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Our students worked hard for BBC News School Report day - Thursday 10th March 2016. Please take a moment to read and watch their reports below, all chosen and created entirely by the students themselves.

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Is social media taking over teenagers lives? 



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Music and Drama at Varndean School. By Jacy, Milo and Hugo

Varndean School is in the city of Brighton in East Sussex. At the school, they give a variety of different subjects for students. At Varndean there has been speculation that the drama and music departments stand out as popular subjects. We interviewed one of the music teachers at the school, Mrs Denman, and she explained, “When I was in Primary School we all had to learn the recorder and the middle school came and played in an orchestra for us and that’s when I first heard the flute. After that I decided I wanted to learn it.”

Mrs Denman – music teacher being interviewed.

Later, we managed to get an interview with Mr Edgar Taljaard, the Head of the Drama department, and he explains how he enjoys being a drama teacher at the school,

“I have the best job in the school!” Mr Taljaard says. “I haven’t been in a show for a long time. The last show I did was in 2004 and I had a small part in that. I believed the recent school show was a huge success, Little Shop of Horrors, and we only had three shows. They sold out. It really gave the students a chance to have fun and express themselves fully. The Year 11 GCSE showcase should be a great success as it was last year. I have high hopes for this year’s Year 11s.” picture from the show

Mr Edgar Taljaard being interviewed.


We interviewed a few of the other students who love both subjects. A Year 7 student, Faustas, explained how he felt about drama:

“I love drama because it gives you a chance to act out all the emotions that are inside of you. Mr Taljaard gives you a specific task and a motive and it’s just generally fun.”

Another Year 7 student from a different form, Theo, is fond of music and he gave us his views on the subject,

“I think music is a great because it’s really enjoyable to play. In lessons I have enjoyed getting the chance to learn a new instrument I’ve never tried out before. I think it’s a good chance for the Year 7s to learn a new instrument in their lessons so, even those who are less fond of music, can get an understanding of what it’s like.”

It’s clear that both the music and drama departments captivate the students and the teachers at Varndean. You never know; the students at Varndean could be the film stars and musicians of the future.

Written by Jacy

Interviews by Milo and Hugo

Are schools providing enough mental health support? By Leah, Lola, Isabella and Carys

If you are feeling stressed, anxious and worried when you are at school, where do you go for help? Currently, across schools in the UK, there has been a rise in young people suffering from mental health issues.

A recent survey by the Association of School and College Leaders asked head teachers about the mental health services they provide in their school. Almost 65% of them said that they have struggled to get mental health services for the pupils in their school.

Place 2 Be is a charity aimed at helping children between the ages of 5-16 years with mental health issues. They have reported that 1 in 10 children, or 3 in every classroom, have mental health issues. They also say that depression and anxiety in teenagers has increased by 70% in the past 25 years. This would mean that secondary schools need to increase support to be able to cope with these figures.

Students from Varndean School in Brighton have said that the main reasons that they are anxious and worried are due to “the pressure of getting good grades”, “the large amount of homework” and the upcoming GCSEs. Some students were aware of the help they can get from teachers, but think more can be done to help them. Worryingly, many of the students didn’t know even that there was a counsellor in the school.

The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has proposed a £3 million investment for mental health services within schools. Teachers are being trained specifically to help counsel students with mental health issues so more people can help if they need to.

We asked a teacher what they thought, and they told us “both students and teachers need to be aware of specific needs to make progress with the mental health services in this school.”

Reported by Leah, Lola, Isabella and Carys

The EU Referendum - To be or not to be? By Evie, Maddy, Tilly And Bella

This news report will tell you all you need to know about the UK referendum (Britain leaving the EU).

The UK referendum vote will ask citizens over the age of 18 from the UK, the Commonwealth, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. Also, people with UK nationals who live overseas that have been on the electoral register for the last 15 years. Whichever side has the most votes will determine whether the United Kingdom will stay or leave the EU. This vote will occur on the 23rd of June 2016. The voting system used for the referendum will be similar to others used in different elections. People who have registered to vote will be sent a card that tells them when and where they are able to vote on the 23rd of June. David Cameron has agreed to change several things if we leave the EU that will take place immediately. Some of these changes include: child benefits abroad being lowered, migrant welfare payments (limiting in-work benefits) and the protection of the London City. Some people believe that the UK is being held back by the other countries in The European Union and they want to have control over how the UK is ruled without the aid of the EU. On the other hand, some people want the UK to remain part of the EU.

We asked 2 students and 2 teachers their opinion on the UK leaving the EU, we gathered our information to find the conclusion of what two students have learnt about the EU due to society as young adults, we found that our two pupils had not received enough information to complete their opinion of leaving or remaining an EU citizen but had a vague ideas of what it meant to stay in the EU, both secondary students mentioned that they did not believe that the UK could survive without the help of the EU and revealed they thought that Britain’s society would not remain multicultural and thought lots of immigrants would need to leave, one of the students mentioned that they thought leaving would have a benefit for British adults as there would be more job availability therefore more income for the people of the UK.

On the other hand, we asked a drama teacher their view on the knowledge they were supplied from BBC news and surrounding websites across the UK but learnt that him too had not enough information supplied to him to finalise their decision on leaving and did not see how the controversial change could possibly affect him as a UK citizen, we asked a languages teacher who studied Politics at a degree level and she said she was strongly opinionated to stay within the EU giving us lots of reasons why we should remain.

In conclusion, we have learnt that voting in or out is a very controversial decision and the UK needs more information before us as a country can decide the big vote, that’s why we need to make our future adults aware of what this world needs to handle financial and social issues globally.


Maddy, Tilly, Bella and Evie

Do people waste their money on phones? By Betty and Marissa

Today more and more people are wasting their money on iPhones because they feel they need to look cooler around other people. Our research shows that an average phone costs £40-£100 to an iPhone which costs £400-£600. There is a worrying difference between these two amounts!

However, there is not much difference between the technology of iPhones and other phones.

We went out to ask some questions. We found out what phones people had, what they liked about their phones and how much charge it needed. When we found out what people liked about their phones, we realised that the things people said were quite similar. This concludes that you could spend less than £100 on a phone that’s just as good as an iPhone!  


Betty and Marissa

Year 7

What is music like for schools? By Gabriel, Arya and Joseph 

Children who study music tend to be better at vocabulary and reading than other students who do not participate in music lessons.

Children with learning disabilities or dyslexia who sometimes lose focus could benefit greatly from music lessons.

Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to do well in all of their studies, work better in teams, have better thinking skills, stay in school, and do further education.

On the other hand, music can lower your grades.

Research says when you are doing your homework and listening to music, you concentrate too much on the music and therefore you don’t focus on the work as much as you could.

We asked a music teacher their opinions on these questions:

Do you think music helps students to get better grades?

‘Yes it does, it helps build your creativity and social skills.’

What do you like about music?

‘Music can change your mood and help you cheer up.’

What would you be without music?

‘I would be empty and unhappy.’

How helpful do you think music is in life?

‘Extremely helpful it helps you to keep calm and relax.’

Does music distract us when we’re working?

‘It depends on the type of music. Music with words usually distracts but slow music without lyrics usually doesn't.’

In conclusion, Music in schools can be both advantageous and disadvantageous. Music is said to improve academic results and smartness. Although, research suggests that it can distract you if you listen to music while doing homework, or something similar to that, it is definitely something that makes you feel very good.

By Gabriel, Arya and Joseph

Year 7