An online daily news service linked to different parts of the curriculum that helps teachers bring the daily news alive, has been launched by national newspaper journalists.
The Day aims to highlight the debates behind current affairs and issues discussed in the media and connect them to different parts of the curriculum. It turns current news stories into lively issues, helping teachers engage pupils during form time and in their subjects through the medium of current events, as well as saving time for the teachers themselves.
It is already being used in more than 250 secondary schools across the country as part of a trial.
Editors at The Day choose three stories for every edition, providing a balance of UK news, international, sport, the environment and the dilemmas and issues of the day. It also includes talking points, less obvious stories and a very popular weekly news quiz. The mix is designed to cater for the whole 11 – 18 age range and to include material for a range of abilities.
Schools receive links to the three stories on an e-mail every evening, taking them to The Day’s website where a pdf of each story can be downloaded. A longer online version ideal for use on classroom whiteboards is also available. Subscribers have access to the archive of stories, sorted by curriculum subjects and key words.
The chosen stories are connected to curriculum subjects and The Day’s own graphics department provides drawings, information-rich graphics and cartoons to accompany the stories. There are suggested related activities, debating options, a Q and A, and video links to further information for each one.
Stephen Adcock, who teaches Politics and History at Burlington Danes Academy, says of The Day: “It’s proving a great way to enable students to access relevant stories about current affairs, which also saves teachers from having to sift through thousands of articles themselves to find interesting ones, appropriately written.
“We want our students, many from a tough inner city environment, to have confidence about the wider world, which they often don’t have. The Day meets that need and is going down very well. It is accessible no matter what the age group or background of students.”
Professor Richard Andrews from the Department of Learning, Curriculum and Communication in the Faculty of Children and Learning at the Institute of Education, has also welcomed The Day.
“Debating is vital, and news is a catalyst for discussion that people can relate to,” he says. “It is important to recognise that at the heart of each school subject is a series of debates. History, for example, is in many ways about the process of digging down to the point of dispute. That is how you open up being critical and thoughtful”
Recent editions have covered the floods in Queensland, the turmoil in Egypt and a campaign by poets to recover St George as an emblem away from the political far right. Each story is distilled and given context to aid discussion and debate. Exceptional unfolding stories, like the protests in Egypt, will be given special live coverage: an Egypt special, free to non-subscribers, is running at the moment.
“Teachers know they can click on an email and reliably get interesting and accessible stories, and that the language will be appropriate for young inquiring minds,” says Philippa Nunn, Headteacher of Waldegrave School for girls.
Waldegrave, which has 1,000 pupils, was last year named top state secondary school without a sixth form in the UK in The Sunday Times Parent Power list of best schools.
“The immediacy of The Day saves busy teachers a lot of research time. It gives kids instant access to news stories to promote discussion about current events, which is very helpful for tutor time. We work hard to broaden the school experience and for that The Day is really appreciated.”
The Day is valuable for promoting the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of pupils required in all curriculum subjects. It also directly informs the PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education) curriculum which runs though all years of the secondary curriculum.
The Day founder Richard Addis, who has five children, said: “I believe that news makes learning exciting. If you can use your History, Science, Maths and English in conversation it acquires a whole new glamour. You are interesting, informed, opinionated. People listen. And it will help you get into university or get a job”.
The Day also helps schools to encourage pupil interest in English, Maths, Science, History and Geography, as well as offering a topical source for discussion and translation in Modern Foreign Languages, which education Secretary Michael Gove wants to put at the heart of the curriculum. It gives the subjects relevance.
Note to Editors.
The Day costs between £500 to £1,000 a year for a school. Each online edition is sent out in the evening of every school day, ready for teachers and pupils the following morning before classes. There is no advertising.
Partner organisations include Teach First, the English Speaking Union and SSAT
It is edited by Miranda Green, former education correspondent for the Financial Times. Richard Addis is a former newspaper editor (Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Globe and Mail).