the news room and it's a very bonding experience. The practice News Day has brought out the students' strengths."

Students reflected whether it was acceptable for leaders to cry in public - in the wake of Hilary Clinton's reaction - ecological issues, and the dangers of living in a high rise building - following the remarkable escape of a baby who survived after being thrown from a third floor window of a burning building in Germany.

Reporters found an interesting angle on Pancake Day, investigating the benefits of traditions and the effect on the psychological health of the community when such traditions are hindered by regulations.


School Reporters from Shawlands Academy, Glasgow
Organic and free-range chicken was on the news menu at Shawlands
During their February practice News Day, School Reporters at Shawlands Academy, Glasgow covered:

  • The environmental impact of a forest adventure park in their local area
  • Issues of racism in schools and ways of tackling it
  • Their own experiences of taking part in BBC News School Report
  • Debates into mobile phones and teenage drinking
  • The effects of climate change in the US
  • Food issues including organic and free-range chicken
  • Scotland's performance in the Six Nations rugby tournament.


"We had a superb day", said Karine Waldron from Villiers High School in Southall, Middlesex, about the practice News Day.

She added: "All reports and field reports were fantastic. The students were great, and almost every one of them was working to schedule."


Blairgowrie High School Reporters from Perthshire covered stories about designing cars of the future, an interview with a BBC reporter, and writing creatively in foreign languages.


Greenwood Dale School's website is now live.

Read and listen to the news from Nottingham School Reporters which attempt to answer these questions:

  • Is Greenwood Dale getting like St Trinian's?
  • Is obesity caused by your genes, as well as how much you eat and exercise?
Pupils also report on:
  • Milk provision for the Chinese
  • Food intolerances
  • Obesity
  • Weather
  • The new Nottingham eye
  • England's football friendly against Switzerland

St Bernard's Catholic Grammar School website is now live. Watch the film School Reporters from Slough in Berkshirehave made.

It includes a report on the performance poet Adisa, what inspired him to write poetry and how he is inspiring others in the school.


Students from Wirral Grammar School for Boys, Cheshire
Adam, 13, and Mathew, 13, research the latest news
The website of Wirral Grammar School for Boys in Cheshire is live. Their reports include:

  • An interview with the secretary of Chester FC about the influx of foreign players to the English clubs
  • World news


Towneley Park City Learning Centre's website is now live. You can read their latest reports from students in Lancashire which include:

  • Turf Moors development
  • The decrease of crime in Burnley
  • A royal visit
  • An active wake-up call for Year 7's
  • School dinners
  • Sport
  • Weather

Newall Green High School in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester have published some of today's reports on their school website, including a piece about the Spice Girls latest plans.


School Reporters at the Simon Balle School in Hertford found that although technical problems slowed progress, some valuable lessons were learned along the way.

Catherine aged 12, interviewed her head teacher about McDonald's diplomas.

She was drawn to the news story because it was "refreshing and not a place where you'd expect to earn a diploma".

Having written scripts and found locations around the school to film the interview, Catherine was unable to download her recorded material to the computer. "It has given us experience and I will know what to do if it goes wrong on the day", she said.

Juliette, aged 12, had to contend with "people walking across camera". Also "the cameras weren't very good", she said.

On the News Day, Juliette expects they will be "more prepared, as today was the first time I'd used a camera", she said.

Charlotte, also 12, echoed the sentiment of her colleagues. "You have to be prepared", she said, adding: "We had a back-up story about endangered dogs in case anything went wrong".


Students from Mayfield School, Dagenham, Essex
Presenters and the production crew get ready to film their news bulletin
"It's gotta be right!" cries Zainab, 14 from Mayfield School in Dagenham, Essex.

The 14-year-old has been developing vision-mixing skills along with her colleague Shahina, also 14, in preparation for School Report News Day.

With two presenters, two vision-mixers, two camera operators and several different angles to chose from "it's lots of hard work" she said.

Having never been in a TV studio before, Shahina came face to face with editing and recording equipment for the first time today, and learnt that "it's about a lot of processes coming together".

