School Report in SEN schools

School Report Editor Helen Shreeve explains why diversity is so important in the project

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School Report recently held its first event specifically with teachers from SEN schools. The idea of the day was to explain the best way the project can work for their pupils and to exchange views and tips.

This resource is for teachers who could not be present and aims to give a flavour of the day and provide the lessons which were learned.

TWO TEACHERS' TOP TIPS

Woodlane High School made a video for last year's School Report on the topic of adoption. Here teacher Annette Kilcooley explains how it came about and gives her tips for working on the project.

ANNETTE KILCOOLEY (Woodlane High School, London)

We chose the topic of adoption as part of the scheme in order to introduce the students to the idea which is remote to them as they don't watch the news. I use news as a metaphor to teach ICT so they are doing information rather than technology.

Top Tips
  • Don't be afraid to keep it simple - we don't do literacy. We had nothing written down, all we had was a question which was 'If you found out you were adopted, how would you feel and why?'

Start Quote

Annette Kilcooley

Keep it simple, use the Teacher Resources, don't worry about News Day and plan how to get the film off the camera”

End Quote Annette Kilcooley
  • We use the School Report Teacher Resources which are really very helpful. We have never followed them word-for-word but they have stimulated a way in which we've engaged. I've got a scheme of work that goes on for the whole term which is notated for levels.
  • If you have a mentor, use them! We were fortunate to have a BBC mentor who was a cameraman who brought all his gear in - as soon as he walked into our playground it was like a hive, everybody came over. He was part of the reason why the report was so good this year - the kids really responded to the fact of doing a live report and he was here for two hours.
  • Get support from senior managers in your school to take the kids off timetable.
  • Prepare some of your content beforehand like they do at the BBC!
  • Have a plan on how you are going to get your film off the camera and edit it.
  • Involve anyone you can - anyone who can help will be willing to help when it comes nearer and the publicity gets hotter. People come into our staff room on the morning of it (News Day) saying they have heard about it!
  • We have done podcasts, which is audio reporting using open source software, so don't be afraid to let people loose with this software.
  • Give feedback on other reports. "We randomly look at schools on the School Report map and rate their reports for content, performance and interest.

PAULA MANNING (Phoenix School, London)

We've had a bit of a journey with School Report and it's actually been a really important aspect of our school life and we have a big celebration every year. Every year we have the whole of the secondary school coming to see our reports and we invite teachers and turn it into a big feedback session and we invite parents to come and see it.

Start Quote

Paula Manning

My top tip is to make it a celebration of your pupils' work because once you have celebrated it everyone starts to look forward to it the next year”

End Quote Paula Manning
Top Tips
  • Make it a celebration of your pupils' work and really celebrate it because once you have celebrated it everyone starts to look forward to it the next year. You are more likely to get pupils off timetable and more likely to get teachers to help you with editing. Big it up as much as possible and put the posters around the school.
  • Keep it child-centred. It's what we do every single day but when we first started to think about School Report it was really worrying because we were concerned that our report wouldn't be topical enough or grab people's attention enough and it wasn't to do with current affairs.
  • Link something personal to you with something going on in the outside world - and for us it was a real gift to have the Paralympics. We were lucky to be chosen to work at the Great British Garden running a few events and we made a programme about ourselves again.
  • Make it a PHSE learning tool, not just literacy as our kids are on P levels. We don't write scripts and everything's improvised, we have to keep our questions really simple but by connecting it to literacy and to PHSE and to communications and interaction, which is something which is central to our school, we have found a way to get our senior managers' OK for us to make a big deal of it.
  • Use the Teaching Resources. We get our journalists to make up a newsroom with all the stuff you give us and we turn a classroom into something special.

TIPS FROM GROUP DISCUSSION OF TEACHERS

Teachers reflect on the first School Report SEN briefing

The talk from Annette and Paula produced a host of other questions and tips.

TECHNOLOGY

  • Upload content before the day - if you try to upload everything between 2 and 4 on News Day you may still be there at midnight. Use short clips and upload as much as you want before the day. About 40-50% of a BBC news bulletin is prepared in advance.

HOW MANY STUDENTS?

  • The size of group is entirely up to you - most work with something in between six and the whole school. It depends on how much time and help you have got and think how much content your webpage can host.

BUILDING UP TO NEWS DAY

  • It is worth building up to the big day over a period of weeks or months and documenting the process. You could take photos at each stage and put them on the school walls and this build-up helps momentum.

ASCRIBING ROLES

SEN teacher briefing Teachers from SEN schools travelled from far and wide to attend School Report's first briefing specifically for them
  • For children that tend to be working in autistic spectrum disorder, it can be quite daunting to begin this without being given designated roles. It does help certain people to be given the role of editor or researcher - having that sort of structure definitely helps our pupils.
  • Having a title is really empowering. Sometimes in the BBC we miss out all the roles - a very important role here is having someone who is managing the broadcasting process and how you are going to get what you have done into a state so people can watch it.
  • Think about tasks and break them down into parts - it helps people learn about how to sequence tasks. This can be done simply by putting photos in order or in a complicated way with flow diagrams of how to get that bit of video - kids with different abilities take to that in very different ways.

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