SEN teachers praise School Report's impact

  • 30 May 2014
  • From the section Home
SEN school's head teacher explains School Report benefits

Teachers from Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools have said BBC News School Report boosts their students' confidence and communication skills.

School Report is an inclusive project which works with all types of schools, including a wide range of SEN and Special schools, and aims to engage young people of all abilities in news and the world around them by helping them make their own reports on stories which matter to them.

"It has become an invaluable tool for developing communication and interaction," said teacher Paula Manning from The Phoenix School in east London.

"We have found that the tools of broadcasting such as microphones and cameras have helped our pupils deconstruct the elements of communication, such as turn-taking, making eye contact and using facial expression."

Nicola Brooks, a teacher at Springfield Academy in Wiltshire, added: "The students get immediate feedback on seeing their work published. It really is all about confidence - they know the BBC brand and they feel really good being associated with it."

SEN schools which work specifically with young people with epilepsy, autism, hearing and visual impairments have all taken part in the project, as well as alternative educational establishments such as Pupil Referral Units and schools in hospitals.

Large numbers of pupils with special educational needs who attend mainstream schools are also involved in School Report.

For schools that adapt the curriculum to include a lot of work on life skills, School Report has particularly supported students to develop their speaking and listening and build self-esteem and engagement, as well as support literacy.

"One of the main reasons we participate in School Report is to provide our young people with a means to promote and develop their student voice and self-esteem," said Janet Opoku, a teacher at Joseph Clarke School for the Visually Impaired and Complex Needs.

"The skills that they gain are transferrable across the school curriculum and are also beneficial outside of the school environment."

School Reporters from SEN schools have produced some fantastic content throughout previous years, often bringing their own expertise and stories to light.

At Sandelford Special School in Coleraine, students and staff work together to capture interviews with interesting visitors to their school using iPads. To suit the needs of some of their students and aid understanding for all viewers they always add captions to their video reports.

Boccia is a sport that students at John Grant School excel in, so who better to report on this Paralympic sport and explain it to a wider audience than them? The students produced their own script and voiceover, and school staff helped to support their filming.

School Report provides a platform for students with SEN and disabilities to share stories and experiences unique to them. Charlie and Abbie from Hastings High School shared their passion for wheelchair tennis.

The project also offers a suite of School Report's teacher resources, which are designed to be flexible and adapted by teachers to differentiate for the abilities of their particular students and include a range of videos, games, worksheets and quizzes.

Image caption Phoenix School Reporters show off their filming props which they took to the Olympic Park

Many teachers have identified the authenticity and working to a deadline element of School Report as one of the key successes and motivations for students with learning difficulties in particular.

"It gives our students the opportunity to complete a task for a real purpose," said Emma Pickering, a teacher at Dryden School in Gateshead.

"We work hard to give our pupils real-life experiences, the method by which they learn best, across the curriculum and it can be a struggle at times to find a real purpose for some aspects of their work - School Report really supports this."

Want some more ideas?

There has been a wide variety of stories covered by School Reporters from SEN schools, but some of the below may give you some food for thought:

  • On News Day 2014, School Reporter Adam from Clydeview Academy signed his class-mates video reports, as well as writing his own story about a disability football tournament.
  • Greenvale School in Lewisham produced a fantastic report on the US election, giving it their own unique twist as they covered their own internal version with two candidates taking the roles of Barack Obama and John McCain. the use of props and pupils giving their own reaction makes this a superb example of what can be done
  • School Reporters from St Anthony's School in Chichester demonstrate some snappy headline sequences and clear and concise presentation skills in video bulletins, reflecting topical news stories like the horsemeat debate and issues that matter to them in their reports about cyberbullying and recycling.
  • Charlton School took the opportunity to report on a big event in their local area and spoke to spectators watching the Olympic Torch Relay. School Reporters Harry, who uses a voice synthesizer, and Charlie prepared questions in advance and attended with teachers to take photos and record audio vox pops
Teacher explains benefits of School Report in SEN schools
  • Foxwood Academy in Nottinghamshire were new to School Report in 2012/13 but as their School Report webpage shows they worked as a students and staff team to produce a range of video, text and photo-based reports on events and activities going on in their school and local community
  • Pictures are worth a thousand words as Greenvale School Reporters illustrate in their 'photo gallery' report about students being inspired by London 2012
  • School Reporters from the Phoenix School reported on the school's arts festival. They utilised pre-existing footage and photos of some of the activities and working with teaching staff to record additional script lines and interviews to help contextualise and show reaction to the special event
  • BBC pundit and former Republic of Ireland international footballer Kevin Kilbane met Lancasterian School pupils Sam and Ben to talk about their favourite sport.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites