BBC School News Report

BBC School News Report is a journalism project for pupils aged 11 to 18 across the UK. Pupils make the news and upload it to the school website that is then linked to the BBC via their interactive map. This means that our news is accessible to a worldwide BBC audience. BBC School News Report showcases the work of School Reporters across BBC programmes in the UK on News Day which is Thursday 15th March 2018. 

News articles produced by our pupils on News Day in 2018 and 2017 are shown below:

Carnegie Award Books Announced March 2018

Carnegie Award Books Announced

Carnegie awards are awards for the best children’s book and is an award given by librarians. It is a short list of eight books. These books are:

  • ‘Wed Wabbit’ - Lissa Evans (David Fickling Books)
  • ‘After the Fire’ - Will Hill. (Usborne Publishing)
  • ‘Where the World Ends’- Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne Publishing)
  • ‘Rook’- Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)
  • ‘Release’ - Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  • ‘Saint Death’ - Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)
  • ‘The Hate U Give’ - Angie Thomas (Walker Books)
  • ‘Beyond the Bright Sea’ -Lauren Wolk (Corgi)

The books that are nominated have to be read by the Judges. Normally there are twenty books but they narrow it down to eight books at this stage. Today, on the 15th March, the short list came out. Some children read some of the voted books (well as many as they can) and they have to say what they think about those books they’ve read. Students can meet weekly to discuss their opinions of the books and enjoy a biscuit or two.

Woolmer Hill School will compete against other local schools on the 13th June. They will be the host school for the first time in a few years. The Librarian, Mrs Ewing, is very excited about this event.

Alice and Leo, Year 7, Woolmer Hill School


Stephen Hawking Remembered 2018

Stephen Hawking Remembered 2018

Hello I am Max, and this is more of WH news.

Yesterday morning, the tragic news of Stephen Hawking’s death was announced.

Tributes are flowing in because of this news. Stephen Hawking had a brilliant sense of humour and a brilliant brain. His humour was very creative and was demonstrated on many TV shows, such as: The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.

He developed Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease (MND) when he was in university which left him nearly paralysed. He spoke using a voice synthesizer by selecting letters using his cheek, he was able to communicate with others. He had a tablet computer on the arm of his wheelchair which used windows; this allowed him to access his emails, the internet and Microsoft word to write his lectures.

His science

Stephen Hawking is well known due to his scientific achievements. He discovered the black hole and discovered large amounts about them; his scientific achievements have allowed everyone to see how the universe really works. He has greatly advanced how we understand the universe.

He was obsessed with black holes and found out so many things, for example black holes would disappear and release a burst of energy equivalent to a million megaton hydrogen bombs.

He met many important people, including presidents of America and Queen Elizabeth II and many more. Barack Obama gave him the presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour in 2009.

Mrs Francis, Physics teacher and Head of Science said, “We mourn the loss of an extraordinary physicist and cosmologist who has paved the way for future development in the understanding of space, life and the universe. The fact that so many students know of this man shows his value to science.”

Max, Year 7, Woolmer Hill School

International Womens Day March 2018

International Women’s Day

International women’s day is a day celebrated by many women and men all over the world. It’s a celebration of all the challenges women have overcome throughout history.

The first international women’s day ever celebrated on March 8th was in 1914. Women have done many things throughout history to campaign for equal rights between men and women. Women’s inventions have not always been recognised either:

Women’s inventions include :

  • Kevlar (which is used in bullet proof vests) invented by Stephanie Kwolek, Monopoly (A popular family board game) invented by Elizabeth Magie,
  • Wind screen wipers invented by Mary Anderson.
  • Caller ID invented by DR Shirley Ann Jackson
  • And computer software invented by Grace Hopper. She also popularized the term “de-bugging” when a moth was removed from inside her machine.

As well as these many inventions women have been fighting for equal rights by taking part in marches and protests, for example: In 1908, fifteen thousand women went through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and equal voting rights. Later, in 1911, for the first time international women’s day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19. In 1914, there was a march from bow to Trafalgar Square for women’s suffrage. Sylvia Pankhurst, the leader of the suffrage, was arrested on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square.

One of the most well-known women who campaigned for women’s rights was Sylvia Pankhurst: Sylvia Pankhurst was the daughter of a suffragette co-founder.

