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BBC School Report follows the torch relay

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Helen Shreeve Helen Shreeve | 10:30 UK time, Thursday, 26 July 2012

"Legacy" is a word that you can't escape at the moment - and when it comes to finding out what young people think about the Olympics and Paralympics, BBC News School Report has been giving pupils the chance to report on everything to do with the 2012 Games.

Lord Coe and School reporters


With the torch relay coming to a close, School Report's unique news deployment - involving a 90,000-strong team of reporters - continues to tell the story of 2012 from the perspective of young people.

For the past five years, School Report has helped 11-16-year-olds report their own news. But with 2012 being such a special year, we decided to try something new. I wrote to every secondary head teacher in the UK, inviting their schools to join the BBC's 2012 reporting team. More than 1,000 head teachers signed up, committing about 90,000 pupils to the cause.

Since our News Day in March - featuring everyone from the prime minister to Elbow - schools have continued to file reports from all the main events of the summer, including the Diamond Jubilee and Euro 2012 and all 70 days of the torch relay. As Lord Coe put it: "School reporters have followed us every step of the way."

Here are some of my personal highlights - and of course there's much more on the BBC School Report site.

Jane Hill and school reporters
Mounts Bay Academy and Cape Cornwall School in Cornwall got exclusive access to RNAS Culdrose, where the Olympic flame arrived in the UK. Making a film and appearing live with presenter Jane Hill on the News Channel, the reporters met the air traffic controllers who had first sight of the torch, and stood on the tarmac where the plane landed.

Students at William Brookes School in Much Wenlock had a special reason to be excited when the torch came to their school. Their town is the place which inspired the modern Olympics thanks to a certain Dr William Penny Brookes. When the flame arrived, school reporters Tara and Zach brought the experience to life, recording their own commentary on an iPhone.

On World Sports Day in June, school reporters were in Sheffield as Lord Coe returned to his old school. It was the second interview he'd given to students from Handsworth Grange Community Sports College. On our Big School Trip to the Olympic Park in March, he gave them the exclusive that he was running with the torch in his hometown.

Harry from Charlton School has been one of our star reporters this year, covering the 2012 story all year. In March he was at the Olympic Park grilling Lord Coe about the legacy of the Games for children with disabilities and when the flame came near his school, he and fellow reporter Charlie went out to cover the event.

Students from The Bridge Academy in Hackney caused a stir with their reporting, with BBC Sport's James Pearce tweeting: "These kids have given you an exclusive..." - the very first pictures of the BBC's Olympic studio.

Schools have broken up for the summer now but some school reporters will be carrying on during the Games. Look out for their reports on the BBC School Report site and on BBC World, Radio 5 live, News Channel and Newsround.

Helen Shreeve is editor of BBC News School Report.


  • Comment number 1.

    Well, this really does take me back to my school days.

    It reads much like the essays we were asked to write in early September.

    "What I Did During The Summer Holidays".

  • Comment number 2.

    Very nice. I am so pleased that these interested students will be given actual experience in the field; it will increase enthusiasm for those whose calling this may be, and decease enthusiasm for those who can rule out this sort of position as either a job or life career. Very nice.

  • Comment number 3.

    '. what young people think .. the chance to report..

    One presumes 'the chance' runs through the BBC pre-pro filter going in & then passes via the BBC edit suite on the way out?

    It's just mine have been asking me why some stuff they see, on Horrible Histories and the like, doesn't seem quite the same as what they have been taught elsewhere.

    Wrong kind of kids on the line?

  • Comment number 4.

    Schools are closed.

  • Comment number 5.

    I wish SABC in South Africa would take up such initiatives and engage with schools. Given the current education crisis where a province-load of kids don't have textbooks 6 months into the academic year, I doubt this would ever be a priority. Perhaps BBC can lend Lerato Mbele on secondment to show how it could be done!

  • Comment number 6.

    @Sizwe M - I think the BBC has always done an excellent job in terms of engaging learners. The problem in South Africa is far more severe than anything their local broadcaster can fix. What needs to happen there is government putting their money and resources to back their own education strategy which clearly is not the case.

  • Comment number 7.

    When I was at school, doing 10 "O" levels, and then rigorous "A" levels, the timetable really was pretty full.

    I found limited out of school time to pursue even my own interests, with the homework.

    It would seem things are easier now, though...

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Helen, I read an interesting article on sports event legacies covering the Olympics, FIFA World Cups and the like - it doesn't paint a very promising picture in terms of long term benefits. Would be curious to see if BBC News School Report indicates more than a fleeting boost in national pride as the London 2012 legacy.

  • Comment number 10.

    @#9 Craig Smith, I believe that a boost in national pride is part of the London 2012 legacy - lord knows we need it right now! The article you mention did indicate some positive benefits in past Olympic cities by the way, e.g. in Barcelona - am optimistic that enough thought has been given in terms of longer term benefits for London too (fingers crossed!)


  • Comment number 11.

    I think the BBC News School Report is an excellent initiative in terms of engaging with students - not quite sure how you would class it as part of the "legacy" though - unless you mean the memories these school kids will have of having seen the torch for a few minutes. I think legacy is necessarily something more impactful and longer term- like urban regeneration projects related to the Olympics

  • Comment number 12.

    My daughter plays in her school samba band and they were delighted to be asked to play for the Torch as it came through Cheshire...

    ... my Communications Technology class were a bit surprised when instead of talking signal theory and TCP/IP I had the live feed from the BBC up on the big screen...

  • Comment number 13.

    @Megan - lol, lucky class. I am sure your daughter will treasure these memories - anybody who says that those events aren't part of the Olympics legacy are talking out of their hats!

  • Comment number 14.

    What an amazing end to the torch relay this evening - the opening ceremony was nothing short of spectacular... certainly the things legacies are made of!

  • Comment number 15.

    could you please create a filter on the webpage to eliminate all things olympic, I am sure I am not the only one to be fed up with it all already, very nice if you are interested, but to have it shovelled down your throat 23 hours a day is all a bit off-putting, it is a bit like religion, the more they try to force feed us with it, the more we want to eliminate it from our life.

  • Comment number 16.

    15. At 13:24 28th Jul 2012, alan loughlin


    I go running myself, I hope Mo Farah takes gold, but I agree with you 100%.

    In fact I'd go further: could we have a comments page that deals only with matters that could reasonably have a material bearing on everyone's physical, financial or judicial standing, please? (Politics, law, environment etc.).


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