Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Friday, 20 January 2012

January Practice News Day as it happened

Pupils all over the UK sharpened up their reporting skills on the third Practice News Day of the school year. Find out how they got on as they turn their classrooms into newsrooms.


Later update: Here's a final update from Sir John Talbot's Technology College, who were up against it but managed to squeeze in before the deadline and have their reports and articles ready for their headteacher to view.

He was said to be "very impressed at the standard of work produced" and "enjoyed seeing the buzz of pupils around the school during the day".

And although there are no losers on news day - the best piece was adjudged to be a report on the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. A good choice of story, we think - take a look at our 2012 resources for more ideas on reporting on 2012.

1711: Thanks to all the schools, teachers and pupils who have worked so hard on Practice News Day today, and we hope you've all enjoyed the day. We've been blown away by the variety of stories that have been covered.

Apologies for the technical gremlins which have prevented updates from going through at various stages today - rest assured the rest of the BBC website was affected to, so you've had the authentic BBC journalist experience of great frustration at not seeing your news published!

1710: Here's an update from teacher Audrey Farley at Bannockburn High School:

"(BBC mentor) Duncan was very good with the pupils. They got some editing advice before they published their news articles. We had some stressed pupils when our dedicated page wouldn't let us overwrite it with our news stories and the teacher in charge of the website had already left for the day - yikes!" But the pupils did manage to get their work up on their website, so why not check out their work?

1705: Bishopbriggs Academy in East Dunbartonshire have been busy producing three news reports about activities in their school - one on a charity readathon, another on the school's ukulele orchestra (which is the only one in a Scottish school) and a third about the drama club's production of Macbeth.

Around 25 S3 children were involved in producing the material and teacher Karyn McGuigan said they loved the experience and are looking forward to March's News Day.

1703: School Reporters at Waingels College in Reading have been busy getting grips to life in a newsroom, including dealing with sound problems and writing their stories up to meet the deadline.

They've also been busy doing questionnaires on how students feel about the Olympics and finding out how people cope with domestic disasters when they are training for the Olympics.

1606: A new School Report story to alert you all to - it's a write-up of a fantastic interview with Team GB Olympic swimming hopeful Rachael Kelly by School Reporters Noah and Louise from St Benedict's School in Ealing. Excellent work guys!

Lurgan Junior High School pupils conduct interviews at the Stargazing Live event
The Lurgan reporters grab another interview
1550: In Northern Ireland, Lurgan Junior High School reporters covered the BBC Stargazing Live event at Oxford Island this week. The reporters shot video interviews with a number of the contributors, including Terry Mosley, who has an asteroid named after him.

Derek Bradley, who hopes to be the first Irishman in space, was also interviewed. The edited version of the video will be available on our website soon.

1546: The School Reporters at St Benedict's School in Ealing are thrilled to have met their deadline! Amelia, 14, said: "It's like a weight lifted off our shoulders, it's exciting!" and Johanna, also 14, added: "I'm so excited, I'm so happy we finished on time… I'd like to do it again!"

1543: Catmose College in Rutland ran their practice News Day yesterday. School Reporters tried their hands at presenting news reports on subjects such as the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, the Diamond Jubilee and a weather forecast.

Their teacher said: "They now know that they need to think about talking slowly and not allow their nerves to take over!"

1532: Students from Sandelford Special School spent today producing a report about a charity that helps victims of the Asian tsunami.

Caolan, Patrick, Alexander, Sean, Macauley, Liam, Chad, Emma and Chelsea interviewed Willie Gregg, who runs the 'Willie's Orphan Fund', about how he raises money for children orphaned by the tsunami.

They all worked really hard, and despite some technical issues, have had a fantastic day! Well done everyone!

Douglas and Jodie, from St Aidan's CE Technology College
Douglas and Jodie were the main presenters at St Aidan's
1510: Another update from St Aidan's CE Technology College in Lancashire, where they have been covering stories from the Britain's Got Talent auditions in Blackpool to the school's plans for Sport Relief.

Other stories include a local chip shop winning a national award, interviews with students who have taken a GCSE in astronomy on what they thought of the BBC's Stargazing Live, possible changes to the length of the school day, online piracy laws....

And finally… It's a Dog's Life - a collection of dog related stories from today's news!

Jake, 14, said: "This is the first time I have done School Report and it's hard work but it is really fun. I am reporting on how parents are having trouble keeping up with their kids in science.

"We are also covering a story that investigate the 10 questions parents find most difficult to answer for their kids."

Lead teacher Mr Ireland said: "New software, new cameras, new stories, new students - but same old chaos! What a great day! Our students are loving it as usual and working harder than they probably expected."