A suffragette was a group of women who fought for women’s rights in the late 19th century. While she was working for the suffragettes she designed banners, flags, decorated halls and spoke to large audiences. In 1906, Sylvia went to prison for the first time, in prison she was force fed and spent weeks and months on sleep , thirst and hunger strikes.

During this time women would wear the colours white, green and purple: this is so any suffragettes could easily recognise each other and talk about women’s rights. They usually wore these colours using jewellery as they were discrete. There are many campaigns for women’s and girls’ equality, including: WAGGGS, he for she, and 50/50:

50/50 is a campaign for actresses and actors to be represented in equal numbers that has been active for the past two years. Actresses and actors such as Dame Penelope Wilton, Olivia Colman, Charlie Murphy, Rebecca Front and Emma Watson are actively working to help.

A South African politician who acts as United Nations official, and the Executive Director of UN Women, made a speech about 50/50 to the Chatham House Members, and stated: ‘No country in the world has achieved gender equality.In fact, we are alarmingly unequal.’

Emma Watson, who also made a speech, stated: ‘When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press. At 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn't want to appear “muscly". When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings. I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.’

We interviewed teachers and asked them what they thought about the reasons 50/50 is campaigning. Their feelings were very diverse. Miss Collins, a history teacher, stated she understood the need for the campaign, but was “a little conflicted.”

One of the school’s maths teachers, Mrs Taylor, said “I think it’s sad that there is even a need to campaign. I have two daughters myself, and I would expect them to be paid as much as any man!” Also, one English teacher commented: “it is a really important reason they are campaigning.”

From the 50/50 campaign, we can infer that this fight has been happening for a long time and is still a divisive topic. The suffragettes fought for it, Emma Watson and 50/50 are fighting for it. One thing is for sure, the war for equality is not over.

Lizzie and Katie, Year 7, Woolmer Hill School 

Orchestra Day and Young Musician of the Year 2018

Orchestra Day And Young Musician of the Year.

Good afternoon this is Charlie with more of the WH news.

This is the 16th year of Orchestra day. This year it occurs today on Thursday 15th March. Woolmer Hill music teacher, Mr Matthew Nash, is running the day using his years of expertise. Year 8 pupil, Tilly, who is a violin player, commented on orchestra day saying: “It’s a good experience for all. It’s a great place to make new friends and helps improve your academic achievements. It is a great way to be cooperative.”

Mr Matthew Nash explains that he runs Orchestra Day because “It promotes music at Woolmer Hill” and “encourages participation”. Taking place in Woolmer Hill School’s hall, pupils from local schools such as Shottermill, St Bart’s and Beacon Hill will partake. Year 11pupil, Ruthie explains “That I really enjoy music and like watching others who enjoy it too.” Another year 11, Dan, also praises the events saying: “I want to inspire others to do music as well.”

Young Musician of the Year.

Also this evening, Young Musician of the Year will consist of a competition for senior solos, junior solos and duets. This is also organised by Mr Matthew Nash. Winner of Young Musician of the Year 2017, Annie, is quoted as saying “It’s an amazing experience because you learn how to connect with the audience and it helps you understand how to perform.” She says “I think it made solely for people to be seen, stand out and challenge themselves and most importantly HAVE FUN!”

Charles, Year 7, Woolmer Hill School


Gun Violence in schools – should guns be banned? March 2018

Gun Violence in schools – should guns be banned?

A generation raised by gun violence sends a loud message to the adults:


Last year in 2017 there were 15,549 deaths which are 15,549 more deaths than anyone wanted. On average 89 out of 100 people do own a gun in America. There have been eight school shootings since the start of 2018.

Thousands of students in the United States walked out of class on Wednesday 14th March to protest gun violence- they walked out for 17 minutes for the seventeen people killed at Florida Marjory stoneman Douglas high school one month ago. The walkout began around in each time zone!

A few participants read the names of the victims of the ghastly shootings. At Granada hills charter high school in LA, pupils lay down on the football field to spell out the one word that represents their feelings to the violence- that word: ENOUGH.

The demonstrations continued throughout the day through numerous cities. Participants waved signs and chanted ‘enough’ as they marched through the streets and rallied in front of government buildings, including the White House.

They called on lawmakers to do something about it, before another school falls victim to the atrocities. Many children and adults have lost something from gun violence and many people are now standing up to it. Yet there may be some pros.