In addition to a BBC mentor, the school is seeking additional professional help for the Year 9 TV presenters Vilija and Abdul, who are keen to sharpen their skills in time for the News Day.


Students from Hope High School, The Swinton High School and Salford City Academy at BBC's TV Centre
Doctor Who's Tardis was one of the attractions on the BBC tour
Twelve students from three schools - Hope High School, The Swinton High School and Salford City Academy - created radio, TV and online reports.

Their news topics include a tornado in the US, England's first game under a new manager, 10-year-old boys being trained by Al Qaeda and super casinos.

Darcy, from Salford City Academy said: "It was brill, a really good experience, just like doing the real thing."

Several mentors from Moorside City Learning Centre and BBC radio and television helped the students.

Kat Shore, from the CLC, said: "The day was a valuable experience for all concerned. The support from the mentors was outstanding and made for a very fluid process."


Towneley City Learning Centre had a busy practice News Day.

50 students from three different schools, Unity College, Sir John Thursby Community College and Marsden Heights, put together an interesting running order for a TV bulletin.

Among other subjects, they covered the new stands at Burnley football ground, Prince Edward's forthcoming visit to Burnley, crime and school facilities.

Three students set up a camera in Burnley and asked members of the public about England's football match, gathering opinions on Beckham's absence from the game and the new England manager.

"Each time is a learning cycle. Every set of children and every school is different. There was a lot of competition between the schools - rivalry is good. The urgency of bringing everything together to a deadline is an art which I think is good to learn," said CLC manager Paul Matty.


School Reporters working with City Learning Centres in Halton, Cheshire have published a progress report.

The schools involved are Fairfield High School in Widnes, Halton High School, St Chad's Catholic High School, The Grange Comprehensive School, The Heath Specialist Technology College and Wade Deacon High School, all from Runcorn.


Burns Supper festivities were the subject of the practice News Day at Doon Academy in Ayrshire.


School Reporters at Banovallum School in Horncastle, Lincolnshire bumped into several celebrities on Wednesday when they visited the BBC Television Centre in London to see what happens in a major newsroom.

The piece is entitled "What goes on at TVC?"


Student reporters at Chigwell School in Essex are just gearing up for an afternoon news shift as they prepare a full video broadcast to air on their website early tomorrow morning.

Teacher Jason Porter said the 15 Year 7 and 8 students taking part were excited about the day ahead and are planning a special report on petrol pricing as part of their news package.

The students will be deciding among themselves who will act as senior producer for the broadcast and others are already hard at work on scripts and reviewing their editing techniques.

Students' final news bulletin included items on:

  • Fuel prices
  • Climate change
  • NATO troops in Afghanistan
  • Police in Chigwell
  • Chinese New Year celebrations
  • 2012 Olympics in London
  • Football and rugby
  • Weather


Students from Greenwood Dale School in Nottingham
Greenwood Dale are now ready for the real News Day
School Reporters at Greenwood Dale School in Nottingham are running stories about the Nottingham Eye, China's demand for milk and it's effect on supermarkets, and the England football match.

School Reporter Andrew, 12, has secured an interview with the creator behind the Nottingham Eye, which is as tall as Nelson's Column.

He said: "We emailed him but he was just about to leave the office and so he's calling us back shortly. I want to ask why it's being put up, how much money it's expected to make and whether or not it'll be good for tourists."

Katie, 14, decided to abandon her original investigation into the cost of renovating the local opera house in favour of one about the oak which is believed to have sheltered Robin Hood.

She said: "It was difficult to find enough information about the opera house to make a report and we thought the oak story was of more interest to people our age."

She explained that there was some concern over how long the tree, which is surrounded by scaffolding, would live. While some want the supports to remain in place, others consider it to be an eye sore and think the tree should be left to die.

Melissa, 13, decided to investigate whether KS4 students should have the opportunity to take part in School Report.

She said: "Most of the older students we interviewed want to join in the project too."

Katie, who is also working on this report added: "They thought it was fun and a great way get in touch with journalism."

Rebecca and Rebecca, both 13, are investigating the pros and cons of the schools mobile phone ban.