1504: School Report mentor Hannah Johns has reported in from Greig City Academy, who are doing the project for the first time this year with 25 Year 9 students.

They began by filming and interviewing two local MPs - Nick De Bois (MP for Enfield) about knife crime and David Lammy (MP for Tottenham) about concerns over local primary schools being forced to change into academies.

Lammy said: "I was upset when I heard about it because I was not told by the government, I was actually told by a parent that got in touch with me."

The School Reporters also spoke to their PE teacher about the pressure of Olympics on non-sporty students, while the entertainment team found out what people at school thought of the Brits nominations.

Students have also been considering the government's proposed changes to IT lessons.

It's a lot harder than I thought it would be to make a news report
Annabelle, 13, from St Benedict's School in Ealing
1500: Watch out everyone, there is breaking news from St Benedict's School in west London that the end of the world could be nigh!

Annabelle, 13, said: "We're making a report on whether or not 2012 is the end of the world. It's been quite fun making it - it's a lot harder than I thought it would be to make a news report."

Just under half of people questioned at the school thought this year could be the last for planet earth. Gulp....

Elsewhere students at St Benedict's are working on the Wikipedia blackout. Lola, 13, said: "We're editing the news report that we'ved one on Wikipedia and why it closed down. I much prefer the editing to the filming, I have to say - I really enjoy clipping it and just making it look good." Asked whether they would make their deadline, she said: "I think so." Good luck team!

1452: The news team at Killermont Primary School in East Dunbartonshire are covering four stories today:

• Preparations for P7 Burns Supper on 2.2.2012
• Costa Concordia, including interviews with teachers who are going on cruises this summer
• The Queen's Diamond Jubilee
• Scottish Independence

The first two stories are already on the school's BBC News School Report website, with the other two set to follow soon.

1450: Students at Lurgan Junior High School in Northern Ireland attended one of the Stargazing Live public events earlier this week and are now busy editing their footage as they plan to show it at the school's Open Evening tonight!

1443: Pupils at Tendring Technology College have been working hard all morning producing, filming and editing their stories and it sounds like a good time has been had by all.

Tyler, 11, said: "I like being part of School Report because I like media and using technology."

Emilia, 11, and Cathryn 12, both interviewed their Humanities teacher about his views on what qualities you need to be a good teacher, while 14-year-old Chiquita filmed a report about abandoned pets in which she talked about her love for animals and why it is such a big issue.

And Toby, 12, added: "I have enjoyed taking part because I like creating my own news."

Zac from All Saints Catholic High School
Zac worked on a great story on trams
1424: Zac, 12, from All Saints Catholic High School in Sheffield said that the highlight of the day at the Lab in Salford so far has been writing scripts.

"It's different than most things I've done," he said. The most challenging aspect of the day was "getting stuff together at the beginning - it's sometimes hard to think of ideas," he explained.

The news idea that he was most proud of was a story about trams which was relevant to both schools taking part in a joint Practice News Day in MediaCityUK.

"Last news day, myself and Reuben were the first ones to find out about price rises affecting the Sheffield trams," he said.

"I've enjoyed working alongside students from East Manchester Academy, because it's good to interact with and meet new people."

Penn Fields School Report team with their special guest and interviewee Greg Silvester
Greg Silvester with the reporting team at Penn Field School
1404: At Penn Fields School in Wolverhampton, it sounds like their day with Special Olympian Greg Silvester has been a great success.

Greg is now a coach, having won a Special Olympics gold medal in 1995 and as well as taking questions from the School Reporters, he also gave the students a gymnastics masterclass and brought in the Olympic Torch he carried in Sydney in 2000.

Deandre, 14 said: "It was really good and I enjoyed doing the gymnastics - my favourite part was when Greg showed me how to do a cartwheel!"

Teacher Miss Griffiths added: "I think that the day has been inspiring for our pupils. I think it was a very large event for our first School Report endeavour but I think they've learnt a lot about journalism and seeing the achievements of others and not to see any limits."

1359: Anyone who's been following the Stargazing Live programme on BBC Two over the last few days might like to check out this live school webcast which is just about to start on the programme's website. It's a chance to put your questions to Professor Brian Cox.

The Long Eaton pupils line up their shot
The Long Eaton pupils line up their shot
1333: Year 9 students from The Long Eaton School have been busy preparing video reports - using their school building as a backdrop for pieces-to-camera.

Four Year 9 students have been reporting on the school's new observatory - called the Malcolm Parry Observatory - with a telescope and are producing text, video and audio reports with an interview with science teacher Mr Patrick.

1351: Year 9 School Reporters from Greig City Academy in north London are interviewing local MP for Enfield Nick de Bois about knife crime. Good luck with the interview guys!