Terrorists are now able to access guns and bombs- so if a teacher can access guns it may save lives, for example, if a dangerous person is in the school they can shoot them. 55% of American citizens said they wanted stricter gun laws, and a mere 10% of people wanted less strict laws; one in three people wanted the law to stay the same. In the last several years, there has been a rise of those favouring stricter gun measures.

Some people think that having teachers carry guns would act as a deterrent to school shooters and terrorists to even come there in the first place. Local student, Spencer, said that he “believes a man and woman should have a right to protect their house and believes a man should have the right to defend anyone who can’t defend themselves.”

Although the Parkland School had an armed sheriff’s deputy, this did not stop an attack as he never even encountered the gunman. Another opinion in this debate is should this even be the job of a teacher?

We have exclusive interviews from teachers and students from a school in the U.K about what they think about guns: One teacher, Mrs Gregory, said that: “No, they would not want to be responsible for having a gun, that guns should not be in schools. It’s a stupid idea.”

Mrs Ewing, a former resident of the United States of America, “I personally think that the gun culture in America is out of control. Assault rifles should be banned because they are designed for violence. This has been an argument for a long time and small increments should be made. They (the government) need to start somewhere with this divisive subject.”

A Year 7 pupil, from Woolmer Hill, said: “When I was in America there was a shooting in Dolores Park, San Francisco where there were three gunmen who shot three people and critically injured them. This was quite shocking because I had never experienced being near a shooting before.”

Another pupil gave the advice: “Don’t bully or give people a hard time - sometimes the shooters are the people who are angry and lonely. They often shoot people to get rid of and cure their frustration. Remember you don’t know what people will be going through at home.”

As American politicians continue to debate this topic, the fate of gun laws hangs in the balance.

Harvey, Max, Cassius and Balint, Year 7, Woolmer Hill School




UK Teacher Shortage 2018

UK Teacher Shortage

This week the government have been discussing the topic of a teacher shortage in the UK. There is a lack of teachers in Britain because the demand is too high for the teachers so they are leaving the profession. As the number of pupils is growing, this is a cause for concern for the country.

From 2010 to 2012 there has been a rise by 15,500 in teachers in primary schools but in the same amount of time there has been a drop in secondary schools by 10,800 teachers.

Ofsted have even commented on the lack of teachers “pupils are part of the reason that new teachers are leaving” they also said “teacher recruitment had always been an issue”   

We were talking to some of the teachers in our school to see what they think about this. Miss Rowley, English teacher, says: “I wanted to be a teacher because it’s a rewarding job because you can see results of your efforts and you can be proud of pupils. You can also help pupils achieve their dreams and get their dream jobs.”

Hopefully the government will resolve these issues soon so that one of the longest running professions can continue to grow.


Alice and Leo, Year 7, Woolmer Hill School

Generalising Genders - Thursday 16 Mar 2017



From sports to uniform, we will be discussing gender stereotypes in school.

For years the media has been covering the fight for gender equality. From Maya Angelou to Emma Watson and Ryan Gosling, celebrities are inspiring youngsters to support this issue and help bring about full equality. But this raised the question to, how good is gender equality in schools? We interviewed teachers around our school too see the different opinions and how it should be approached.

We thought that sport within schools was the main school subject that stereotyped and segregated genders. We are lucky at our school to have a mixed gender PE department, with mixed gender class and equal opportunities for pupils to play all sport, despite the stereotypical gender that goes with that sport. Mr Bone, a new PE teacher said that he thought that, “sports shouldn’t be gender specific, and we are very lucky here at Woolmer hill that everyone can participate in the sports they enjoy”. We think our school is taking a good step towards gender equality in the sports industry and other schools should follow. Cerys, a pupil at Woolmer Hill, was recently an ambassador for the This Girl Can campaign that was aimed to get girls into sport without the embarrassment and feeling of judgement. She mentioned that, “some girls might be more comfortable participating in single sex classes”. However, she went on to say that with mixed classes comes the ability to be confident in sport in front of other genders. We think that if mixed PE classes are the norm, then pupils would be used to it and never have to feel judged by other genders, but be encouraged and helped by them. In addition to that, Mr Emery, our head of PE, said that he thought it was good if, for example, “Miss Kevern, taught rugby”, a stereotypically male sport, “and I taught netball”, a stereotypical female sport. This would mean that the students would have someone to look up to and see that they can do it because the stigma would be broken down. He also went on to say that he thinks that the media coverage is improving because of advancements in technology, so multiple things can play at once which will improve the coverage of female sports. This, along with campaigns, such as the This Girl Can campaign, helps to encourage the younger generation to participate in sports if they want to, regardless of the gender they identify with.

