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BBC School Report 2016

Story Index:

How does the Library Affect Our Learning?                                   by Harie & Sakina

How Animal Structure has Influenced Human Technology      by Lottie & Ellen

Super Sleep!                                                                                            by Amber & Sandali

Technology through the generations                                               by Lottie & Nelly

Can excessive texting cause bad grades?                                        by Hebah

How Social Media has Changed Our Lives                                     by Ellie & Hebah

School Girls of Today, Olympians of Tomorrow                          by Anna & Emily

Mix of Colours, Splash of Paint                                                          by Margaret

Paws for a Cause                                                                                    by Sandali & Amber

Kidney Failure, Do We Know Enough About It?                           by Hebah & Ellie

Is There A School Hierarchy?                                                             by Hebah & Ellie

Anorexia Articles                                                                                   by Ellen


How Does the Library Affect Our Learning?

Harie and Sakina, Gloucester

A book can be a very powerful thing, yet many of us will underestimate the power that reading endows every day. Most schools in England will have a library of some sort in their school.  They are used for educational reading, reading for pleasure, school projects and sometimes just a place to sit quietly. All of these things can be a very useful break in the course of a stressful day’s work at school- some students would even class the library as their safe haven. Yet, despite this, many schools in England just aren’t putting enough financial support into their school library resources.

At the High School for Girls, Gloucester, we spoke with the head teacher, Ewa Sawicka, about the funding that her school receives and how she feels the funding should be distributed. The High School for Girls is a F40 school. This means it accepts a much lower funding balance than other schools in the country; we are given about three-million, six-hundred-thousand pound each year. This may seem like a large amount of money for one year but the majority is spent on staff, both teaching and non-teaching. This means that it can be a real challenge to supply enough finance for each area of the school; this can have an effect on the library and therefore students’ learning.                     

The importance of educating the whole person                                         

Mrs Sawicka feels that all departments deserve a fair funding so she has had a formula devised that takes into account the number of students, the key stage and the amount of lessons that subject has over the fortnightly timetable. She also takes into account how re-usable the materials that the faculty need are. However, she personally believes that the library should be given the same amount of funding as other departments as the library helps to understand ‘the importance of educating the whole person.’ She feels that as a school you should educate a pupil through all areas and not just academia. Mrs Sawicka believes that the library is a very helpful place for students as it enriches their learning and focuses on the more relaxed side of the student- she herself likes reading when she can find the time for it!

Mrs Brazier

We arranged to meet up with Mrs Brazier, who has been a school librarian now for four and a half years; she talked with us about her views on libraries and the financial support they receive. When we spoke with her, she explained that on average her school library will receive roughly four-thousand pounds each year to provide the resources for the school. However, last year she was provided with an extra two-hundred and forty-four pounds. The library, and many others like it, used to focus more on books when planning the distribution of the funding, yet due to recent high demand and change in the non-fiction market, they have been moved towards spending a greater majority of their money on online resources that can be easily updated and accessed by students.                                                     

The High School LRC

Mrs Brazier personally thinks that a library can be a great place to encourage independent learning for students as it gives them a chance to rely more on themselves and become less dependent on the support of their teachers. ‘Reading can broaden the horizons of young minds and help students to embrace their academic life and thrive in their work.’ Mrs Brazier thinks that more attention is needed in the care of the library. She feels that the library could be bigger as she often has students suggesting and inquiring after more space to sit and work quietly. She is also keen on the idea of a forum so that students can feedback on the library and are able to leave reviews on books. With the school spending so much money on online resources it can be a struggle to provide all the new books pupils are requesting. She says that one of the main ways that the library can be improved is if students don’t litter and try to keep the library and books in good condition.

The activities and resources in our school library are Carnegie Club- a book reading club where students can give opinions on books from a shortlist, laptops, iPads, Fiction and non-fiction books and DVDs. A HSFG student, Emily, is very fond of the library and likes the ‘quiet, comfortable environment.’ She thinks that reading older books helps her relate to a past that she misses. ‘I always try to read Percy Jackson or Harry Potter when I am upset or lonely because I always used to read it when I went to my primary school- I miss my school and it reminds me of the times I had.’

To conclude, we think that a library is really valuable in a school, academically and otherwise.  It can help brighten students’ minds and make them more confident. So therefore we feel that it is important to raise awareness of the funding struggle that many libraries endure. So we propose that all schools think about the library and how crucial it really is to pupils’ education. Could your school survive without its library?

How Animal Structure has Influenced Human Technology

Lottie and Ellen, Gloucester

Why do Humans base New Technology around Animal Biological Evolution ?

The biological makeup of a snake’s body is designed so that it has many vertebrae, in order to give it maximum movement, strength and flexibility. This is mimicked by the physics behind the plough, which is designed so that the machinery can move as fast as possible, whilst churning up dirt. 

Another example of how we have taken inspiration from the nature around us is shown in aeroplanes. Much of the science behind planes has been inspired by birds.  Both have wings to give them the ability to fly, but the physics behind this is much the same. The main bone structure of the wing of a bird is replicated by the spar of an aeroplane. Both also have flexibility under the immense weight of the air above them. Furthermore, in order to lift off, they both have the same airfoil shape. However, a bird is counted as an ornithopter, meaning it can flap, which a plane obviously can’t do.

This has been happening for generations, human technology being inspired by what’s around us, and will hopefully continue in the future, to make and improve the world we live in.   

