Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Monday, 19 December 2011

December Practice News Day as it happened

Pupils all over the UK took the chance to sharpen up their reporting skills on the second Practice News Day of the year. Find out how they got on as they turned their classrooms into newsrooms.

Loreto High School Reporters
The Loreto High reporting team get ready for action
Later update: Loreto High School took part in their own Practice News Day, with two Year 8 pupils writing stories and then performing a piece to camera.

They covered several stories, including: the school making their own Olympic torches, Manchester Olympic athletes, the Australian Swimming team training at the Aquatics centre, the Jubilee Time capsule entries and the school's involvement in the Big Splash event in Salford - which was made into a film for the School Report website. Great reporting!

Later update: At Alperton Community School they focused on asking teachers and students about teachers' retirement age and their right to strike for pensions. Nikita 14 said, some teachers seemed convinced that striking was "the only way to get their rights". Amaal, 14 said that "some students seemed to think that teachers who are over 40 are too old anyway while others prefer older teachers as they are kinder!"

Later update: School Reporters from St Benedicts School, London finally managed to put their journalism skills into practice on Friday 9 December - well done for persisting despite unexpected problems!

They came up with a great mixture of stories too, including obesity and children, the real meaning of Christmas and safety on the streets. And after completing their day of news-making some of the students have some top tips to share from their experience:

Francis said: "I would suggest that School Reporters should plan as much as they can in advance. We put a lot of time into this last night and yet we were still rushing in the end!"

James gave a good recommendation: "save your work as you go. It's so annoying when you lose stuff!"

And Finn described the day as "The quickest seven hours of my life"

1650: Many thanks to all the schools and School Reporters who have taken part in another fantastic day of reporting. Have a good rest over the Christmas break and see you all again for the next Practice News Day on 19 January!

A St Patrick's School Reporter prepares to present
A St Patrick's School Reporter prepares to present
1645: Ms Brennan, the teacher looking after School Report at St Patrick's High School in County Armagh emailed us to let us know that we can all find their work from the BBC Bus on their school website. Have a look!

1642: During their Practice News Day Congleton High School contacted St Ambrose Barlow RC High School in Swinton to find about their news-making.

Katie, 12, interviewed teacher Mr Shepheard over the phone to discover that Year 7s, 8s and 9s were creating radio reports.

He told her: "School Report's a good way to get children involved in a group and to have a chance to be a journalist." She also spoke to Martina, 13, who was working on stories relating to GCSE exams, the school council, Scotland, planets and Manchester United.

She told Katie: "It's fun". Katie and her fellow students from Congleton High, joined forces with students from Malbank School and Sixth Form College in Nantwich to produce a TV news bulletin at 1430, anchoring it from The Lab, a digital media space for the community at the BBC's base in Salford.

The presenting team at Brentside High School
The presenters of the bulletins at Brentside High School read their lines
1628: The live Brentside High School bulletin we mentioned earlier (1248 entry) was captured in arty black-and-white shots which do a great job of telling the story. Nice work!

1625: Young reporters from Sandelford Special School in Northern Ireland started their reporting yesterday when they recorded some interviews with the organisers of a local commuity event called 'Just Christmas'. They are now looking forward to seeing their reports on their school webpage! Great stuff guys!

Colne Valley students work on their stories
Colne Valley students work on their stories
1622: School Reporter Esther at Colne Valley High Specialist Arts College in Huddersfield tells us her team have been covering lots of stories, including a school performance and the weather.

She also found out what her fellow reporters made of the day. Eleanor told her: "It's really great because we're doing something that not everyone gets to do."

Other members of the reporting team said they enjoyed interviewing people and doing something other than their normal lessons!

1616: It's been a busy old day at Prior's Field School in Surrey. The reporting have completed their news articles and uploaded two of the pieces to their website. The first is an interview with the Head of Drama about the school's production, Sweet Charity, and the other is a rag day advert for the activities going on in school next week. Prior's Field School is raising money for a school in Africa called St Jude's.

They also did vox pops with everyone, canvassing everybody's one liners about the weekend! There's also a sports report with a review of the sporting activities that took place last week. Have a look at their stories on the school website.