Uniform is another big component when it comes to gender segregation. When you walk into a clothing store you will see a boy section and girls section, but is this the way forward? Many big fashion designers currently are producing unisex clothes, some masculine, and some feminine for all genders. However, for this to translate to school uniform there would need to be a unisex uniform that is for all genders. We asked teachers about this and they were all generally for it. We also discussed the fact that girls are allowed to wear trousers, but boys can’t wear skirts. Our drama teacher, Ms Ahmed stated, “If the girls wear trousers, I think that the boys should be able to wear skirts” She went on to add that boys should be allowed to wear skirts whether it is for a gender identity reason, or just for a fashion or comfort choice. Miss Rowley, an English teacher, commented that, “It’s about what you are comfortable in, what you are comfortable wearing.” We think that school uniform should be gender neutral, and while it’s there to limit self-expression and individuality, it shouldn’t been restricting pupils comfort and identity within their uniform.

Some of these ideas to encourage gender equality come with challenges. We talked to Mr Barraud, our deputy head about how we would go about gender equality in the uniform rules; this is where we stumbled across some problems. He did believe that a gender neutral school uniform is the way the worlds heading; however, he didn’t believe that we are ready for that yet. Moreover, while he agreed that in certain situations, such as gender identity, boys should be allowed to wear skirts. Although, he said that there would have to be a discussion and it couldn’t be a free rule for all because it may be abused by certain people wearing them as a joke. This could hurt the feelings of students who want to wear a skirt for a gender identity reason, which would pause the progression in equality. In addition to that, Mr Emery stated that, “I don’t think the gap is ever going to fully close in things such as football”, this is due to the grand scale of it; however, this doesn’t mean that we can’t have complete gender equality in other sports.

In conclusion, to combat this issue, we need to raise awareness and educate people on the issue of gender identity in schools. This would enable schools to improve gender equality within uniform because they could have neutral uniforms and anyone could wear what they feel comfortable in without the fear of being mocked.  Moreover, we think that schools should follow in our footsteps and have mixed gender PE classes that offer opportunities for all. While this would be a step forward in the right direction, there is still a long way to go until true gender equality has been achiever, and we can’t let it be swept under the bus or forgotten about until we have achieved complete equality.


By India and Sarah, year 10, Woolmer Hill School


Young Musician of the Year - Thursday 16 Mar 2017


Woolmer Hill Young Musician of the Year 2017

In its 15th year, this musical event occurs this year on Thursday 16th March. Woolmer Hill music teacher Mr Matthew Nash is running the day using his years of expertise. Taking place in Woolmer Hill School’s hall, pupils from local schools such as Shottermill, St Bartholomew’s and Beacon Hill will partake. The evening will consist of a competition for senior solos, junior solos and duets. Prizes and trophies are up for grabs.

Mr Matthew Nash explains that he runs Orchestra Day because “It promotes music at Woolmer Hill” and “encourages participation”. He thinks that this event encourages Junior School pupils to carry on with their music and playing instruments throughout their time at Woolmer Hill. Most importantly, he wants pupils to “have fun!”

He also stated: “(Young Musician of the Year) was set up by hard work and dedication and asking friends (also musicians) to help out”. Also, “Music enhances: teamwork, responsibility, creativity, punctuality, resilience, maths, language skills, social skills and cultural awareness”. This must mean that playing music is healthy and good for the mind.

A Year 10 Woolmer Hill pupil, Anastasia, is taking part in the Young Musician of the Year and says:

“I want to challenge myself and music is one of my most loved hobbies and I want to benefit from the hard work I have done”.

Also takes music as an extra GCSE in Woolmer Hill School. Her opinion of the music and Woolmer Hill School is “I am very grateful for this opportunity to do what I like on a higher scale also being able to have both academic and artistic successes. Woolmer Hill has made this experience possible”.

A Group of Guitarists said they were a “bit nervous” and thought it was a little scary but felt that they will gain “skill, learn new songs, learning new notes and  confidence.” One enthusiastic pupil also felt that one of the best outcomes from today’s events will be “fame!”

