BBC News School Report: Frequently asked questions

How School Report can benefit your students

To help you find out more about BBC News School Report and how you can get involved, we've prepared answers to some FAQs.

HOW DO THE STUDENTS BENEFIT?

The main aim of BBC News School Report is to interest young people in news of all sorts, and the world around them, by giving them the chance to make their own news.

AWARD NOMINATIONS

  • School Report won 2013 'Journalist of the Year' European Diversity Award, in recognition of the diversity and inclusive nature of the project and content produced.
  • The project was recognised across Europe in winning the MEDEA Professional Production Award 2010 and Overall Award Winner 2010.
  • School Report won the Royal Television Society (RTS) award for Innovation in Education 2008. It was shortlisted for the Innovation in Journalism award 2007.
  • In 2007 and 2008 the project was nominated for a Children's Bafta in the Secondary Learning category.

It is also an opportunity for students to inform a real audience, via BBC programmes and web pages, about the stories which are important to them.

Many teachers have said that taking part in School Report supports all sorts of learning for instance by helping students develop their ability to work in teams, manage their time, conduct independent enquiries, communicate effectively and think critically, while independent evaluations and studies have also backed the project.

It is also a chance for students to discuss the responsibilities involved in broadcasting their work to a world wide audience.

HOW DO I JOIN YOUR MAILING LIST?

Please use the mailing list page and a member of the School Report team will contact you with information about how to take part.

WHO CAN TAKE PART IN SCHOOL REPORT?

UK students aged 11-16, and in the Year Groups indicated by the table below, are eligible to take part in School Report.

AGES OF STUDENTS ELIGIBLE FOR SCHOOL REPORT
Student age England and Wales Northern Ireland Scotland
11 to 12 Year 7 Year 8 P7
12 to 13 Year 8 Year 9 S1
13 to 14 Year 9 Year 10 S2
14 to 15 Year 10 Year 11 S3
15 to 16 Year 11 Year 12 S4

Older students may contribute to the project by mentoring 11 to 16-year-olds and there are some supporting resources on this website.

Schools may of course use the resources on this website with students of any age. However the BBC will only feature news made by 11 to 16-year-olds.

Accessibility

The BBC would eventually like all 11 to 16-year-olds to be have the chance to take part in School Report and therefore School Report is designed to be part of mainstream lessons, rather than a separate club. How the project is run is up to each school.

For some students, taking part in School Report might spark a desire to work in news, but for most it will help equip them with a more general set of skills, knowledge and understanding.

Adaptability

The resources on this website are designed to be adapted by teachers to suit their particular students across a range of subjects. If you have adapted the resources, please contact the School Report team so we can share them with other teaches via this website.

The scripts of the Huw Edwards videos, which accompany each lesson plan, and a subtitled version of the School Report Explained video are available. Please contact the School Report team to request a copy.

How many students?

This is entirely up to each school although the BBC would like to encourage as many students as possible to be involved. Some teachers have run activities with a whole year group, others with a class, and some with a handful of students.

WHAT DO PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS HAVE TO DO?

  1. Join our mailing list to receive regular emails about the project. You only need to complete this stage once to be on our database, so if you are already receiving emails from us you don't need to fill in this form again.
  2. Return the Head Teacher Partnership Agreement (Form 1) as soon as possible to tell us that you are taking part in the project. This entitles you to:
  3. Return the Head Teacher Confirmation of Consent (Form 2) when you have obtained individual consents for your students creating or contributing to School Report content.
  4. Prepare a dedicated web page for your students' news on your school website, and send us the link. We will then link to it from the School Report map.
  5. News Day! Arrange for a news-making activity to take place in your school on 27 March 2014.
Lesson plans

Teachers are encouraged to use resources on this website to help their students prepare for a UK-wide News Day in March, when the BBC aims to link to the school web pages from this site, creating a world-wide audience for students' work. On the News Day, many schools will also be featured on BBC programmes and other BBC websites.

The core resource is a series of lesson plans, which explains the six-step news-making process. Each one-hour lesson contains a short video in which the BBC's Huw Edwards shares his journalistic advice. Other resources are also available for teachers to adapt and use.

Agreement and consent

Head teachers of participating schools must formally agree to do the following:

  • Take part in the UK-wide News Day in March which includes publishing student-made news on a public-facing school website by 16:00 GMT
  • Make sure what appears on their website is safe and legal, including obtaining parental permission
  • Share the learning from the project, free of charge, to others.
Safe and legal

As the publisher, or broadcaster, the school is responsible for ensuring this material published on their school website is safe and legal.

Schools without a school website can publish content on another appropriate education website such as one belonging to an City Learning Centre. However, please remember that the school is still responsible for checking that the content is appropriate.

Safeguarding children is one aspect of this and schools must ensure the students who appear on the schools websites have parental permission and that only their first names are used.

Guidance on child protection and other safety and legal requirements are available on this website.

Practice News Days

Schools can rehearse what they will be doing on School Report News Day by taking part in a practice News Day - a chance to rehearse what you will do on the March News Day. There are no further Practice News Days for 2013-14, but you can take a look at what happened on the final one in February here.

Schools may also run practice News Days on any date they choose. Please contact the School Report team to let them know.

HOW DOES SCHOOL REPORT RELATE TO THE CURRICULUM?

Teachers and specialist advisors have commented on the extent to which School Report relates to the aims, skills and programmes of study of the statutory curricula and educational guidelines for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

More information about curriculum relevance

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO SCHOOLS NEED?

The equipment required depends on how each school chooses to broadcast the news.

A simple way of taking part, which requires a computer and a school website, is to publish a text-based article on the school website on School Report News Day.

Schools who decide to make audio or video news will need additional equipment. However, the project is designed so that schools are able to use the resources they already have.

In addition, some schools are working with partner organisations such as City Learning Centres or specialist media schools, who can provide technical help and support.

The focus of any help from BBC staff will be journalism, although depending on their field of expertise, they may be able to give practical advice. However the BBC will not be able to supply equipment.

CAN SCHOOLS OUTSIDE THE UK TAKE PART?

Schools outside the UK are able to take part as long as they are twinned with a participating school within the UK, and both schools are working together on the project.

For more information on twinning, visit the BBC World Class website.

The registered UK school should contact the School Report team to let them know about its international connections.

HOW CAN I CONTACT THE SCHOOL REPORT TEAM?

Please get in touch with the School Report team via the Contact us page or by sending an e-mail to schoolreport@bbc.co.uk

WHY DOES THE BBC RUN SCHOOL REPORT?

The project aims to give young people from across the UK the chance to make their own news to real deadlines and broadcast it to real audiences. This is because our first public purpose under the Charter is to "sustain citizenship and civil society", in part by providing an impartial news service for all. School Report helps to fulfil this in three ways:

  • By engaging young people with news
  • By bringing their voices and stories to a wider audience
  • By sharing some of the public service values behind content creation, such as fairness, accuracy, and impartiality since so many young people are content creators and distributors.

HOW IS SCHOOL REPORT RUN?

School Report is a partnership project. While the BBC provides the overall organisation, teachers run the project in schools and its success is dependant on their professional expertise.

Schools take part because they see the educational value to their pupils.

WHAT CHILD PROTECTION MEASURES DOES THE BBC HAVE IN PLACE FOR THE PROJECT?

The School Report team take child protection very seriously. All mentors have a basic criminal record disclosure and undertake training in accordance with the BBC's guidelines on child protection.

We ask that schools always ensure BBC staff are accompanied and do not use children's surnames in their reports. We also require parental consent for all children taking part in the project

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