They said: "Most of the students we interviewed thought they should be allowed phones in case of emergencies. We are planning to speak to a teacher this afternoon to get the other side of the story."


Sam, Craig and Marcus from Park Community School in Havant, Hampshire
Sam, Craig and Marcus in Year 9 are passing on their expertise
Nine students from Park Community School in Havant, Hampshire, who took part in School Report last year, are mentoring this year's School Reporters.

Lauren, 14, Bobbi, 14, Aaron, 13, Sian, 13, Matt, 14, Zach, 14, Marcus, 14, Craig, 14 and Sam, 13 took part in a training workshop on Tuesday 5 February.

Students created mission statements, outlining what they wanted to achieve with their group of School Reporters on the UK-wide News Day.

Matt said: "By the end of the day, I'd like my team to have good consideration skills. I'll know if we've developed these because we'll be working together and respecting each others' ideas."

Bobbi said: "I'd like us to have good reasoning skills. I'll know if we've achieved this because we'll have taken everybody's ideas into consideration, not just those of the leaders."

Students also completed an authentic BBC risk assessment form after discussing the responsibility of a team leader to consider the health and safety of their group.

Aaron identified the risk of an electric shock as a potential hazard. He said: "To make the risk of this happening even lower than it already is, I'll make sure we keep all liquids away from the computers."

Sam added: "Trip hazards could be a problem and to minimise the risk, I plan to clear the floor before the News Day starts."

Each mentor will be working with a group of students on 13 March to create either a TV or radio bulletin, or a news web page.


Students from King Edward VII School, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
The practice News Day began with students researching the papers

Student reporters at King Edward VII School in Melton Mowbray are trying to find that elusive balance between busy schedules and the need to take regular exercise.

Megan, 12, said the story idea came from the report that 8 million people in Britain are not getting enough exercise every day to stay fit and healthy.

The team plans to interview management at the local public gym to ask if they would design a fitness programme aimed at young people as well as asking the head of homework at their school how they can find extra time in the day for fitness.

Teacher Katie Addison said the practice School Report radio broadcast team is also working on a story about teenage alcohol consumption and student attitudes towards underage drinking.

"It's been amazing, other teachers are coming up to me to say they cannot believe how the students are so in to it," said Ms Addison of the practice News Day.


School Reporters from Guildford County School in Surrey
Jenny and Ruth ask Tom: "Why can't boys play netball?"
The reporting teams at Guildford County School in Surrey are investigating why netball is limited to girls in the PE classes.

Student reporter Jenny, 12, said some boys in the school have expressed an interest in taking part in the netball club, prompting the story idea.

In total, 30 Year 8 students are pulling together a radio broadcast that will also feature a planned fashion show fundraiser in aid of breast cancer research.

Fellow student reporter Ruth, 13, said despite the looming deadline of early afternoon, she and her colleagues were "quite calm".

Teacher Annabel Gibbs said the school's practice News Day would also include a survey of 13-year-olds, asking them about their attitudes towards alcohol after a government report singled out underage drinking as a growing social problem.


Videoing chickens, recycling, Leicester Comedy Week and the school Valentine disco are just some of the subjects which the School Reporters of Babington Community Technology College have been asking questions about.

Ronald has been busy gathering information online about England manager, Fabio Capello.

He found it "very exciting" to be a journalist for the day and has learned that you need to '"look and listen" to get the information you need.

Charlia, a Year 7 reporter, is setting up a webcam to film chickens that are being looked after as part of a Year 11 project.


A student at Wirral Grammar School for Boys in Bebington, Cheshire plucked up the courage to question a government senior press officer about the loss of confidential data.

Jonathan, 12, found the press contacts details on the HM Revenue and Customs website.

He said: "I wrote down the questions I was going ask before I called. I was very nervous. I asked how many cases of missing data there had been and the press officer said there were two to his knowledge."

Other School Reporters are covering stories including:

  • What it means to be a specialist school
  • Internet safety for young people
  • Football
  • Subjects of interest to young people
  • School-based issues including bullying and the Every Child Matters policy

Banbury School in Oxfordshire have their practice News Day on Friday
Banbury School in Oxfordshire are planning to report on the rebuilding of their school which is due to be finished in December.