Overall, the event will be enjoyable and fun for everyone. The event will begin at 7pm tonight, all are welcome.

By Louie


Haslemere Hogs - Thursday 16 Mar 2017


Haslemere Hogs

You may be asking what a Haslemere hog is, well, we’re here to tell you.                                                               

A Haslemere Hog is a project using local artists and schools to decorate 60 fiberglass hogs that will be shown throughout the area for about three months. If you want sponsors, you need someone to sponsor £200 per hog just to decorate it or if you want to pre purchase the hog and decorate it will cost £400. This means once the hogs have been on show you will get it back and you won’t have to fight for it.


We, the Woolmer Hill school and many other schools and groups from the community of Haslemere community have decorated a hog to help out a few charities within the area (e.g: Kaleidoscope Trust, Action Medical Research for Children, Positive Action and the Haslemere Penny Ha’penny Trust).

Lots of schools around the community and area are participating in the Haslemere Hog. A couple of these schools are: Shottermill junior school, the royal school, St Bartholomew’s school amongst many others.

As well as schools, several amazing artists are also participating in the Haslemere Hog and a few of these are: Phil Bates, Melissa King and David Paynter Picassos and there are several more involved.

The Woolmer Hill School, have used our student’s best works to decorate the hog. These pieces of work are from many different subjects including art, drama, science, English, maths, the humanities and many more. The art teachers and technicians from Woolmer hill have made a collage on the hog then it will be decorated in varnish to make it water proof so it can be displayed outside.

One of the geography teachers at Woolmer Hill, Miss Van Rijn, said: “I did submit work, the work which I submitted included: graphs, volcano diagrams and maps”. She also said she thought the hog was “awesome” and she particularly liked that the hog was colourful and different things from all subjects were included.

Another teacher at Woolmer hill who also helped with the hog was the head of modern foreign languages, Miss Reynolds, stated: “I looked at some work and decided which pieces of work were appropriate”. Additionally she said was: “I think it looks beautiful and is fantastic to have” and that her favourite part of the hog that was that every subject had been included.

Our last member of staff Ms Handley, who is one of our school receptionists, said that “it looks amazing and my favourite part is the sausages on the hog’s nose.”

In our opinion, we think that Woolmer Hill’s creation of the hog is absolutely amazing and is a nice opportunity to bring all the community together. Another reason we like this hog is because all the different subject were included and they fit together so well.

By Bronwyn, Emma, Lucy and Wardah


Broadcasting for the B.B.C. - Thursday 16 Mar 2017


Broadcasting for the BBC

BBC Northampton is a very popular radio station which broadcasts weather, daily news and play songs. Two Woolmer Hill school students interviewed Isaac Brightmore who works for the BBC as an assistant technical broadcaster.

Isaac Brightmore stated: ‘‘my main role is to work on OB’s (Outside Broadcasts), this can be anything from broadcasting from schools to a pub or in the middle of a field using our satellite van (Verv). Part of the job requires me to interpret the producer of the show’s plan and explain how it is/not possible through the equipment we possess and compromise. I’m also able to give IT tech support for laptops and desktops PC’s for the journalists, repair equipment and drive live shows from the studio as an assistant producer or by playing out a pre-recorded show.’’

Isaac was interested in working for the BBC because:  His uncle works as an online journalist for the BBC and has been somewhat of a ‘‘role model’’ for me. He continued to say ‘‘I’ve known about the reputation the BBC has as an employer, how it treats its employees and where it could take me. I’ve always had a passion for music, media and technology and working for the BBC was the best combination of all my interests.’’

Before getting a job, Isaac was working as a session musician and in retail after graduating university. He was saying: looking for an opportunity to grow and learn as well as express his creativity. “The BBC is a reputable employer and you can expect any of its positions to receive numerous applicants. My job is relatively niche as there are only two engineers for the entire building but still receives multiple applicants of varying skill.”

In regards to qualifications, Isaac advised:

“Having a qualification in a related field is a big help; I studied Music Practice and Production at university and the skills I learnt there were transferable to work in radio though it wasn’t apparent to me at the time. There was a lot that I had to learn on the job but by showing how keen I was, I made the transition from freelancer to full time after 1 year.”

Overall working at the BBC seems to be a great opportunity for various skills to be developed.

