What can students learn from taking part in BBC News School Report?
This was one of the main questions Don Passey, a Senior Research Fellow from Lancaster University, was commissioned to answer in an independent evaluation.
His review examines School Report in the north-west of England, while a UK-wide evaluation is planned for next year.
School Report started as a pilot project in 2006-7. In the 2007/8 school year, nearly 300 schools across the UK took part.
In the introduction to his evaluation, Mr Passey states:
"This evaluative study has reviewed the BBC News School Report project, as it ran in the north-west of England, in the 2007 to 2008 school year.
The BBC News School Report project has clearly been successful and worthy from a range of perspectives. Evidence reported by different stakeholders has been indicative of widespread agreement of worth from practitioners.
The project has enabled young people 11 to 14 years of age to create news reports in a form that could be broadcast. In 2008, 52 schools in 12 local authorities were involved across the north-west, with 45 of those schools and 625 students being supported by 11 City Learning Centres.
The most frequent topics selected for news reports by students were: safety and comfort; education and school issues; health; sports; entertainment; current news stories about individuals; and citizenship, finance and current affairs issues.
It is of note that these subjects match topics of concern highlighted in the government Green Paper `Every Child Matters' (2003).
Learning outcomes were concerned with empowering the individual in terms of capability, enabling them to use knowledge they developed in authentic situations.
Inclusion was a strong feature of this project, highlighting the abilities of student groups to work effectively together, fuelled by the importance of deadlines and the demands for high standards.
The project worked for students with special needs and those not fully engaged in school, as well as for gifted and talented students.
Students often identified strengths in others, and supported each other in the knowledge that the successful completion of the end-product was more important than the need to question or judge relationships."