News from The Kings of Wessex Academy

BBC News School Report on Local Libraries: the next chapter?

1st April, 2018 by Jude Owens

In the penultimate week of term (Thursday 15 March 2018), seven Kings and Queens News Team journalists at The Kings of Wessex Academy spent a morning as roving reporters for this year’s BBC News School Report.

An exciting national day for young journalists aged between 11 and 18, BBC News School Report is an opportunity to produce their own news report on a topic of interest to them. This year the team went for a story close to school that they called “Local Libraries: the next chapter” prompted by Somerset County Council’s review of library operations; one being Cheddar. Local Government budgets are tight and the Council are considering different ways of providing a library service – possibly either run partly by volunteers or by a mobile library service.

Every journalist worth their salt knows the importance of creating a balanced story and the team interviewed a number of sources for their report, including the Chair of Friends of Cheddar Library, Sue Purkiss who extolled the virtues of local libraries and the importance of keeping it open and they visited Cheddar Library where they spoke to Jeremy Smith who enthused about all the library has to offer for a wide range of people, especially young people. The school’s own Learning Resource Centre Manager Bridget Knutson told the students about the history of libraries originating in the mid-Victorian era as a socialist idea for the “improvement of the public” showing the link between education and libraries. Local MP James Heappey shared his views on the value of libraries in a community; whilst Councillor David Hall, the Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Development for Somerset County Council provided a statement about the consultation, which has now been extended until mid-June.

The report opened with a news bulletin recounting some of the team's past stories; not least the increase in the price of milk recalling their “Milking the Money” story from 2015 and they concluded that the consultation had brought the topic of libraries into sharp focus. Is it a case that humans want what they have not got - or risk not having? So it looks like a question of use it or lose it.

As well as producing their report, the keen journalists who are normally accustomed to writing reports, had to spend time editing their story in time for the BBC deadline for it to be uploaded to the academy website that afternoon. They did it and the full report can be watched here:

Commenting on this year’s report, Executive Headteacher Gavin Ball said:

“Well done to our Kings and Queens News Team for their interesting news story for this year’s BBC News School Report. I am very proud of them for compiling such an insightful and balanced story on a topic close to many people’s hearts.”