The School Reporters watch the Huw Edwards video
BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains some of the key reporting skills
1607: School Reporters at William Brookes School in Shropshire have had a busy day of news-making. They started their session by getting some top tips from Huw Edwards via our video masterclasses, before having an editorial meeting and deciding roles. One group decided to use radio to report while the other opted for TV.

Students Oli, Brogan and Lydia enjoyed using the technology and "learnt a lot about techniques used by reporters like placing a cue card near to the camera lens so the audience believed the reporters were looking at them - not reading the card."

Courtney was also impressed with the quality of the sound using an external mic and we discussed the type of environments where the mic would be an obvious choice.

The reporters were so engrossed in their work that when the school bell sounded for break it was ignored!

The 12 students that took part today will be 14 strong on the March News Day and everyone's VERY excited now!

1603: School Reporters from Tupton Hall School in Derbyshire have been busy producing video reports, including going behind the scenes of their recent production of Grease and investigating the reforms behind the last week's public service strikes. You can check out their reports on their dedicated School Report website.

1552: Students at St Angela's Ursuline School in London have completed all their interviews, edited all the reports which have now been uploaded to their school website. Have a look and check out their charity event-related reports. School Reporter Dorothea said "It's great to see the teachers getting involved in the fund raising"

1531: Hounsdown School's new team of School Reporters have spent some time going through the lesson plans and activities. They have also discussed ideas for upcoming reports, including a report on a charity project and a special link with a member of the Wheelchair Rugby GB team who will be taking part in the Paralympics in 2012!

The team are now eager to start on their big reports for News Day 2012. Students in Year 9 have been helping to mentor Year 8 students, practising interviews and scriptwriting to help the younger pupils get familiar with reporting so they'll be ready for the big day in March.

1525: Some interesting story ideas from Alperton Community School, including "Teacher exchange programme - Alperton meets Essex!" and "Too tired to teach? Should teachers over 40 get the sack?" Can't wait to hear what came out of those ideas!

The School Reporters from St Patrick's with the BBC Bus
The School Reporters brave the windy weather to board the BBC Bus
1510: Year 11 and 12 School Reporters from St Patrick's High School, Keady in County Armagh have had a visit from the BBC Bus. They've braved the stormy weather to visit the bus to record their radio bulletins covering international, national, local and sports News… and of course the weather and our intrepid traffic and travel reporters too! Once they are all recorded they will be on the school website for all to hear!

1506: School Reporters from Whitley Academy in Coventry are en route to report on a local 2012 Cultural Olympiad project event with their BBC mentor Rachael Smith. Good luck guys!

1448: Here's some reaction from the School Reporters at Wildern School: Jessica, 14 - "We're enjoying the freedom and being able to give our own opinions."

Oliver, 13 - "I've really enjoyed being able to work with our BBC School Report mentor."

Tom, 13 - "School Report has allowed us to be independent and try something completely different."

Vicky, 13 - "My team is focusing on the pressures faced by young sports stars and we've contacted Tom Daley's manager and coach by phone."

Everton captain Phil Neville with Faye and Will
Everton captain Phil Neville attended the launch in Salford
1440: Faye, 11, from Congleton High School and Will, 12, from Malbank High School got the chance to meet Everton captain Phil Neville at the launch of Celebrate Sport with the BBC at MediaCityUK.

Faye said: "He's one football player that you don't really get to see everyday and it was great opportunity to meet him." Will said: "It's nice to see a player of his quality come here and speak to schools like us." Let's hope the former Manchester United star wasn't too upset about his old side's shock exit from the Champions League last night!

1422: Breaking news! The three contenders for the prestigious Young Sports Personality of the Year award have just announced as cyclist Lucy Garner, Paralympic swimmer Eleanor Simmonds and golfer Lauren Taylor - and yes, they are all females!

The winner will be announced at BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 on Thursday 22 December.

If you want to find out some more about the contenders, check out the Q&As they all did for School Report, with the questions set by Hamble Community Sports College. Here's Lucy's, Ellie's and Lauren's.

School Reporters at Sir John Gleed
As you can see, these are the reporters at Sir John Gleed School
1350: Another update from Sir John Gleed School, where Amy, Izzy, Sophie, Sophie, Harriet, Emma, Becky, Tarion, Soraya, Roksana and Amanda (all pictured here) have been part of the team of reporters.

Here's their experiences of a day which, by all accounts, went really quickly:

Harriet: "It's been great fun, like working in a real office."

