Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Thursday, 18 November 2010

November's Practice News Day as it happened

Schools around the UK took part in the first Practice News day for this year's School Report on Thursday.

We kept in touch with all the schools - so read on to find out how they got on.


1630: Thanks everyone for all your brilliant work today - it's been a pleasure hearing everything you've been up to today and it's pats on the back all round.

Once you've recovered from today, you can start thinking of ideas for the next Practice News Day on 9 December. Hope to see you then!

Steven works on his questions
School Reporter Steven works on his interviewing questions

1615: The School Reporters from Westminster City School were not mucking about.

Barely had they left the studio at Television Centre before they produced this report on their experiences going behind the scenes at the Children in Need rehearsals.

Swift work from Robert, Steven and Dylan, who grabbed a chat with Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton in the studio.

1601: When it comes to children's authors, they don't come much bigger than Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

She was interviewed by the School Reporters from The Thomas Hepburn Community School earlier this month after taking part in BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival.

Jacqueline said she thoroughly enjoyed meeting the children in Gateshead and was very impressed with their professionalism.

1540: Brentside High School in Ealing have been very busy today, with 50 children divided into six groups to focus on particular areas and topics.

Children in Need was the top story, while the groups also got into the issue of graffiti and interviewed local graffiti artists.

Teacher Vesna Klein said: "The students really enjoyed it, and were really focused.

"They took it really seriously because they had a real audience, they all met their deadlines and they got interested in local news which is great."

You can check out the reports on Brentside High School's website here.

1519: Ysgol Y Gader in Marioneth are going Children in Need crazy - there is a dodgeball competition and a staff v student netball match, while Children in Need day itself is a non-uniform or spotty outfit day. Year 9 School Reporters are covering the events, and are gathering news at the moment before putting together a written article.

1504: Knutsford High School in Cheshire have certainly been getting into the swing of things for this year's School Report.

Not only did School Reporters from the school cover the Young Citizens' Action Agenda for the North West event with a certain George Osborne MP in attendance, but they are now getting involved in a new enterprise.

The school is using November to raise students' awareness of a number of national charities and promote active citizenship, with Movember (where men grow moustaches for men's health charities!) and

According to Sara from Year 8's report, the month will culminate in a non-uniform day where boys will be asked to wear pink in recognition of breast cancer awareness and girls to sport moustaches - "either real or fake!" - with all funds going to raise money for Children In Need.

1450: Hot off the press from the School Reporters from Westminster City School who are compiling a behind-the-scenes report about Children in Need:

Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton with the School Reporters from Westminster City School
Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton with Robert, Steven And Dylan

"We've just interviewed the most important people in Dirty Dancing - Johnny and the choreographer!" say the boys.

Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton also came off the stage after rehearsal and Steven interviewed her for School Report. Come back later to find out what she had to say...

1446: At Marden High School in North Shields, the School Report team have already done their Practice News Day on Monday.

Teacher Karen Robson said that the pupils "thoroughly enjoyed the day and can't wait for the next!".

One of their top stories is about one of the school's pupils who is through to the last four of North Tyneside's vote for young mayor!

1435: It's International Day at Collingwood School and Media Arts College, where each classroom is representing a different country.

School Reporters are having a hectic time trying to visit and report on every nation! Naomi, 12, Deej, 12, Ben, 13, Alex, 11 (but 12 on Monday - Happy birthday!) and Amy, 12 say their favourite countries so far have been America where there were flags and recipes, and India where the teacher has made bhajees for everyone!

School Reporters from Collingwood School and Media Arts College
School Reporters from Collingwood pose for the camera

Callum, 12, is currently filming some 'pieces to camera' and has interviewed the Deputy Head. We can't wait to see the final report!

Here's what the School Reporters themselves had to say about their day as journalists.

Naomi: "It's been great. I really enjoyed presenting to camera."

Callum: "My favourite part was when I interviewed the Deputy Head."

Amy: "I have really enjoyed my job operating the Digital Video camera. The experience has been brilliant."

Ben: "I'm a School Reporter!"

1425: Hounsdown School in Southampton have spent the morning filming their report on their day at the BBC Television Centre and spent the last part of the morning editing their footage on the Mac.

Hounsdown School pupils work with the camera
Reporters at Hounsdown School work out the best way to frame the shot

The report has now been completed and uploaded to the school website.

Teacher Lisa Roe canvassed opinion from some of the pupils taking part to find out what they made of the experience.

"Great fun and a good experience" - Ellie

"A fantastic practice, and an insight of what is to come" - Emily

"I thought today was really successful and I really enjoyed it" - Laura

"I really enjoyed the experience" - Harry

So all in all it sounds like a success!

1408: Students at Doon Academy, East Ayrshire, put their interview skills into practice back in September when they took part in some First Click workshops.

School Reporters Danni, Aaron, Allana, Shania, Elleis and Gareth went back in time by sharing stories with a former teacher and Aaron's grandfather and then put their internet research skills into practice to find out more. Aaron said "it was interesting to learn things from the past".

