School Report 2015/16: Starting out with School Report?

Welcome to School Report - the BBC's initiative which gives 11-16 year olds the chance to make the news for real!

If you are new to the project this is our guide to getting the most out of School Report and ensuring that the project is a success in your school.


1. When you have joined our mailing list, you will start to receive emails from us helping you through the project. If you are interested in taking part in School Report 2015-16 please complete the form and we will contact you this term.

2. Complete your essential School Report paperwork. Even if you have taken part in the project before, these forms need to be completed every year your school is involved. Get at least Form 1 back to us as soon as you can!

This lets us know that you are taking part in the project this year, and entitles you to use unique School Report branding, to appear on the School Report map, to take part in monthly Practice News Days, and receive one-to-one advice from BBC members of staff, either by phone, email or sometimes in person.

3. Get planning! Familiarise yourself with the project - have a look at our lesson plans and practical tips for teachers - check out our teacher resources page for links to video masterclasses and reporting guides.

You can also learn more about how School Report can support the curriculum in a range of subjects

4. Get your IT gurus on board, and prepare a dedicated web page for your students' news on your school website. Send us the URL, and we will link to it from the School Report map when you have returned your paperwork. This is how the BBC broadcasts your students' work.

There are various ways in which to present the student reports online, and here are a few examples of different School Report web pages for you to take a look at. You could opt for:

5. School Report runs several Practice News Days (PNDs) in the months running up to News Day itself. These usually take place in November, December, January and February. Exact dates will be confirmed nearer the time.

These are not compulsory at all, but a chance for a dress rehearsal or to include extra students in the project. They are a great way to discover what works and what doesn't and to uncover technical bugs, before the big News Day. If you want an idea of what to do, have a look at our News Day lesson plan.


1. Start working towards News Day (10 March 2016)! Here are a few questions to have a think about. You might not need or want to answer them all, but it should give you some food for thought.

Image caption Some students were able to interview England football manager Roy Hodgson for the 2015 News Day
  • Do you have a team of reporters? Have they been assigned roles? Have you booked a room for News Day? Have you arranged cover for lessons? Will you leave the school grounds, and if so have you done a risk assessment?
  • Will your students prepare any news reports or "features" in advance, or create all of your reports on the day?
  • Will you film on a camera/record audio/write text/take photos? And have you booked the right equipment?
  • Think about guests - do your students want to interview anyone? If so, who? Are they available? Do you want to approach celebrities to take part?
  • Are you twinned with a school abroad? Do you want to work with them?

Get all of your plans in place so that you are not stressed on the day!

2. Make sure you have obtained parental consent for every student creating or contributing to news reports, including any under-16s who may be interviewees. Once you have these consents on file return Form 2 to us as soon as possible. This allows us to link to your school website and consider your students for potential reporting opportunities where available.

3. February brings an arrival of School Report goodies! Keep an eye out for your free School Report lanyards and press cards, pens and don't forget to download posters and microphone cubes to make sure everyone at school knows that your students are official BBC News School Reporters. If you haven't returned your forms you won't receive any freebies... so be warned!

Image caption What equipment will your students use, and have you booked this in advance?

4. Generate some publicity. Tell your Head and the other staff at your school, your local newspaper and of course us at BBC News School Report what you are planning. Make your students' voices as loud as you can (metaphorically speaking!).

School Report has produced a guide to help with some practical tips for promoting your stories and involvement in School Report to an even wider audience.

5. News Day - 10 March 2016

Join hundreds of other schools across the UK making the news for real! Make your classroom feel like a newsroom - don't forget to give countdowns, monitor for breaking news, hold editorial meetings to discuss your running order and make your news by 14:00 GMT.

Upload your reports to your school's School Report web page by 16:00 GMT.

And tune in to the BBC, where we'll be sending our audience to your websites, keeping in touch with you all day, broadcasting some of your reports on TV, on radio and online, and publishing your "shout-outs" to your School Reporters on our website. It will be an exhilarating, exhausting and rewarding day!

6. After News Day

Let us know how it all went and make sure you give each of your School Reporters their special School Report certificates!

You can keep reporting through the summer term - do let us know if you are doing this.