1344: At Alperton Community School the news team are focusing on three main stories today.

Their first story will see them look into whether GCSEs should be modular or linear, while they are also tackling the big subject of whether racism is still a problem in London, an issue brought into the headlines by the recent Stephen Lawrence murder trial. And their final topic is whether the British monarchy is worth the money.

The School Reporters conduct their interview
Noah was delighted to get the chance to interview a potential Olympic swimmer
1337: School Reporters from St Benedict's School in west London are having a great day. Louise, 14, and Noah, 13, have interviewed World Junior Swimming Champion Rachael Kelly by telephone.

They asked about how training affects Kelly's social life, and her hopes for London 2012. She told Louise and Noah: "I have a normal life really but I swim a lot as well!"

Both really enjoyed the interview, and Noah said: "If you think about it, it was quite big because she has the potential to be an Olympic athlete and I got to interview her and see what she thought about that and the way she's going to reach that."

Meanwhile other students are working on stories such as Wikipedia, Jeremy Clarkson, riots, computer hacking, and whether the world will end in 2012?!

Check out their website later to see the finished results.

The School Reporters interview Megan
Megan answers questions about her audition for Britain's Got Talent
1325: Another update from St Aidan's CE Technology College where the reporters are now in the midst of filming their stories.

Here, Morgan, Tanisha and Megan talk about the Britain's Got Talent auditions in Blackpool, where Megan and her dance group had an audition!

1320: The School Reporters at Hillcrest School in Birmingham have had lots of good ideas for stories to cover, including a new school magazine written by students for students, an interview with both the exiting and the newly arriving head teacher, interviews with the head of performing arts on the success of the stage musical show Scrooge in December and a written piece on a Kingball match between teachers and Year 11 to raise money for their prom.

East Manchester Academy students Jessica and Gabrielle
Justin Bieber is a firm favourite for Jessielle and Gabbica!
1250: Students from East Manchester Academy and All Saints Catholic High School in Sheffield joined forces to make the news at the BBC's community space in MediaCityUK, Salford - The Lab.

Gabrielle, 13, and Jessica, 13, from East Manchester Academy, were part of the foreign newsgathering desk. As well as looking at news around the world, they've been learning how to use a camera and been putting it into practice.

Their top story is about Justin Bieber who is selling his grandmother's car and using the money to build a skate park in his hometown. Gabrielle said: "He's amazing. When you're down, and you put his song on, it makes you feel dead happy."

Jessica added: "He's gorgeous, really talented and inspiring." The best friends, who take each others' name endings and refer to themselves as Jessielle and Gabbica, said they were also "excited to meet the news deadline at 2.30pm."

1222: At Kesteven and Sleaford High School in Lincolnshire, the school's Young Journalist Academy are busy researching, writing and recording articles. Abby, aged 14, and Alice, aged 15, from Year 10 say that there are about 10 articles being written on a range of topics.

Their own particular story is about what girls find attractive in boys, saying that it's all about personality rather than looks! They hope to have their stories completed by 1230.

1217: Will, 13 and Sam, 14 are going to be the main presenters for Tendring Technology College's bulletin later today.

As well as preparing their cues to introduce the five reports being produced, they have been helping the other reporters by checking scripts and making sure they are all organised to hit the deadline!

Will says his top presenting tips are to "stay relaxed and to try and make sure your focused" and Sam says it is good to practice reading your lines before you go live!

Teacher Ms Burley says she is "really pleased" with how the day is going and her reporting team are particularly enjoying taking over the school's new media facilities and turning it into a newsroom for the day.

They are also benefiting from some great equipment and extra help from older students.

Top interviewing tips from JLS

1150: As well as being a Practice News Day, today is also the day when Sport Relief is launching, giving schools another potential topic to report on. If you are planning on a report on the charity or any local events, why not read our guide to reporting on Sport Relief?

The news that JLS are to record the official Sport Relief song this year - it's called Proud, and is available as a download form 18 March - gives us another excuse to flag up our interviewing masterclass and this lovely video of top tips from Aston, Oritsé, JB and Marvin themselves.

School Reporters at the velodrome in Wales
The School Reporters travelled to the velodrome in Newport
1133: School Reporters from Duffryn High School in Newport caught up with para-cyclist Mark Colbourne on Tuesday. Mark was training in the Wales National Velodrome ahead of the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles, the very last opportunity to earn qualification points for the London Paralympic Games.

The students were able to ask Mark about what motivated him to take up para-cycling, after his previous career as part of GB's able-bodied volleyball team was ended after a paragliding accident. Mark spoke about being inspired by his daughter, as well as explaining how you don't need good "bum muscles" to ride a bike!