Next, we wanted to find out Isaac’s taste in music, because of his place of work. He told us he enjoys folk, jazz and rock and that he can play lots of instruments. Isaac enjoys writing his own songs and singing live. What a talented man!

Everyone in life has goals they would like to achieve. So, we asked Isaac ‘What would you like to achieve in your job?’ He thought for a small while before replying: “I want to work on a large-scale event like a music festival to test my abilities and see how varied this job really is. I’d also like to become more confident and self-reliant in my role which will come with time and experience.”

Isaac Brightmore’s advice for future BBC Radio applicants: “Don’t be shy, I was lucky enough to be where I am just by knocking on their door and handing a CV in, volunteering and finding suitable work experience is key. Knowing what you want to do/study and showing an interest for the position/employer within your free time will put you above your competitors. If you’re struggling to find what you want to do, knowing what you dislike can be just as helpful at finding your dream job as long as you know that nothing in life worth having comes easy.’

Concluding our interview, we thanked Isaac for his time and help. It was extremely interesting interviewing somebody who worked in such a cool environment and we hope to do it again soon! We hope that our readers also feel very inspired.

By Megan and Josie.


Roar Filming! - Thursday 17 Mar 2016



Seven key stage 3 pupils from Woolmer Hill School are doing a filming project at Beacon Hill Primary School today, March 17th and March 23rd.

The pupils are helping year 6 children do the Very Important Bear project, a yearly event where the year 6s  decide how they are going to film the bear*. They plan what, who and where to film, plus making their own scripts with the assistance of the pupils from our school. It will focus on filming the scenes, distances, angles and dealing with the sound quality. They will have sourced costumes and props, and throughout the day they will be using various locations around their school for filming. As well as that, they will check and re-shoot any scenes if needs be.

The group that I interviewed were performing ‘Star Wars’ and I asked them a few questions, for example, what is the purpose of this project? The answer: to make a movie with a bear, as it “wanted to be a movie star.” The bear was in the starring role of Luke Skywalker…

The group said they were given “lots of time to do different things,” and could film “everywhere around the school,” but that the filming itself took “four hours.” It was “quite easy” to get the props, and their special feature? “A spaceship.”

The final deadline is the 17th March, and beforehand the group had prepared by “making sure everyone was ready and knew what they were doing.” Also, “everyone wanted to be different things,” which made deciding who was going to be who a lot easier.

I then asked one of our pupils a question: how did they cope with the pressure? “We had a very professional approach as we decided everything as a team.”


By Libby


Social Suicide? - Thursday 17 Mar 2016

Social Suicide?

Coming out as a part of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community has always been seen as a ‘social suicide’ among young teens who are questioning their sexuality. However, is coming out easier or is it the same ‘social suicide’ it’s’ been portrayed as?

In 1533 homosexuality was punishable by death. Then in the 1950s male homosexuality was illegal, and women that were lesbians were frowned upon in society. They would try to ‘cure’ it with medication and conversion therapy, which often involved electroshock therapy. This was because society thought being gay was abnormal and should be treated as if it were a disease. In 1967 male homosexual acts for those over the age of 21 and in private became legalised. This was the start of LGBT becoming accepted within society. In the last decade, there has been a huge rise in LGBT rights and on the 10 December 2014, same-sex marriage became legal in the UK.

This goes to show that homosexuality has become much more accepted within our society, with only 1/5 of the UK’s population disagreeing with homosexuality and homophobic people getting more hate than homosexuals. But does that mean it’s easier to come out in school?

Research carried out by the Exceeding Expectation programme in schools in Manchester found out that 28% of pupils felt homophobic language or bulling was dealt with well in schools. However, an alarming 58% of students felt their school was not a safe place to come out about their sexual orientation.

To answer our question, and to see it from another perspective, we interviewed teachers at our school on these issues. Interestingly we found a divide between the teachers: all of them wanted school to be a safe place to come out, but there was a dispute as to whether they thought it was or not.

One teacher commented that schools are “a very supportive environment” where a negative reaction “would be stamped out immediately”. Another teacher stated that hopefully young people feel “like they can express their individuality” at school. However, a third member of staff disagreed, saying that “if you do want to come out in school, you risk being bullied,” and that “teenagers are desperate not to be different.”