Roksana: "It's exciting."

Izzy: "I loved the whole experience, it's fun and I think it's made we really think about doing something like this when I'm older."

Soraya: "I've found loads of stuff out."

Amy: "I actually loved the pressure, I like knowing when things have to be done."

And the last word goes to their teacher, Ms Gray, who battled with technical issues. She said: "The girls have been brilliant - I'm so proud of them and they all really enjoyed it. They worked their socks off!"

1331: Sounds like it's been a great day at Sir John Gleed School in Lincolnshire where a team of 15 School Reporters have been tackling stories on the UK's struggling economy and a special multicultural festive show taking place this evening. The Year 9 pupils also grabbed an interview with comedian, writer and Radio 4 broadcaster Mark Steel.

The reporters spoke to local shopkeepers and also investigated a story about the rise in sheep theft during hard times! Meanwhile the festive show will feature singers from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Portugal and the UK singing carols in different languages and will also see people bringing in food from different countries. Sounds like a great evening - and some great reporting!

1312: Students at George Spencer Academy in Nottinghamshire put their news-making skills into action on Tuesday 6 December. You can check out some of their stories and video reports on their School Report website.

1253: There's been a few technical problems at Colne Valley High Specialist Arts College in Huddersfield but the team hasn't let that stop them. Even though they haven't been able to update their website yet, 15 School Reporters are hard at work!

1248: It's all in the timing... School Report deputy editor Ros Smith rang Brentside High School to see how it was going and they were only 30 seconds away from streaming their bulletin on their website! They were just in time to tune in but the sound on Ros's computer wasn't working so she couldn't hear it - but it looked great! Good work Brentside!

School Reporters interview the Year 8 students
The Year 8 students who went to Cologne are interviewed
1237: Horbury School in Wakefield are busy pulling together their report about students who have gone on a trip to Cologne.

School Reporters Jess, Brandon and Matthew interviewed some students from Year 8 who left for a trip to Cologne: "In the interview we featured 'Horbury Bear' who goes on school visits abroad! He may even send us a postcard from Cologne!"

Apparently he will definitely come back with souvenirs to add to his collection!

1226: School Reporters at Wildern School in Hampshire have settled on six stories to focus on today! There is a bit of a sporting theme as they plan to find out more about their school's Olympics project when next September the school will host an Olympic-style event in which three schools from Germany, France and Spain will take part.

And another group are looking at the pressures of being a young sportsperson whilst others are investigating body image issues.

Other students are looking at robotics, how they are currently used in a domestic setting, within the military and how they can be used in education. They are hoping to interview one of their teachers who is a bit of a robotics specialist and maybe someone from Southampton University, who have strong links with robotics development.

One group is pursing a story related to an ex-pupil of the school who has recently created an eco-classroom which will shortly be used by our Science department to teach lessons. They are investigating the value of the eco-classroom and consider how the concepts could become more widespread.

Lastly, some of the students are looking into the influence of video games on young people. The group would like to break down stereotypes of video games and focus on the positive influences they have, particularly how they can help to relieve aggression.

1219: Unfortunately another Scottish school has fallen foul of the wild weather so can't take part in today's Practice News Day as planned. Students from Bannockburn High School in Stirling will be going home early today - we hope they can join us in a forthcoming Practice News Day! And take care on your travels!

1204: Some superb work from pupils at Catmose College in Rutland as they secured an interview with Education Secretary Michael Gove, and managed to get an exclusive news story from him about the teaching of ICT in schools. The story was picked up by some national newspapers, so great reporting from the team there!

1155: Schools often run their Practice News Day on different days because of their news agenda - and here's a classic example from Icknield High School in Luton. Three students will be interviewing Gavin Shuker, the Labour MP for Luton South since 2010, on Friday. Best of luck guys!

Radio workshop with St Joseph's Catholic School students
The St Joseph's students work on their broadcasting skills
1144: Students from St Joseph's Catholic School in Salisbury spent much of Monday doing a radio workshop before embarking on a live broadcast! You can listen to the programme via their school website.

1129: School Reporters from Loreto High School in Manchester will be putting some of their news-making skills into practice next week on Tuesday 13 December.

The young reporters will be working in groups and have already given themselves team names which all relate to countries who are taking part in the Olympics. So they've got a Team Japan, Team Canada and Team Jamaica!