Tendring Technology College pupils play with Lego!
Tendring Technology College pupils play with Lego!
1116: One report being worked on by students at Tendring Technology College in Essex is about whether playing with Lego make you smarter! As part of their report the School Reporters are going to attempt a Lego challenge!

1108: Year 8 pupils at Brentside High School in Ealing are busy creating their news reports. So far they have done a live broadcast which will be streamed on the school website and they are now putting their stories on the school blog.

The School Reporters with Gail's Olympic medal
The School Reporters with a real Olympic medal
1056: Olympic silver medalist Gail Emms visited Desborough School in Maidenhead on Tuesday. She gave a badminton masterclass with some Year 7 pupils and School Reporters were there to cover the event.

They interviewed Gail and asked her about what it was like to represent her country. She also told them how she hopes to encourage young people to get involved in sport. She even let them hold her Olympic medal, which she won at the Athens Games in 2004!

1050: About 30 Year 8 pupils are involved in the Practice News Day at Malbank School in Cheshire, and they're working on three main stories this morning.

One group is doing a preview of the school show that opens next month, Disco Inferno; another group is interviewing the head of PE for a piece about the local football team who have started a community outreach programme; and for the third story, School Reporters are getting the reaction of pupils and teachers on giraffe-hunting as a sport.

Teacher Mr Batty said: "If they can work like this today, I'm sure the final News Day is going to go really well."

1041: Sir John Talbot's Technology College have 20 School Reporters reporting in teams on topics including healthy and safety in PE lessons, the Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee and the BBC's Stargazing project.

All pupils have been out filming and interviewing this morning and an editorial meeting is just about to start before final filming continues. The school's headteacher will be watching the output at 1430!

1029: Quick update from the reporting team at Clyst Vale Community College in Devon. They are choosing the stories they are going to report on, with the range of topics including local pub closures and teenagers' views on politics.

And one student, Lucy, has already described the day as "magical" - and it's not even 10.30 yet!

Pupils from Bannockburn High School go through the newspapers
Going through the newspapers is a great way of finding stories
1009: The young reporters from Bannockburn High School met on Wednesday lunchtime to make their final decision on new news stories for today's Practice News Day. They've decided to work on:

• PIP implants and the possible future consequences for plastic surgery
• Get shirty design competition to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goal 5: reducing Maternal Mortality part of the work of our Global Student Forum group
• School uniform clarification causes outcry!

Sounds like a nice mix of stories there... let's see what the reports are like!

The St Aidan's reporting team start the day
Miss Taylor, Jodie, Tanisha and Miss Haworth start the day's reporting plans
0956: School Reporters at St Aidan's CE Technology College in Lancashire are already getting their teeth into the stories of the day. They are looking at the wreck of the Costa Concordia, Blackpool FC's new signings, a local story about a child's grave that was vandalised and the new planet found by Stargazing Live viewers among others.

0945: Special Olympian Greg Silvester is talking to pupils at Penn Fields School in Wolverhampton about gymnastics and winning medals at the Special Olympic Games. Sounds like an interesting day!

Interviewing masterclass

0935: One thing we're all very excited about here at School Report HQ is our new interviewing masterclass, with Radio 1 entertainment reporter Natalie Jamieson sharing her secrets and getting a helping hand from JLS!

0923: As well as the Practice News Days, which should be kicking off at schools all around the UK just about now, we'll also be flagging up other news making and planning that School Reporters have been getting up to since the start of term.

So well done to School Reporters at Stretford Grammar School and Loreto High School, who visited the BBC's MediaCity in Salford to work with mentors and come up with story ideas. We're looking forward to seeing the finished result!

Students and teachers from Holyhead School in Handsworth with the visiting Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskagee Airmen with the School Reporters at Holyhead School
0910: Some schools have already been up to some news reporting in the new year, with Holyhead School in Birmingham lucky enough to get to interview former pilots from the historic Tuskegee Airmen squadron.

Lt Col Alexander Jefferson and Le Roy Gillead visited Holyhead School in Birmingham to talk to pupils about their experiences during World War II and the racism they encountered being the first black American fighter pilots to serve in the war during a time when segregation was still commonplace in the USA.

0855: Good morning everyone, and welcome to our coverage of the third BBC News School Report Practice News Day of the year. We've got schools all over the UK taking part, and we can't wait to see what stories and issues everyone is reporting on today. This page is the place to keep up to date with all the news that School Reporters are finding out about, so stay tuned!

School Report latest: January 2011
25 Jan 12 |  Student reports
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19 Jan 12 |  School Report 2012
December Practice News Day as it happened
19 Dec 11 |  School Report
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
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24 Oct 11 |  School Report
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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