Super Sleep!

What does sleep really do for you?        

By Amber and Sandali

We all know sleep -  we love it, hate it or are somewhere in between. Sleep is something so everyday that we no longer see the importance of it and are quite happy to substitute a few hours for a strong coffee in the morning. Indeed many teenagers now feel that staying up late is something very ‘cool’. But do they really know the facts about sleep or its importance?

Teenagers are in an important stage of their life, with much to deal with, from looming tests, exploring their personality and, of course, growing a lot. Sleep is very important for this as deep sleep triggers the release of a hormone called HGH (human growth hormone) which promotes normal growth in children and teenagers. The hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues.

Another important reason for sleeping is the link that sleep deficiency has with a serious risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. This is due to the role sleep plays in repairing your heart and blood vessels.

There is also a risk of developing obesity just due to lack of sleep. This is because sleep also controls two other hormones -  a hormone to make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don't get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin drops. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’ve had enough sleep. Teenagers who have had less sleep are also more likely to crave more sugary and starchy foods to give them more energy during the day.

 Another important factor is that sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. So not sleeping could result in a higher than normal blood sugar level, leaving you at risk of developing type two diabetes.

So how much sleep do teenagers need? The NHS recommends over 9 hours of sleep. However in a recent survey carried out on year 7-11 pupils at the High School for Girls, Gloucester, it was discovered that only 11.5% percent of pupils were achieving this. The majority of students were only getting seven to eight hours of sleep on a school night and some people even admitted to having not gone to bed at all on a school night!


There were a variety of things pupils said that affected their sleep but based on their comments we have put together some tips to help you avoid these sleep- related problems.

  1. Try to avoid electronics (especially your phone) for a few hours before you go to bed as the blue light given off by them stimulates your brain to think that it is daytime.
  2. Do your homework earlier in the evening so it is out of the way and won’t give you lots of stress.
  3. Make sure you have eaten enough dinner so you don’t need to snack before bed. This will give you too much energy when you don’t need it.
  4. Leave some time to wind down before going to bed. Do something you find relaxing. For example some people thought that reading, listening to music, having a hot bath or doing some exercise to making tired before going to bed would really help them to get to sleep.

Will sleep affect students’ grades and learning ability?

Image result for sleep school

              It is well known that teenagers often grumble about getting themselves out of bed to head off to school. Parents will always remember fighting the “morning battle” with their kids as they do the school run. But is there something more to the desire for prolonged sleep, than just pure laziness? Should schools give teenagers the extra sleep they need by starting school at a later time?

A teenager’s body clock does not go well with an early rise. Naturally most teenagers will struggle to feel tired before 11:00pm. But it is best to try to pull your body clock back by one hour and hit the hay by at least 10pm. This way teenagers can wake up an hour earlier but still receive the adequate amount of sleep. During adolescence a minimum of nine hours of sleep is needed but most teens will only  have around seven hours at maximum. A lack of sleep could lead to irritability, hyperactivity and a lack of concentration says American scientist, David T. Willingham. 

Some schools are contemplating the benefits of a 10:00 am start. A trial at Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside investigated the results of starting school at 10:00 am. The likelihood of achieving good GCSE grades rapidly increased, with 34% of pupils achieving five good GCSE grades, compared to only 34% when school started at 8:50.

A major study is going to take place in over 100 schools. They will be divided into two groups- one starting at 10:00 am and the other going by their regular school routine. It will take place during 2016-2017 and the results of the investigation will be accessible to the general public during 2018.

Mrs Sawicka, Headteacher at the the High School for Girls, Gloucester expressed her views on this subject. When asked how likely it is that a change in school start time will affect students’ grades and cognitive ability. She responded by saying,  “It depends on what type of learner you are. Some students are night people whilst others are morning people. Therefore I think it will suit some students but not others.”

There are numerous changes that would have to be made if we wanted to delay our school starting time to 10:00am  from the current 8:30am.  “We would have to change break times, we might have to change the curriculum and when we teach it. A lot of the sports activities may need to change as well because it will just depend on whether we then lengthen the school day at the other end of the day. It might have an effect on whether we have got enough laboratories in the school. The amount of time spent in school may have to be shortened.  So lots of things will need to change as a result,” said Mrs Sawicka. She also noted that major changes will need to take place in terms of transport and bus schedules, saying that it will “depend on what the other schools are doing and whether you will be able to come on the same transport or not.”

 We conducted a survey, aimed at Year seven- eleven pupils at the High School for Girls in Gloucester. Our findings showed a broad range of opinions and whilst some students favoured the idea of a later school time, others disliked it.  One student wrote that “I think that is a good idea as at that time I am able to concentrate more” whilst others thought it would be too disruptive to their daily routines, commenting on the fact that they prefer to do homework in the evenings and that a later school start and end wouldl limit this. Others said that they would miss out on extra-curricular clubs that start soon after school.  

Can sleep really be a super saver for teens around the world?  We have yet to find out, but it is worth bearing in mind the benefits of sleep.

Technology throughout the generations

By Lottie and Nelly

With the ever growing use of communication technology, gadgets, gizmos and google have affected us in some way or another. Whether it be at work, school or home, most of us tend to take advantage of the simplicity of using the internet.  But, does the older generation adapt to the complex new world of technology , or are they being left behind? Do younger children now rely on technology for entertainment and education?