Teacher resources: Story ideas for School Report 2013

Some news stories come out of nowhere - but many focus on planned events and ongoing issues and concerns which are always of interest to audiences.

Here are a few ideas and dates for your diaries in the run up to School Report News Day on 21 March. You can see our full planning diary here.

You can use them as a focus for your reports or as starting points for ideas and brainstorm discussions. Remember, it is just food for thought: one of the strengths of School Report is that pupils set their own news agenda.


In the wake of the ongoing horsemeat scandal, do pupils at your school know what's in their school dinners?

The Food Standards Agency have found positive horsemeat DNA in cottage pies delivered to 47 schools in Lancashire.

Education boards across England and Northern Ireland have taken precautions by removing beef burgers from school menus amid the concern over horsemeat and food labelling. Take a look at this useful Q&A about the horsemeat scandal.

Staffordshire County Council has also removed beef products, replacing them with different meats like turkey.


Using the internet is part of everyday life now.

Pupils from Tarporley High School report on their Twitter 'addiction'

But are there issues you want to investigate about how to stay safe online?

Safer Internet Day on 5 February, was a global awareness day which aimed to help everyone - but particularly young people - use the web safely and responsibly.

Should young people be on Twitter or Facebook? Do they realise how much of their life is made public, available for all to see?

What about issues of cyber-bullying? How can this be prevented?


What are the pressures on young people to look a certain way? Are magazines giving unrealistic ideals for pupils?

Take a look at this report on the launch of a body confidence guide to help parents explain the issues to their children.

In February Eating Disorders Awareness Week set out to increase understanding of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating.

People of any age can be affected, but girls and young women are most at risk.

Is this an issue that's talked about enough? Is there any extra help that young people could benefit from?


The legacy from last year's London Olympics and Paralympics is a huge topic - with all sorts of aspects that could be covered for School Report.

What's happened in your area? Are there new facilities being built? Or have things not developed as you would have hoped?

Has it inspired you to get more involved with sports?

Here you can see students from St Angela's Ursuline School in Newham talk about how the Games inspired them.


Maybe there is an inspirational sports person or team within your school. Or you could take a look at your local clubs.

You can also use some major sporting fixtures as a starting point.

Llantwit Major School in Wales reported on gymnastics


International Women's Day fell on 8 March, with events around the world calling for equality.

So do men and women have equality and should they? Does your school have links to other countries around the world where society operates differently to the UK?


Apprentice and trainer operate machine Do students like the idea of apprenticeships?

Leaving school and becoming an apprentice - where you learn a skill while you work - used to be common in the mid 20th-century, but it fell out of favour.

Now there is a move to increase the numbers of apprentices - and National Apprenticeship Week is part of the project.

Maybe it could be a starting point for a report on what your options are when you leave school?


If stories such as the news of how experts identified the bones of England's King Richard III or the exploration of the planet Mars have intrigued you, it might be worth thinking about science-related topics for your News Day stories.

Research into medical diseases, the environment and space exploration are all fascinating subjects that provide journalists with a wide variety of stories.

Maybe National Science and Engineering Week, which starts on March 15, will provide you with some ideas.


The chancellor's 2012 Budget explained by School Reporters at Newcastle School for Boys

On Wednesday 20 March - the day before School Report News Day - Chancellor George Osborne will stand up in the House of Commons and deliver his Budget - in which he will spell out how the government plans to run the country's finances.

How are students directly affected? Do they know what the Budget is?

Has their local library closed? Are their parents worse off?


It is International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March.

It could be a chance to reflect on any issues of racism in the UK or elsewhere in the world. What about racism in sport? Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to crush racism in football, so that could be a starting point for a discussion.


School Report News Day 21 March is also the day of the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Justin Welby Justin Welby with be enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury on 21 March

He will take on the Church of England's most senior post at a ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral.

Bishop Welby will become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, replacing Rowan Williams who retired in December after 10 years in the role.

What place does religion, if any, have in the life of students?

How many different religions are represented in your school?


Is someone in your school a poet - but perhaps they do not know it? Well, in addition to being School Report News Day, 21 March is UNESCO's World Poetry Day.

Perhaps you could report the news in verse? Or you might want to consider what poetry means to teenagers, if anything.

How does rap music relate to poetry? Is it as valid an art form?


The news of HMV going into administration, could be a chance to look at how methods of buying music have changed.

Does anyone still buy CDs? What do they play their music on?


It could also spark a look at the changing high street, with stores like Blockbuster also going into administration.

Students could look at their local high street. How many shops are empty? What would they like to see in the local shopping strip?


Students are often fascinated by celebrities. So what makes a celebrity? What is life like for them?

Do students want to become famous themselves? Are any former students from your school celebrities?


Shadow health minister Diane Abbott has called for a revolution in sex education.

She believes that the rise of sexual bullying and "sexting" - where people send sexually explicit text messages - is a result of hyper-sexualisation.

This topic needs to be handled sensitively. Contact the School Report team if you want to discuss your idea.


How is technology changing pupils' lives? What technological advances can we expect in the future?

Can students imagine life without mobile phones?

These are just some ideas ahead of News Day. Hopefully they will provide some food for thought!

Lesson plans

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