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Friday 21 January 2011, 16:10
It's just nine weeks to go until Thursday March 24 BBC News School Report's 'News Day' when schools across the UK turn their classrooms into newsrooms and thousands of 11 to 14-year-olds become BBC School Reporters, producing real news for a real audience.
We're in our fifth year and we've worked with over 1000 schools, placing BBC mentors in many of them, supporting and encouraging students to engage with news.
Yesterday was a 'Practice News Day' for the schools taking part and we gathered stories and updated a live feed on the School Report website. School Reporters covered a wide variety of stories including the dangers of texting while walking, how teenagers are stereotyped by some shop assistants and the new changes to education.
I spoke to Daniel, 15 from Bolton School Boys Division during the day to get an update from his school. He's a pupil mentor on the project, "It was chaos at first because of network issues, we had people fixing software all around us but in the end it did get fixed... I like the rush to get it all finished in time and think through the consequences if something doesn't work." As well as the challenge of finding the facts on a story, that's exactly why researchers say School Report works so well - it's authentic. On News Day every school taking part publishes their news on their website and we link to them all from an interactive map.
School Report helps the BBC fulfil its public purpose to "sustain citizenship and civil society". It does this in three ways: by engaging young people with news, by bringing their voices and stories to a wider audience and by sharing some of the BBC's public service values such as fairness, accuracy and impartiality since so many young people are distributing their own content now.
Yesterday Education Secretary Michael Gove announced that he would review England's national curriculum. School Report has been designed to work with any level of ability, any group size, and with any of the curricula in the 4 nations of the UK so I'm confident we'll stay relevant whatever the review finds.
Registration for this year's News Day is closed but sign up for next year or try out our teaching resources. On our website you can find out more about what we do and see the content produced at last year's News Day.
Let me know what you think by commenting below.
Helen Shreeve is Editor of BBC News School Report
Follow us on Twitter: BBCSchoolReport