BBC First Click at Doon Academy

You can find out more by watching their report here:

Elleis, 12 is now inspired to do more reporting and is keen to see if she can do a behind-the-scenes report from the school's Christmas play and Shania, 12 is thinking about some famous authors to approach for an interview!

1402: The clever iPod reporters at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College have been working with Widnes City Learning Centre and have just uploaded their first film to their website.

You can take a look at how they got on here.

1345: Year 8 students Steven, Dylan and Robert from Westminster City School have hit the jackpot on Practice News Day, coming into the BBC's Television Cente in Shepherds Bush to go behind-the-scenes at Children in Need.

The annual charity extravaganza takes over the airwaves on Friday, so the production team are going through rehearsals today to make sure everything goes to plan on the big day.

Here's the boys' take on things so far: "We're backstage watching the rehearsals for a Children in Need Dirty Dancing performance - you should be here!!"

1335: The School Reporters at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College in Widnes are really putting in a shift for their Practice News Day.

They have all their interviews now and are working incredibly hard on the iPods to share, edit and compose their stories.

Can't wait to see their results!

1315: It's all happening at Alperton Community School - or rather it all was happening, before the pupils had to be sent home for the day because of the burst water main!

The School Report team valiantly stayed on to cover the story though, and you can see the fruits of their labours here.

In addition to the burst water main problem, the school have also done some great reporting on the issue of cyber bullying.

Mr King with the school closure letter
Mr King holds up the letter confirming the school closure!

And here's proof of the school closure for anyone with a suspicious mind!

It's Mr King snapped with the letter going out to all parents explaining that the school has had to close for the day because there is simply no water coming out of the taps.

Well done to the School Reporters at Alperton Community School on covering a breaking news story so well - and for their dedication to get it published!

1305: We heard from the teacher at Thetford Academy earlier in the day - but what about the reporters at the coalface? Here's Cameron from Year 9 on what it's like to produce their own news bulletin.

"We're in our school library, researching bits of news," says Cameron, 13.

"We're learning all aspects of news reporting, camera work and gathering information."

Cameron's working in the world news section, covering the war in Afghanistan and a new scientific discovery in Japan on the extraction of particles. For their report Cameron and his classmates are interviewing teachers and students on their views on the war.

He adds: "It's all going really well. We all find it very exciting and really enjoyable."

1250: Earlier in the year, Lurgan Junior High School in Northern Ireland contributed to School Report's Commonwealth Games coverage, with some excellent reports focusing on their national team.

Josh and Gareth are two of the students to write stories for School Report. Here's what they thought of the experience:

Gareth: "I felt as if I was a real BBC reporter and learned so much from the experience."

Josh: "It was a real learning curve working to deadlines and sourcing the relevant information."

Teacher Paul Moorehead says they are now training another 40 School Reporters. The School make their own School Report podcasts, which are uploaded on their school website.

1235: School Reporters Bella, Megan, Alice and Lizzie from The Red Maid's School in Bristol have grabbed an exclusive interview with Connie Fisher, the winner of the BBC's 'How do you solve a problem like Maria?'

The School Reporters from The Red Maid's School with Connie Fisher
Connie Fisher (centre) with the girls from The Red Maid's School

The School Report team went backstage at the Bristol Hippodrome to interview Connie about her why she is supporting the Tinsel for Tots appeal which raises money for St Michael's Hospital in Bristol.

"When I was born I was a twin," explained Connie.

"Unfortunately my brother died and he was in intensive car for quite some time and so was I, so I think it's a really good cause - and as a lady who has just got married I maybe plan on having some 'Von Trapps' pretty soon.

"I only live down the road in Cardiff and I am proud to raise money for their appeal."

Alice (13) says "we thought of the questions before we went to see Connie. She was really nice and we got really close to her. People at school are excited that we got to do the interview."

You can see their report here.

1225: Villiers High School in Southall were ahead of the game, running their Practice News Day with their local City Learning Centre last week on 8 November, with 13 students from Year 8.

The students at Villiers High School on their Practice News Day
Pupils at Villiers High School get writing on their Practice News Day

The exercise they were asked to do involved going through newspapers and looking for one article that really interested them and that would be appropriate for a selected target audience.

They spent some time writing their own account of the articles they had selected in no more than 100 words and then they had to read out the original and the one they had re-written. It all went very well - so well that they've already started planning for the next practice day!

1215: For the students at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, the Commonwealth Games gave them the opportunity to interview many of the Scottish athletes, including gold medallist Hannah Miley in the only press conference she gave before heading out to compete in Delhi.

The highlight for the pupils was seeing photos and films from the day, along with their names, on the School Report website making the whole experience more enjoyable.

1205: Remember the boys v girls situation at Alperton Community School (see 1135)?

Interviewing at Alperton Community School
The girls get interviewing at Alperton Community School

The boys are chasing the burst water main story, and here's what the girls have been up to with an update from teacher Suzanne Hartley.