School Reporters were at the scene of a stone-laying ceremony on 1 February involving local dignitaries.

They took photographs and are writing an article which they plan to publish on their school website on Friday.


At Rainham School for Girls in Gillingham, Kent, the pupils are preparing both a news website update and a radio broadcast covering a range of issues that affect their daily lives.

"We are asking people about healthy eating and what fruits are their favourite and how they eat healthily," said Leah, a Year 7 School Reporter.

Leah, 11, said the story was the brainchild of one of her classmates and involved interviewing the school canteen staff for their thoughts on healthy menu choices for students.

Teacher Nicola Fills said 56 Year 7 students are taking part today and reporting on a jump rope contest that is raising funds for the British Heart Foundation.

They are also covering several local environmental issues and how both students and teachers handle the stresses of school life.

"The girls are all very excited and gathering their information and getting ready to do their reports," said Ms Fills.


School reporters at St Joseph's College in Dumfries are exploring both community and school issues in a busy day of reporting.

Teachers Fiona Purdie and Eppie Sprung are overseeing two classes of S2 pupils who are fanning out to investigate the details of a new primary school planned for the area.

Within the school, students are also reporting on the pros and cons of a policy that restricts the use of mobile phones and the reasons behind the school's decision to not allow first and second year students to leave the premises during the school day.

Sam, 13, is an S2 student working on the ban on camera phones on school premises.

"I think most people here think it's right because some people were using the photos to put them on the internet without permission and that is not allowed," he said of the issue that heads are grappling with across the UK.

Sam said the challenge of pulling together a complete news broadcast on deadline had the makings of a great day at school.

"We're learning how it's all done and we get to experience it ourselves, it's really good."


At Brentford City Learning Centre in Middlesex, the reality of life less than two miles from Heathrow led to a School Report feature on their practice News Day last week.

Teaching assistant Fiona Osbiston said the 45 Year 7 and 8 pupils who participated produced a full news broadcast that featured proposals to build a seventh terminal at the busy airport.

"It was very relevant to where we live because we're just two miles away and some of our pupils live in the villages that might be taken over by a new terminal."

Ms Osbiston said the recent crash of a British Airways flight at the airport made the issue of further expansion more interesting to the students who live near the airport.

The School Report broadcast also featured:

  • A weather story pegged to high winds
  • The training of British troops in Afghanistan
  • A feature on schools in Rwanda
  • A sports item on the new England coach Fabio Capello
  • An update on pop princess Britney Spears' troubles


School Reporters from Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow, London asked students what advice they would give to teachers who are planning to visit Bangladesh.

Tasneen said: "They will really enjoy it. If you don't go, you don't know what a great place it is. People can judge Bangladesh before they even go there but I think if they go they will have a different perspective."

Pupils also interviewed the director of the Tower Project, an organisation which provides services to over 700 children and young adults in the London borough who have disabilities.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets Ann Jackson explained how the proceeds from a charity event will go towards building a new sensory impairment room in Wapping.

Students also spoke to staff from British Petroleum about their Carbon Challenge road show which is an opportunity for students to discuss issues to do with global warming and climate change.

One Year 10 pupil said: "We should all learn about global warming so we can all help each other and make a difference in the environment together."

The School Report page on the school website also contains video news reports about:

  • A school trip to an outdoor activity centre
  • The school's TV studio and Voice TV project
  • Twinning with a school in Kenya
  • Salsa dancing
  • Issues faced by women in Iran and Iraq

Pupils from Kingsmead Community School
School Reporters collect vox pops in Wiveliscombe
The efforts of Kingsmead Community School's practice News Day could be heard on 10Radio, the new community radio station for the villages of the Ten Parishes of Somerset.

Teacher Ben Elkins said the students enthusiastically met their 1330 deadline and covered the story of the new chemist in town with an interesting past.

"It was a good story as he is from Zimbabwe and used to be the chemist to Robert Mugabe," Mr Elkins said of the reporting.

