Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 14:00 UK

Students' TV news goes public

Yusrah, 13, and Joanna, 12, record their news report

Students from two London schools made their own TV reports, for publication on the internet, as part of a BBC project to engage young people with the news.

BBC News School Report 2006/7 encourages 12 and 13-year-olds to make the news in their schools and share it with a wide audience by publishing it on a school website.

Ten students from Northolt High School and 16 students from Brentside High School, spent New Day at Ealing City Learning Centre preparing reports to be published on the CLC website.

Harry, 12, from Northolt High School said: "This has been more meaningful than a normal lesson because if you know other people will be viewing your work, you do your best to make it perfect. I've reached a standard today I've never achieved before."

BBC guidance

Before writing their own news, students watched a video on the School Report website, in which BBC News presenter Huw Edwards shares his journalistic tips.

BBC journalist Lynne Jones gives editorial guidance to Katrina and Iris, both 12
BBC journalist Lynne Jones gives editorial guidance to Katrina and Iris, both 12

In addition to a virtual BBC presence in the classroom, the students also benefited from the input of BBC journalist Lynne Jones.

The deputy editor of the BBC's business consumer TV programme, Working Lunch, is one of the 60 BBC journalists involved in School Report.

She said: "My role, as a mentor, is to gently guide the students as they are making the news. I was pleasantly surprised by their choice of stories which weren't stereotypical.

"They didn't only cover entertainment and music news, they were also interested in a report about supermarkets selling alcohol to under-age children."

Ealing City Learning Centre manager, Alim Shaikh, said: "The students were motivated for the whole day, even before I had introduced the recording equipment.

"One reason for this is the BBC's involvement in the project. Being addressed by Huw Edwards and having a BBC journalist in the classroom made them feel special."

Technology

The students used a piece of video presentation software called Visual Communicator 2, which allowed them to simultaneously read the news from a prompt on their computer and record themselves using a webcam.

Ryan, 12, rehearses his TV news report

They were also able to add opening and closing titles, a short piece of introductory music, captions showing their names and graphics.

Head of Media Studies at Northolt High School, Emma Merrygold, said: "Using technology like this, to produce a real outcome, sparks students' interest. Having a deadline to meet is another motivating factor."

The students from Brentside High School had another reason for meeting the deadline - their school bus would depart without them if they were late leaving the CLC.

Curriculum and work-related skills

English teacher, Vesna Klein, from Brentside High School, said: "It's great that this project focuses on Year 8s. At Key Stage 3, it's often the students taking SATS, in Years 7 and 9, who get the attention."

She added: "Today has given the students an opportunity to develop their literacy skills especially drafting and presenting. It's not often they have the chance to hear themselves speak. Recording and broadcasting their news gives them the chance to review and improve their work."

Head teacher of Northolt High School, Chris Modi, said: "It's a fantastic opportunity which adds to students' self esteem and self confidence. It increases their work-related learning while developing skills linked to the curriculum."

Project overview

Sixty UK schools, including Northolt High School and Brentwood High School, are involved in the 2006/7 pilot stage of the project, which the BBC hope to extend to all secondary schools in the future.

Thursday's event was the third "News Day" since the project began earlier this year.

Schools around the country will be taking part in several more News Days in the run up to the national News Day on 22 March 2007, in which all 60 schools will simultaneously make and publish their news on the internet.

For more information about School Report, visit the website using the link in the top-right corner of this page.


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