Page last updated at 18:06 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Getting ready for News Day

School Report microphone cube

Now you've joined the project, you and your students may be wondering how to prepare for the BBC's School Report News Day in March.

This guide is here to help you, with lots of tips on what to do in the run-up to Thursday 15 March 2012.

It includes guidance on how to manage the big day itself and how to ensure your school gets as much BBC coverage as possible.

As you turn your classrooms into newsrooms, these printable posters, cut-out-and-make microphone cubes and certificates will help transform your building into a professional news-making environment.


Create your own dedicated web page

Prepare a simple holding page, with a "come back at 1600 GMT on 15 March 2012" message, and send the address of the dedicated web page (URL) to the School Report team. This guide - Prepare your school web page - provides some handy hints and tips for setting up the page.

Take part in a Practice News Day

Friday 18 November
Thursday 8 December
Thursday 19 January
Wednesday 8 February

These four "dress rehearsal" dates are a chance for schools, teachers and pupils to dive in at the deep end and see what reporting activity they can get up to and what lessons they can learn for the main News Day on 15 March 2012.

Tell us what you're working on

The School Report team wants to know what news topics you are looking at. We may be able to offer some help and advice.

We may even be able to visit your school to help your students' turn their idea into a report.

In addition, schools contacting the team before the day may be featured on the School Report channels - streamed on the BBC News website and red button service on 11 March - or be featured elsewhere on the BBC eg local radio or websites etc.

Prepare some news features

During previous years, School Reporters have found it useful to prepare a few reports in advance, basing them on news themes which will still be relevant on the News Day.

Your reports can be uploaded to your dedicated web page now, during a practice News Day or held back until the big News Day in March.

Inform your local paper

Local newspapers are always looking to cover interesting events such as School Report News Day.

However, journalists at local papers are often busy and don't have the time to visit your school. Why don't you take the initiative and write the story for them? That way your school stands a good chance of appearing in the paper.

Before News Day in March, you could send in a story about your plans for the day, or you could write up a report afterwards.

Newspapers often refer to stories sent in by the public as press releases - they are details about an event released to the press. You might find some good tips in this guide: How to write a press release.

Plan your News Day schedule

Teachers who have participated in previous years' News Days have found that the day naturally follows the news-making process: find, gather, write and broadcast, and have scheduled activities accordingly.

This timetable, devised by Oldham City Learning Centre, may be a useful template. It describes activities for students creating a TV and a radio bulletin, but may be adapted for students creating text-based reports.

Alternatively, you could use this guide, based on a practice day by Waldegrave Girls School in Twickenham, Middlesex.

Announce School Report in an assembly

Why not tell the rest of the school about School Report during an assembly?

Not only will this encourage students to look at School Reporters' work on the school website on News Day, but it is also a great way to run through your plans ahead of the day. Share your plans for News Day. Who are you interviewing? Which stories are already lined up?


Contact the School Report team

In addition to a link to the school's website from the BBC, schools also have the opportunity to be featured in the School Report's on-the-day coverage.

While a team of journalists at Television Centre in London will be phoning as many schools as possible with a view to featuring them on the School Report website and on the red button, with more than 800 participating schools, they are unable to call every school.

Therefore, to increase your chance of coverage, please email between 0800 and 1600 GMT with the following information:

  • The name and location of your school
  • A digital photograph (jpg) of your School Reporters, with a caption ideally containing the names of the people pictured (of practical)
  • "Shout outs" or short message updates from your school throughout the day. For example: "The team from Wildern School in Hampshire are raring to go! Good luck to all involved in School Report".

In the subject field of the email, you will need to add a password alongside with the name of your school, for child protection reasons.

Only the schools where students have parental consent to appear on the BBC will be sent the password, shortly before the News Day.

Also for child protection reasons, the School Report team cannot accept emails from students.

However, teachers might like to assign one or two School Reporters to be "BBC correspondents" for the day, where their role is to gather all the information prior to the teacher sending the email.

Remind students of the School Report essentials

On the News Day, remind students of the School Report rules:

1. Only use first names

2. Report the facts, not rumours

3. Avoid crime stories, especially on-going court cases

4. Use your own photos, images and music

5. Avoid reporting a topic which makes you feel uncomfortable

6. Finish your work by 1400 GMT

7. Publish reports on your school website by 1600 GMT

Where rules 1-5 have not been followed, the link from the BBC to the school websites, on the School Report map, will be removed until the issue has been resolved.

There's more information about these golden rules in the School Report guide to keeping your news safe and legal

Dress your newsroom

Print copies of the School Report poster in the "cut out and keep" box above and use them to dress your newsroom. You can also make your own School Report microphone cubes using the template provided.

Reward students with certificates

Download a School Report certificate from the "cut out and keep" box above and distribute copies to your students at the end of the News Day.

Enter a virtual BBC newsroom
20 Dec 07 |  In Pictures
News Day schedule template
03 Dec 10 |  School Report
Story ideas for 2011 News Day
15 Feb 11 |  School Report
Prepare your school webpage FAQ
06 Jan 12 |  Teachers' resources
How to write a press release
22 Jan 10 |  School Report
Step-by-step guide to a News Day
16 Dec 10 |  School Report
Preparing for a news conference
19 Feb 10 |  School Report


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