School Reporters working in a radio studio



The resources on these pages are designed to show how the BBC's editorial values are embedded in School Report.

You'll also find resources you can use as extension activities for your class or as advanced options for older students.

The BBC values are at the heart of all the journalism - be it politics, sport, health, entertainment or any other area - produced across TV, radio and online.


  • Don't forget the School Report team is always on hand to help and advise in the event of any issues or uncertainty

Concepts such as truth and accuracy, impartiality and fairness are vital cornerstones for BBC journalists and these resources will help pupils understand why these values matter more than ever in the digital era.

In addition to fair and accurate reporting, it is important for journalists to stay within the law.

Libel, contempt of court and copyright breaches are all potentially serious - not to mention expensive - issues and don't forget that the school is responsible for the material published as part of School Report.


  • Trust
  • Truth and accuracy
  • Impartiality
  • Editorial integrity and independence
  • Serving the public interest
  • Fairness
  • Balancing the right to report with respect for privacy
  • Balancing the right to report with protection of the vulnerable
  • Safeguarding children
  • Transparency
  • Being accountable to the audience

We offer some essential legal advice to help you avoid any potential problems.

And when you've digested some of the key principles of the BBC values, why not set up your own editorial values for your School Report journalism? These are the golden rules that everyone in the team will sign up to.

The importance of safeguarding children is key to a project like School Report, which is why we insist on using only first names.

BBC staff all have an Editorial Guidelines book, more than 350 pages in length, to help them make the sometimes difficult judgements that arise out of making news and programmes.

Don't worry, you won't have to digest all that information for School Report!

Reading the resources on this page will help give you an overview of the main issues you should think about while working on the project.


Guide: Keeping your news safe and legal

It's important to make sure all your content is suitable to be published online.

Published reports are not allowed to unfairly damage someone's reputation. It's what is legally called "defamation".

The libel law in the UK places the onus on the defendant to prove the truth of what they have reported - so repeating the juicy celebrity gossip someone read in a magazine is probably not a good idea.

Equally issues like contempt of court need to be taken seriously. Trials can collapse if unsuitable material is published so we advise against covering ongoing criminal cases.

This guide outlines some issues you need to be aware of and offers advice on keeping your news safe.

For more information on legal issues, the BBC College of Journalism offers some detailed explanations of:

And if you are unsure of whether to cover a story or not, you can contact the School Report team for advice.


Video guide: Impartiality

Impartiality requires a journalist to actively seek out and weigh the relevant arguments on any issue and to present them fairly and without personal bias.

But it doesn't mean you have to give all arguments equal weight. If man A says 2+2=4 and man B insists 2+2=7, you don't have to report that both answers are equally valid!


Video guide: Truth and Accuracy

Truth and accuracy are among the most important values of all. If your audience cannot trust your reports as being truthful and accurate, they will find their news from elsewhere.

Find out more about how journalists deal with their obligation to be accurate when reporting a breaking news story.


Video guide: Accountability

The BBC is funded by the licence fee, so journalists have a particular responsibility to be accountable for the decisions they take and the reports they produce.

But all journalists ought to be accountable for their work - and that includes correcting mistakes. If you make a mistake during the course of your reporting, don't panic! All journalists make mistakes from time to time but it's about how you deal with it!

Think about the best way to rectify the error. Depending on the nature of the mistake, it might simply involve correcting the original story, or it might involve apologising directly to the person or company involved.

If it's misspelling a name or getting someone's age wrong, a correction to the original story should suffice. But if you have accused somebody of something which turns out not to be true, an apology and a new story detailing the real facts is essential.

Don't just leave your original story if it's factually incorrect or has other serious problems.

You can always refer to the School Report team for advice in this area.

This guide will explain the importance of being accountable, for you and your audience.


Video guide: Independence

Being independent is vital for BBC journalists. If the audience knew that a business story had been obtained because the journalist was given a nice freebie by the company involved, how much faith could they have in it?

And sometimes journalists come under pressure from interested parties to change their stories, or to move them up or down the agenda.

This guide helps explain how to stay independent when reporting - and how to respond in the event of any problems.

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Teacher resources

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School Report resources

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