"They had a drama workshop company come in called Action Work and acted out a cyber bullying scenario," said Ms Hartley.

"We then conducted interviews with teachers about a 'Cyber-bullying Ballot Box' where students can anonymously write in to let it be know that they are being bullied or know someone who is…

"The moral of their story is that the bully is usually behaving in this way because they are being bullied too or are upset by something else. So they need as much help to get through their difficulties as much as the person being bullied."

1155: The possible sale of Thetford Forest in Suffolk is one of the big stories being covered by the School Report Team at Thetford Academy.

"The government said it might be sold off and that's a big issue locally" said teacher Deb Young, who has 29 pupils working for the day in nine news teams, researching and reporting sport, world, international, national, local and school-based news.

"Each team has an editor and they meet for board meetings every 30 minutes to update each other on their stories," Ms Young explained.

"It's a bit manic but it feels like a real news room and they are all working really hard."

Ms Young and the team have already shown the flexibility journalists need as technical issues meant their stories can't go online today, but they are determined to still get an audience.

"They've done so well we're going to have a visual display of their work instead, and putting it on the school website another day," she added. Other stories covered include the royal wedding, the death of a local member of the RAF, Anti-Bullying Week and the role of charities at school.

1150: Catmose College in Rutland are also investigating the issue of government funding cuts, with particular focus on how the School Sports Partnerships programme will be affected. they interviewed pupils in their own school who are ambassadors for the project.

You can watch their report here.

1142: Things are really getting going at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College in Widnes, and they're really at the cutting edge when it comes to technology. The school are using iPods to produced their reports!

Here's the latest update from their teacher James Parr: "We have now got all of our stories: student fees, Children in Need, Harry Potter leak and teen culture - drinking vs degrees! The pupils have a number if interviews already lined up and they are now putting the stories together and going off to record on the iPods."

1135: It's boys v girls at Alperton Community School! And the team of boys are chasing up a great local story, with the area surrounding their school suffering a major water mains burst.

And how about this for dedication to the story: because of the burst water main the school is closed but the Year 8 news teams have stayed on to complete their stories!

We'll keep you up to date on how they get on - and updates on the girls' progress to follow...

The School Report team at Horbury School
Horbury School's team of top reporters get ready for action

1125: Students from Horbury School in Wakefield are well under way with their Practice News Day.

One of their reporting team says: "It has been a really great experience, writing reports on what is currently in the news.

"Good luck to the other report teams!"

1120: Year 8 School Reporters from St Bernard's Catholic Grammar School in Slough are working hard, researching and writing about everything from knife crime to Kate and William's wedding.

Their articles are nearly ready and hopefully they should be on their School Report website very soon.

1107: Another Welsh school Ysgol Gyfun Y Strade are reporting on the issue of bullying, and it's a timely topic with it being Anti-Bullying Week. A local welfare officer came into the school this morning and the pupils - there are 31 students from year nine taking part - could interview him about bullying.

1045: Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr in Swansea are unique in their county in being a Fair Trade School, so their early reports are going to be focusing on the issue of Fair Trade. The inflatable bananas are coming out of storage and the yellow T-shirts are ironed and ready for filming later in the month!

Ellie Simmonds
Ellie Simmonds was interviewed for this year's School Report

And the school have already produced content this year, with their students reporting on the Commonwealth Games - including this excellent report on Dai Greene - and interviewing local swimming star Ellie Simmonds.

1030: Another school up with the larks is Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College in Widnes, where the team of School Reporters are already researching stories. Their teacher James Parr says the team are looking into stories about the budget cuts and how they are affecting students at the school's sixth form college. Interviews are lined up for later in the morning, so watch this space!

1015: It is all systems go at Collingwood School and Media Arts College in Northumberland as School Reporters have already started searching for stories for their Practice News Day! (To be fair to Collingwood, this happened a long time ago!)

1006: Good morning everyone, and welcome to the first Practice News Day of the year. Apologies for the delay in starting the live event page: we've had technical problems here this morning, but the sticky tape has been applied and it looks like we're good to go.

So what's today all about? It is 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 24 March 2011.


Alperton Community School, London

Brentside High School, Ealing

Catmose College, Rutland

Collingwood School and Media Arts College, Northumberland

Doon Academy, East Ayrshire

Horbury School, Wakefield

Hounsdown School, Southampton

Knutsford High School, Cheshire

Lurgan Junior High School, Northern Ireland

Marden High School, North Shields

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College, Widnes

St Bernard's Catholic Grammar School, Slough

The Red Maid's School, Bristol

Thetford Academy, Suffolk

Villiers High School, Southall

Westminster City School, London

Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr, Swansea

Ysgol Gyfun Y Strade, Llanelli

Ysgol Y Gader, Marioneth

Behind the scenes at Children in Need
18 Nov 10 |  Student reports
In pictures: School Report Practice News Day
24 Nov 10 |  School Report


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