In total, 25 Year 8 students took part in the newsgathering project and were assisted by two BBC correspondents.

Abigail, 13, said being a reporter in the field and interviewing people in the community on deadline was a real highlight of the busy day.

"It was really exciting and I enjoyed it. It was fun but a bit hectic," she said of her story on the opening of a new children's centre in Wiveliscombe.

Her fellow student journalists also covered the story of a new sweet shop in town.

Billy said of the practice News Day: "It was the best thing anyone can do at school and its a load of fun - I never used to watch the news and I never used to know anything about it but now I know all about Wiveliscombe and a lot about the news."

Sophie said: "I think it's good fun and much better than sitting in a classroom and doing work. It's nice to have a change."

Kieran said: "The first time you do it you have real fun because it's a challenge."

Louis said: "I think School Report is really good because it encourages kids to be journalists, like adults are. I felt really enthusiastic to go up to town with my mates and get interviews - it was really fun. I like going round interviewing and asking questions - it's really good."

Abigail said: "I think School Report is really good because everybody gets involved. It shows you how to have fun and how things work. I know more about the news."


Caistor Grammar School in Lincolnshire produced a radio show. They were also featured on the Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, giving their views on the rise of reported incidents of cyber bullying in schools.


Schools might like to give one student the role of BBC correspondent for the day. Their job would be to:

  • Answer questions from a BBC journalist on the phone
  • Take photographs of the practice News Day
  • Under supervision, e-mail them to with a password which BBC staff will give to teachers

In addition to providing information for the School Report website, they might also like to produce an account of the News Day for the school website.

The practice News Day is also a time to practice meeting the two deadlines:

  • 1400 GMT - students complete their news reports
  • 1600 - reports are published on the school website (or that of an educational body)

Please send Schools Producer Ros Smith the web address of your dedicated news page, to which the BBC aim to link, creating a UK-wide audience for students' work.


This list indicates schools and CLC's that either took part on 7 February or have run a practice News Day this month, of which the School Report team are aware.

If your school took part, and is not on the list, please Contact us to let us know.

Unfortunately we are unable to feature schools that have not yet returned their head teacher agreement and consent forms.

Abraham Moss High School, Crumpsall, Manchester
Albion High School, Salford, Manchester
Babington Community Technology College, Leicester
Banbury School, Oxfordshire
Blairgowrie High School, Perthshire
Buile Hill High School, Salford, Greater Manchester
Central Foundation Girls' School, Bow, London
Chigwell School, Essex
Drayton Manor High School, Hanwell, London
Doon Academy in Ayrshire
Fairfield High School in Widnes
George Green's School, Isle of Dogs, London
Greenwood Dale School, Nottingham
Guildford County School, Surrey
Halton High School in Runcorn
Haverstock Secondary School, Camden, London
Heathfield School, Pinner, Middlesex
Hope High School, Salford, Manchester
John Cabot Academy, Bristol, South Gloucestershire
King Edward VII School, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
Kingsmead Community School, Wiveliscombe, Somerset
Marsden Heights, Nelson, Lancashire
Mayfield School, Dagenham, Essex
Newall Green High School, Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester
Oakgrove School, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Our Lady's Sports College, Blackley, Manchester
Rainham School for Girls, Gillingham, Kent
St Bernard's Catholic Grammar School in Slough, Buckinghamshire
St Chad's Catholic High School in Runcorn
St Joseph's College, Dumfries
Salford City Academy, Eccles
Shawlands Academy, Glasgow
Simon Balle School, Hertford
The Heath Specialist Technology College in Runcorn
The Grange Comprehensive School in Runcorn
The Swinton High School, Manchester
Trinity School, Manchester
Unity College, Burnley, Lancashire
Villiers High School, Southall, Middlesex
Wade Deacon High School in Runcorn. William Ellis School, London
Wirral Grammar School for Boys, Cheshire
Moorside CLC, Salford, England
Brentford CLC, Middlesex
Towneley Park CLC, Burnley, Lancashire
Runcorn CLC
Widnes CLC

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