School Report to work with Select Committee!

School Reporters to gain voice at Westminster

School Reporters will have a seat at the top table at Westminster after the influential Education Select Committee agreed to work with young people over the forthcoming year.

With a string of education stories hitting the headlines in recent months, access to the key figures at the heart of the committee will give School Reporters a real insight into changes which will have a direct impact on their future

Two plucky students from Westminster Academy went to the House of Commons to sit in on an Education Select Committee hearing as MPs investigated last year's GCSE grading row.

When School Reporter Fara caught up with committee chairman and MP Graham Stuart, she asked how the story will affect her when she sits her exams. Mr Stuart said he thinks "more care will be taken in future when changes are made to exams".

He also added that for some people last year's chaos was "like a car crash waiting to happen".

John then tackled Mr Stuart over why he had agreed to work with School Report over the coming year. Mr Stuart said it was because young people should have more of a voice - "not just grey people like me".

MPs on the select committee have agreed to allow School Reporters access to the committee over the coming year. School Report will be following up on with the committee when they hold their next inquiry, so watch this space for more news.

Twigg concern at career advice changes

Meanwhile, students at Guru Nanak Sikh Academy hit education issues head on when Labour's Education spokesman Stephen Twigg visited their school in Hayes.

Mr Twigg was given a traditional Sikh greeting on his arrival, and then School Reporters got down to the business of a Newsnight-style interrogation.

School Reporter Marinder wanted to know where Mr Twigg stood on exams asking, "do you prefer a more linear or modular approach?"

While Amreece spoke for school pupils everywhere when she asked "Do politicians ask children their points of view on decisions about education?"

Mr Twigg conceded the answer was "not often enough".

Student Simran, having done her journalistic homework, quoted a recent speech by Mr Twigg on vocational qualifications.

In it he said vocational qualifications in England needed to be as strong as in Switzerland or Germany so she asked what Labour was going to do about it. Mr Twigg said: "I think this is one of the biggest questions we face in education at the moment."

Cable gives dancing tips to students

The subject of tuition fees also came up when students from Bonus Pastor College in Bromley caught up with Business Secretary Vince Cable at The Big Bang Science and Technology Fair in London.

One student pointed out that he had been to Cambridge and asked him how could someone from a poor background go to university and pay all the fees. Mr Cable said that "...if you do well there are scholarships and students don't pay until they are earning".

Other questions that were asked ranged from "how will I know that an apprenticeship will give me the skills I need without making the tea and coffee?" to "what would you say to me when I'm 18 and have the qualifications to go to university but want an apprenticeship?"

Mr Cable said it was a good thing to study but that if you prefer doing more practical things then an apprenticeship is an equally good way of learning.

Examining the Curriculum for Excellence

School Reporters were also keen to discuss the changes to Scotland's curriculum, where a new exam system has been introduced as part of the Scottish Government's Curriculum for Excellence, replacing Standard Grade and Intermediate qualifications.

Students from the Gryffe High School in Renfrewshire met with Scottish education secretary Michael Russell to learn more about how the system will work and how it will affect their learning.

During the interview, Mr Russell explained the main differences between the old and new system and the importance of learning modern languages, saying it "allows you to be more flexible, it's a good way to understanding a subject."

Another story that inspired School Reporters to evaluate education was the plight of Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai who hit headlines worldwide when she was attacked by the Taliban after campaigning for the right to an education.

Malala's experiences touched students at Robert Clack School of Science, where pupils developed a special report about the school girl, in which they made comparisons between her school life and their own.

The Samworth Church Academy had some flavour added to their curriculum. The Nottinghamshire school run a programme which offers students the chance to become chefs, by preparing and cooking food for the public in their restaurant "The Balcony."

Students staff school restaurant

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