Around 60 Year 8 students will be newsgathering topical stories and producing text-based reports as well as hopefully recreating their own TV news bulletin with the help a blue screen and camera.

We wish them good luck and watch this space to see how they get on next week!

1117: Of course lots of School Report reporting goes on away from the Practice News Days, including the exclusive David Hasselhoff interview carried out by young journalists from Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College! Not only did they grab the international TV star for a chat - they did it live on Points West, the BBC regional news programme!

Congratulations to the interviewers - Jacob, Fran, Rhys and Tiffany! Tremendous work!

1105: There's a new 20-strong reporting team at Sir John Talbot's Technology College in Shropshire for the school's second news day. Two teams are already through to the final day in March as a result of their great efforts on the November Practice News Day. Who will go through from this round...?

1046: School Reporters at St Angela's Ursuline School in London have been busy all week researching and gathering information about the exciting charity events going on around the school. They have completed all the interviews and were report writing overnight to make sure they meet the morning deadline!

Currently Claire, one of the Year 8 reporters, is feverishly adding the last minute details to her report about the school's version of "Britain's Got Talent" which will raise money for Great Ormond's Street Hospital.

1035: Some news that may well be of interest to lots of schools around the UK, including those doing Practice News Day today - organisers have begun to inform 6,800 of the 8,000 people who will carry the Olympic Flame during the Torch Relay via email. BBC News have already begun reporting on the story.

Do you know somebody who was nominated? There could be a great story in it for your school or local area, so get reporting!

Skier Alain Baxter with students
Alain Baxter meets the ski race club at George Heriot's School
1009: School Reporter Ross from George Heriot's School in Edinburgh interviewed a former Olympic skier.

Alain Baxter was at the school to talk to the Ski Race Club. He told Ross how he became a competitive skier and what he thinks his greatest achievement is.

0957: St Benedict's School in Ealing were planning on taking part today but after a member of staff was taken to hospital, they've decided to do their practice news day tomorrow.

0935: While most students at Warden Park School were not in lessons because of the public sector strike on Wednesday 30 November, their eager School Reporters seized the opportunity to report on why people were on strike and how it was affecting their school community.

The School Report team at St Benedict's School in Ealing
The St Benedict's School reporting team pose for the camera
0916: The School Reporters from St Benedict's School in Ealing have already decided what stories they want to cover today, and there's some cracking ideas to look out for later on.

Here's a taste of what the separate groups will be reporting on:

1. Research has shown that there has been a dip in GCSE results during World Cup summers - especially for boys. As we will be writing our GCSEs in a World Cup year we want to find out whether football really does affect results? - Finn, Sam, Seb, Nedas, Francis and Oli

2. Can schools changes the rising obesity levels in the UK? - Bogdan, James, Harry, Brendan, Louis

3. In a week of worrying news about safety for young people, we asked the question - how can pupils be aware and stay safe outside the school grounds? - Tiffany, Maria, Lydia, Rebecca and Siofra

4. What is the meaning of Christmas to teens today? - Kiyan, Kai, Aran, Thomas, Alex and Ben.

0905: You might have heard about the terrible weather conditions in Scotland today, and unfortunately Williamwood High School in East Renfrewshire and Craigmount High in Edinburgh - both of which were planning to take part today - are closed. Not to worry, School Reporters - there's still two more Practice News Days to come on 19 January and 8 February, so plenty more opportunities to get reporting!

0900: Good morning everyone, and welcome to our live coverage of the second School Report Practice News Day of the 2011-12 academic year. We've got School Reporters around the UK itching to get stuck in to their stories, and this is the place to keep up to speed with what they're doing!

Thrilled 2012 torchbearer talks to School Reporters
08 Dec 11 |  School Report 2012
Storm blackout hitting thousands
10 Dec 11 |  Scotland
November Practice News Day as it happened
25 Nov 11 |  School Report
Join in our practice News Day
14 Dec 11 |  School Report
About the School Report resources
10 Aug 11 |  Teachers' resources
Getting celebrities involved in School Report
16 Nov 10 |  School Report
Getting sportspeople involved in School Report
19 Oct 11 |  Teachers' resources
School Report planning diary
19 Dec 11 |  Teachers' resources


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