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Page last updated at 19:29 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Bullying and school links in focus

School Reporters from Polesworth International Language College in Tamworth report on the progress of their News Day, a campaign against bullying and their worldwide links with other schools.


School Reporters at Polesworth
School Reporters began by looking for stories in newspapers

The morning was spent trawling through the internet and newspapers searching for news stories highlighting issues that were important to the pupils.

Stories covered in the school news report included pieces on computer games and how they may help increase your concentration and improve performance at school.

They also looked at bullying and how the school has managed the issue, and how their school was trying to be healthier with a new menu. Finally, they covered a story about a 400-year-old egg belonging to an extinct elephant bird that was sold at auction for £5,000.

The tension mounted as the race started to write up the stories, check sources, work out the script and film the news report to make the 2pm deadline.

During the day, the website was updated with news stories as and when they were produced by the team.

The group spoke to journalists from the BBC in both London and Birmingham and told them how they felt the day had gone and what had inspired them to choose their stories.

Once the filming was finished, the team reconvened to put together the radio broadcast and text versions of the news report ,selecting the stories that did not go in the televised report.

Meanwhile, our technical crew went to the wire and only just made the 2pm deadline.

We were really lucky to be helped out by one of our former pupils, Paul Andrews, who has recently completed a University course on broadcasting and is about to embark on a work placement with CBBC.

He reassured us when we voiced our concerns about not meeting the deadlines by telling us that even the BBC were known to run in at the last minute with a bit of VT.


Younger students have someone to talk to

2002 marked and impressive breakthrough in decreasing levels of bullying for Polesworth International Language College.

An initiative called "Ban the Bully" was set up by North Warwickshire youth service and since its arrival over 300 students have been involved in the scheme, working alongside a youth leader to tackle the issue of bullying on and off the school site.

Although the number of issues was already low, we feel it is still essential to help those few who still suffer.

The mentors help to tackle all kinds of situations, physically, and using the internet, as all can have an effect on the welfare of students.

This is important as one of the most important things at Polesworth International Language College is the happiness and wellbeing of our pupils.

"Bully mentors", who can be recognised by their purple ties, are chosen by a selection process involving an application form followed by an interview with the youth leaders.

When a number of students are selected, one person is appointed team leader and allocated a Year 7 tutor group.

This ensures that younger students have someone they feel they can speak to if an incident occurs.

Laura, a bully mentor said: "It is a really good scheme. I feel it is very effective. On a few occasions, younger members of the school have come to me with their problems and I've felt positive about being able to help others who are feeling isolated."


Taj Mahal
Some students are looking forward to visiting partner schools, and seeing India

In 2006 Polesworth High School was rewarded with the status of "International School" and shortly after, became Polesworth International Language College.

Since then many links have been made to schools around the world.

The first link made was with a school in Pampawie, Ghana.

Since then, there have been a number of opportunities for students to visit the partner schools and to get involved with development work.

Chelsea, one of the students who has been to Ghana this year, said: "It was an amazing experience, it really opened my eyes up to the differences between lifestyles and the amazing people, dedicating their lives to helping others."

Another link that has been set up is in China, with a school named Bibo, and recently a group of students visited with the help of the British Council.

Katie, a student who went to Shanghai in 2008 said: "It was the most amazing thing I have ever done, we were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do things we couldn't even have dreamed of before."

She said: "We were also given something which was utterly priceless, friendship. Everyone was set up with a Chinese partner, whom I, and many others, still have a strong bond with. I advise everyone to go if given the opportunity."

A visit to our link school in India is planned for October. The students will spend one week in school, staying with an Indian host family and a week touring the "Golden Triangle", taking in the sights of the red city of Jaipur and the Taj Mahal.

A student who is going in October this year said "I am really excited about the trip, I'm looking forward to it already!"


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