We then went on to ask the teachers what they thought would help schools to become a better place to come out. One said that media and society’s opinion has a huge impact and they commented that there should be “more media coverage about positive stories, where students have successfully come out”. This would show teens that it’s not always the big deal or ‘social suicide’ they make it up to be. Another teacher stated that we should educate students that “sexuality isn’t something you choose, it’s something you can’t control”. They then went on to say that they need to know that “it’s not going to change out day to day lives if someone that we know has come out, it’s just ‘okay, let just carry on’” However, one teacher said that “children though can be the harshest critics”, which is why schools need have “more impact in PSHE lessons, educating people about these kind of issues.”

One issue with coming out, which is often not realised, is that teenagers are sometimes not certain on what their sexuality is and what label they fit under. Our teacher said that “they aren’t necessarily sure of their own sexuality, so it’s difficult to come out”, they then added, “you know you’re different but you don’t know what it is you feel.” This is a difficult issue, because it can tear you apart not opening up to anyone, but it’s hard to open up if you’re not sure exactly what you’re opening up about. Moreover, it’s hard to let others accept you, if you can’t accept it yourself, which is another problem amongst young teens.

In conclusion, this is a very difficult, complex subject and we think schools need to do more to help making it a safe environment for LGBT pupils and make them feel comfortable. A lot of progress has been made already, but we still have much further to go. Who knows, in the future will people even need to come out?




By Sarah and India, year 9


Rabbit Re-Homed! - Thursday 17 Mar 2016

A massive rabbit called Atlas has been rehomed, after he got separated from his mother a month ago.  The rabbit’s new home is in Scotland, and his new owner is Jen Hislop. She's owned two giant rabbits in the past, and has now adopted Atlas.

Atlas is over 4 foot long (and is 3 and a half stone, which is heavier than an elephant’s heart.

This made us think: what are some of the strangest pets our students have? We found out that one of our year 8 students owns a python; one year 9 has a pet shark; another year 9 used to have five slowworms!

We interviewed one of our year 8 students, Mary, who has two lizards. She feeds them live locusts every day; she gives them live locusts, she explained, to mimic them hunting in the wild. Mary has owned her lizards for four years.

Do you own any strange pets? Get in touch and tell us your story!

By Chloe and Olivia, year 8


The Woolmer Hill Mad Hatter's Tea Party - Thursday 17 Mar 2016


The Woolmer Hill ‘Mad Hatter’s’ tea party                                                             

The Mad Hatter visited Woolmer Hill School when the year 11 GCSE hospitality and catering cohort hosted a tea party on Wednesday 10th February. They had a range of delicious foods, from cream horns and quiche, to carrot salad and a colossal cupcake!

The guests had a long table, decorated with quotes and characters from Alice in Wonderland, and people from all over the school were there indulging in the array of foods that year 11 had produced, including staff of the year 11s’ choice.

 The way that the students had presented the food created an illusion of serenity and professionalism but all had changed once we stepped into the kitchen. The illusion that had us fooled had disappeared and we stepped into the real story: a mixture of flour and pans, which proved their hard work and effort.  

By Olivia


A Day in the Life of a BBC School News Reporter - Wednesday 16 Mar 2016


BBC News School Report

On Thursday 11th March, thirteen intrepid students took on one enormous challenge: reporting the news for the day. Each year, BBC News School Report gives 11-16 year-old students in the UK the chance to make their own news reports for a real audience. These reports are uploaded to their school’s dedicated webpage, which is linked to the BBC. But what is it like to take part?  One thing’s for sure: there’s never a dull moment!

08.45: time to hold our first editorial meeting of the day. Guidelines on how to stay safe and legal are recapped, and the process for booking in and out the equipment is outlined: camera (which we bought this week from funds raised by Journalism Club!), iPad, press passes, pens…all present and correct. At this point, the inaugural biscuit count is undertaken. The outcome: plenty of supplies to get us through any story we may encounter. Time to deadline: 6 hours 25 minutes.

09.00: reporters are given half an hour to get their fingers on the pulse of today’s news; are there any breaking stories? The ‘5 Ws’ need to be investigated to determine whether it will be newsworthy: who, what, where, when, why. Time to deadline: 6 hours 10 minutes.

09.30: meet back at the main table for our second editorial meeting to feed back on the stories we have uncovered. We aren’t allowed to report on crime, and are unsure whether one of our stories might touch on this, so it’s time for our first check-in with the BBC to query whether we can cover this. Whilst we await their response, we decide on who will be covering what reports in the run up to break time. Two of our reporters have left the LRC to interview Mr Bridger for their news article. Time to deadline: 5 hours 40 minutes.

