Pupils at two Bradford high schools are being given a chance to have their say to millions across Yorkshire and the UK. The students have been taking their first steps in journalism with a little help from their friends at the BBC!
Laisterdyke students on air with Harry!
Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 was BBC News School Report Day where 100 schools up and down the country had the chance to make their own news at school and broadcast it on the internet. But, here in West Yorkshire, it also marks the beginning of a unique partnership between staff and pupils at Hanson School, Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College, BBC Newsnight and BBC Yorkshire.
It's called Bradford United - and that's what it is! It brings two schools from different parts of the city and the BBC closer together. After all, did you know the BBC has its very own office in Bradford city centre, appropriately enough at the National Media Museum. That's where this website is put together!
A group of fifteen-year-olds from both schools are being trained to put together TV news reports on some of the issues which are important to them. They will be asking the question, "What's it like to be 15?" This is an age group which the BBC believes is generally under served by the media.
"It's also an age group that is perhaps a little misunderstood," says BBC Look North video journalist Anneli Shearsmith. Together with fellow Look North video journalist Anna Crossley and John Rigby, a senior producer from BBC Newsnight, she has been helping the school students turn their ideas into TV reports.
For the Laisterdyke students the big issue is drugs. As Sabrina says in the film: "There's this whole scene in the area which is really upsetting. You get a lot of flash cars cruising up and down the streets. You can see the guys wearing their big coats and the bling. It's the type of lifestyle everyone wants, quick and easy money. We know what they're up to and we hate it."
Sabah asks: "Drugs and bullying, it's like the chicken and the egg, which came first?" While their film may not provide the answer, it gives the students the opportunity to investigate what measures are being taken to stop drug dealing in their area.
Hanson students in the TV gallery
Although they are not far apart on the map, 80% of the pupils at Hanson are White while at Laisterdyke 91% of pupils come from the city's Asian communities and so it is perhaps too easy to see the schools as being very different. The Hanson students have been looking at the issue of stereotyping and they've decided to throw any such labels away and wait until they meet the Laisterdyke students during the project.
The Hanson students feel that, even with school uniforms, it's easy to be seen as part of a particular group. They talked to class mates who they thought could be described as 'Chavs' or 'Alternatives'. Both groups identified celebrity role models and the reporting team discovered that not all of their class mates were happy to be labelled in this way.
While these first reports have been shown on BBC Look North and on Newsnight as well as right in the heart of the city on the Bradford Big Screen on School Report Day, Anna, Anneli and John will be working with the students at the two schools for the next 18 months.
The BBC comes to Laisterdyke
And it doesn't stop there! Not only will we be following their progress right here on the BBC Bradford and West Yorkshire website but we'll also be bringing you the online diaries of some of those who are taking part.
Anneli says: "This is the first piece of television any of the students have ever had anything to do with. As the project progresses, the amount of help and guidance required from the staff at the BBC will reduce. And over the 18 month project, the students will gradually learn to story board their ideas, write all their own scripts, film everything themselves and hopefully edit it together too."
Helen Thomas, who is in charge of everything the BBC does in Yorkshire (TV, radio, websites - you name it!), is very excited by the new project. She says: "Fifteen-year-olds as a whole are a little misunderstood - they certainly don't have much of a voice in the media but have a lot to say and have some very strong views, ideas and thoughts about what affects them and their communities. The project is giving this group a voice and an outlet to air their views."
HANSON HIGH SCHOOL - Daniel, Rob, Callan, Emily, Charlotte, Rowanna, Pardeep, Danielle, Manpreet and Josh.
LAISTERDYKE BUSINESS AND ENTERPRISE COLLEGE - Sabrina, Sabah, Fareed and Shamyla.
last updated: 22/04/2008 at 14:22