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School Report



BBC News School Report is a project that encourages 11-16 year olds to develop their journalistic skills and investigate news stories that interest them. On 21st March 2013 Schools all over Britain take part in 'News Day' where they collate their stories and research into an interesting, polished report. This teaches those involved how to work effectively to a deadline.

Over the course of five seminars, 36 girls from S1 to S4 in The Mary Erskine School have learnt how to research their topic, conduct interviews, prepare their stories, and broadcast them. We were lucky enough to
have Robert Weir, a pupil of Stewarts Melville College, who presents his own radio show on Radio West Fife, come to talk to us about his experience presenting and interviewing on radio. We spilt into nine groups of four to research stories of our choice.

We feel privileged that we, as girls, have an incredible education equal to that of boys; we have a wide variety of subjects and extra-curricular activities to choose from. Other girls across the world are not so lucky; they do not have an equal right to education and sometimes no rights at all. There have been recent campaigns to increase the number of girls that are educated. In October people all over the world celebrated the International Day of the Girl.

This inspired the Mission Malala group to find out how the plight of Malala Yousufzai has highlighted the need for girls to be educated. They were looking into her life and her recovery after she was shot by the Taliban for speaking up about her rights. They have researched equal rights for education and interviewed the charity, 'Send My Friend to School' and Dr. Allan MP.

This subject, comparing views of education around the world, was researched by the Anchorwomen. This group interviewed Janet Chesney, of the charity, The Chesney Trust, which is working to improve education for girls in
Engcongolweni, Malawi. They have built a school out in Malawi, The Edinburgh Girls' School, using money from fundraisers. The Anchorwomen sent out surveys to a school in Japan and a school in Malawi as well as within our own school.

Similarly to how girls are discriminated against when it comes to education, many other ethnic groups have prejudices against them even in our own society. Beat rACiZM were exploring the topic of solidarity against
racism in Scotland and in our school. They interviewed their peers and two of the staff at the school asking about personal experiences, their views on racism, what they thought caused it and how it could be prevented.

Today, Thursday 21st March 2013, the date of the Scottish referendum will be announced. Scottish Independence has been a huge talking point for many months now and it seems like everybody has their own
opinion. The voting age being lowered could have a big effect on pupils in our school as it means many of those currently in the senior school will be able to vote.

One group, Sweet Sixteenth, agreed that this was a very news worthy topic and decided to investigate the Scottish Independence Referendum and the possibility of the voting age being lowered to sixteen. They interviewed The Right Honourable Alistair Darling MP, the leader of the better together campaign, and spoke to  Gail Lythgoe of the Yes campaign. Two of the group were featured on the John Beattie show Radio Scotland. They also conducted a survey of S3 and S4 at the Mary Erskine and Stewart Melville Schools to find out their views on Scottish independence and their right to vote.

Meanwhile, Gold have investigated the impact of Scottish Independence on athletes. They interviewed many professional athletes including Olympic competitor, Lynsey Sharp, who was a student at our school.

This year, 2013, is The Year of Natural Scotland. The focus of this celebration is to emphasise the importance of protecting and preserving wildlife within Scotland. With the help of various organisations a great array
of unique events are being held, such as festivals and an assortment of different challenges.

The Wildlife Warriors were inspired by these events and decided to focus on the work of Doug Allan. They were lucky enough to record an interview with Doug Allan, and they also asked numerous teachers where their
favourite place to visit in Scotland was.

Like the Wildlife Warriors, the Otters also reported on The Year of Natural Scotland. Over the course of the year, they collected photographs from different teachers and pupils of Scotland's wildlife and scenery; with these they collated a slideshow of images.

Individual identity is something which is important to all of us, and which everybody should have.  'Who
We Are' were fascinated by the idea of what people within our school felt was the most important part of them and what they believed defined themselves. They sent out a survey to both the boys' and girls' school asking the importance of identity to them and what made them who they are. They were intrigued to discover that the boys and girls results were greatly varied.

The last group, Team Antarctica, were focusing on Ranulph Fiennes 'Coldest Journey on Earth' and his unfortunate battle with frost bite. They interviewed 'Seeing is Believing' about whether the $10 million, which is
hoped to be raised by the journey, is worth the risks.

The aim of the BBC News School Report was to:

  • Engage young people with news
  • Bring forward young people's voices and opinions to a wider audience.
  • Share 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.

We feel throughout this fantastic project, that all of these aims were fulfilled. Everybody involved thoroughly enjoyed the experience and felt pride in their end result.


Please click the link below to see Emily and Ailsa interview the children's minister Edward Timpson

Coralie and Maria were interviewed about their BBC News School Report project, which is looking into 16 year olds having the vote in the Scottish Referendum, by John Beattie on Radio Scotland. Click below to listen to the extract.

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