10.00: we hear back from the BBC – it’s a no-go on the story we queried, as it may develop into a criminal case. Not to worry, we have stories on phobias, ‘social suicide’,  junior doctors’ strikes, the EU referendum, Minecraft’s new education app, the Syrian orphan re-learning how to walk…not to mention a giant bunny rabbit and the proverbially British weather report. Three reporters are out filming the introduction to their news broadcast. Meanwhile, inside the LRC, the lollipops are out and the Rich Teas are open: we mean business. Time to deadline: 5 hours 10 minutes.

11.05: break time. An opportunity for us to capture interviews with other students. The LRC opens for the break time rush, and gives us a good opportunity to publicise BBC News School Report. Time to deadline: 4 hours 05 minutes.

11.30: time to update the BBC on what we’re up to. We email them with the stories we’ve decided to run with. We overcome a technical glitch with the camera by sourcing a card reader from the Art department (thank you Mrs Jones!). We have our first two written reports up on the dedicated Woolmer Hill BBC News School Report webpage. The Midget Gems are finished and the chocolate digestives are on the go. Time to deadline: 3 hours 40 minutes.

13.25: a flurry of activity over the past two hours; we’ve had survey collation, interview-backdrop-making, weather-report-graphic designing…plus we’re trying desperately to source an expert who can define what phobias are to give this story credibility. We’ve tried Haslemere Hospital, a Lead Matron, and all of the science department are busy! We’ve also been phoning the Eagle and BBC Radio Surrey to get a shout-out. Time to deadline: 1 hour 45 minutes.

14.10: lunchtime over. The LRC returns to a reporter-only zone. Furthermore, all attempts at biscuit pilfering by non-reporters were successfully handled. One of our reporters has just left to travel to Beacon Hill and cover their ‘Very Important Bear’ story. Apart from this we are in full editing mode. All the chocolate chip cookies are gone. Time to deadline: 1 hour.

15.00: intense mouse clicking fills the air. Will our edits make the deadline? It’s only ten minutes away!

15.10: most reports are in – success! All written reports are uploaded, and our roaming reporter has returned with her info. But another pesky technical glitch means we’re having problems uploading the video stories then embedding them to our webpage! DEADLINE REACHED.

15.15: reporters are released from their duties, with Mrs Law and Miss Bourne still working on the uploads…

16.00: an online video editor is contacted who resolves the technical problem – hurrah! – and the videos are uploaded ASAP. The empty biscuit packets flutter in the breeze from our sighs of relief…


Are EU in? - Thursday 10 Mar 2016


Are EU in?

On Thursday the 23 of June David Cameron has decided that we are to have a referendum on whether to stay in the EU or not. The EU is a politico-economic union made up of twenty-eight countries.

If we vote to leave the European Union we would have to negotiate a new trading relationship.  This would be a twenty-seven member organisation that would allow British firms to sell products and services to the rest of the EU without having to pay excessive tariffs and be restricted.

Public opinion is divided and both the Queen and Mark Carney (the governor of the bank of England) have both accused of taking sides. As a 12 year old I will have no say but this would impact our lives the most.  Is it fair that we do not have a say as it is us that will be affected?


In the news this earthquake! - Wednesday 2 Mar 2016


In the news this earthquake!

An earthquake has struck Western Indonesia at 7:49pm local time which is 12:49 GMT.  It was 805km south-west of the city of Padang and 24km deep. It was measure 7.8 magnitudes.

There was a tsunami warning for the regions of West Sumatra, North Sumatra and Aceh. There was also a warning for Cocos Island and Christmas Island in the pacific. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology advised people to get out of the water and move away from the immediate water's edge and this was because of the risk of dangerous waves and currents in the water.

I chose this heading because I have heard of an earthquake in Nepal but this was new to me. Furthermore, it was 7.8 magnitude, which is really high.


By Wardah   

Woolmer Hill Journalism Club does BBC School Report - Wednesday 24 Feb 2016

We are delighted to announce that the Woolmer Hill Journalism Club is taking part in the BBC School Report on March 10th 2016. We have a team of dedicated reporters ready to deliver articles about phobias, dicsrimination and computer games so far.


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