As the number of schools taking part in School Report increases, it is not always possible to release enough BBC staff to provide a visiting mentor for every school.
Also, some BBC staff are keen to share their skills with schools, but unable to give as much time commitment.
A simpler way to provide support and help to a school is as a "phone mentor".
Support teachers through regular phone calls/emails
Advise on possible news stories
Reassure and encourage confidence in the project
Phone mentors keep in touch by phone and email with lead teachers on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, listening to ideas for news stories from the school, advising on possible ways to encourage broadcast, and providing support when schools feel uncertain as to what steps to take next.
Having a BBC contact for the school can be reassuring and make the school teachers and reporters feel part of the BBC team. Its also helpful to exchange email addresses as well.
Schools understand that not every school can have a visiting BBC staff member, but like the opportunity to know they have a friend within the organisation who's brains they can pick. It's also a great way to establish rapport with a school that may lead to further partnerships or collaboration in the future.