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BBC News School Reporting Day 2014
BBC News School Reporting Day 2014 - Thursday 27th March
Today is Blackheath High School's third ‘BBC News School Report News Day’. ‘BBC News School Report’ is a national project which encourages students to produce their own ‘real’ news reports. Reports are published online on our website and linked to from the BBC News website. Thousands of school reporters across the country have been taking part in the News Day.
Please see the results of their hard work below (also available to download at foot of this webpage) and on our video gallery by clicking the link below:
Our roving reporters have been dashing around to interview prominent local people and staff on a variety of local and national issues, including 'The History of Greenwich Market', 'Greenwich Market to be remodelled', 'Crossrail: What does it mean for us?', 'Centenary of WW1 Outbreak: Blackheath in 1914', 'Blackheath: How has it changed over 100 years?', 'What makes a successful restaurant?', 'The Olympic Legacy: Where are we now?', 'London Bridge Station to Close' and 'Pop Festival on Blackheath?'
We were delighted to welcome the following prominent local guests, who kindly agreed to be interviewed by the students on current local issues. our guests included:
Russell Norman – Restaurateur, Waterstone’s Book of Year Winner, former teacher, and The BBC’s ‘Restaurant Man’
Gus Scott – Woolwich Project Manager, Crossrail
Geoffrey Brighty - The Conservative Councillor for Blackheath Westcombe Ward, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Neil Rhind – Published historian on Blackheath and Greenwich and Vice President of The Blackheath Society
Liz Wright – Member of The Blackheath Society
Alex Grant - Labour councillor for Blackheath Westcombe Ward, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Anna Rakitina (Marketing Coordinator, Greenwich Market) and Jennifer Hall-Thompson (PR Representative from Greenwich Market)
Should Scotland be an Independent Country? by Amy
The discussion on this matter has been going on for some years now, and finally Alex Salmond has got his way: to have a referendum.
On Thursday 18th of September 2014 there will be a vote on the question as to whether or not Scotland should become independent. Anyone who is 16 years old on voting day and who meets the relevant residence and nationality criteria is entitled to vote.
But should Scotland become independent?
“I think Scotland should remain in the UK. It would benefit Scotland and it would benefit the UK,” says Mrs Lardner
The YES campaign has as its slogan: “Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands”. They say that only a yes vote can create the equality that Houses of Parliament in Westminster have failed to deliver. They say that only by gaining independence can Scotland properly tackle the unfairness and inequality that exists in its society, as well as in the UK in general.
The BetterTogether campaign says no to independence. They say that independence will bring economic and practical problems. For example: big companies who employ a lot of people in Scotland may well decide to leave it and relocate to England (or Wales). Not only would this mean that the tax from the profit of the business wouldn’t be paid in Scotland but nor would the employees’ tax – and presumeably at least some of them would then be unemployed and become a burden on the Scottish government. If a plethora of companies did this the Scottish government would very soon go bankrupt or have no money to do the things it wants to do as a result of becoming independent, such as bringing in free child care and maintaining free NHS prescriptions.
There are also practical problems: what about passports, what about currency? Having been asked the question of currency, Geoffrey Brighty said, “Well, I don’t think they know, do they? ……. The options are to set up their own currency or to join the euro.”
Would they have their own Olympic team? As an English Brit I think we would miss some of their wonderful sportsmen and women – for example Andy Murray, Jenny Jones!And what about the Union Jack flag?!
Mr Jordan says, “There is no reason for us to change [the flag]” but vexillologists have been busy trying to suggest alternatives; here are a few of them:
The first design takes out the blue field of the Scottish flag, replacing it with black, and turns the white bands a shade of yellow - intended to honour the flag of Wales' patron saint, St David (a yellow cross on a black field).
The second (below) seeks to address the same issue, but by borrowing elements of Wales' current national flag - the field of green and white that lies behind its red dragon.
The third (below) is a more modern interpretation of the design, including the colours of St David's flag and retaining the Scottish blue - to reflect the fact that Scotland would continue to share the British monarchy.
There are 174 days before the referendum as the countdown clock on every Scottish website constantly reminds us. I think we will need every last one!
Centenary of WW1 Outbreak: Blackheath in 1914 - by Olivia
What's happening about the centenary of WW1?
It has been 100 years since the outbreak of WW1 in 1914 and many people in Blackheath are commemorating this, such as the Blackheath Rugby Club. They have started a project to remember all those associated with the Club who gave their lives in the conflict. The names of some of these people are:
- Edward Fenwick Boyd
- Charles Edward Wilson
- R.F. Simson
- John Thomas Atkinson
These four men were from Blackheath and died in 1914.
The Dobson War Relief Hospital.
The Dobson War Relief Hospital opened in 1914 with 50 beds. By December in the same year the beds were fully occupied. It was a special hospital for convalescence. The building remains on 22 Charlton Road, Blackheath Standard but is now the Blackheath and Newbridge Working Men’s club. It closed in May 1919 after the end of the war.
Neil Rhind, Historian on Blackheath.
Neil Rhind is a historian on Blackheath so I interviewed him on Blackheath in 1914. He told me that nearly all of Blackheath's residents at the time, such a stock brokers and doctors, had large substantial houses with acres and acres of land. An interesting fact I got from him was that the last horse drawn cab was in 1914.
How has Blackheath changed?
From Liz Wright, a member of Blackheath Society, I learnt that, in 1914, Blackheath was a wealthy but local village, with only a couple of shops such as butchers and florists.
Around this time they did not have a Blackheath Society because they did not think that all the people needed a say in the community of the village. The ‘Children of the Great War’ is a project set up by the ‘Age Exchange’ who are interviewing children of WW1. They have interviewed over 1000 people.
What Makes a Successful Restaurant? - by Paula and Emmanuela
There are more important things to restaurants than food and drinks, such as presentation and looks. A restaurant also needs to create a casual and relaxed feeling. The restaurant's atmosphere can change how you feel, as well as this you need to offer value and good quality food. People like a good offer for money, which means that you need to offer good food for a reasonable price.
Many people think it is easy to open restaurants, because they like to eat and go out and forget that a restaurant is also a business. 'A dinner party with a till' is what Russell described some people assume running a restaurants to be like. 25% of new restaurants have closed because people don't know what they are doing; after 4 years 65% closed.
Russell Norman opened his first restaurant on the 30th of September 2009. He took a risky chance as he only just left a good job, but he felt confident because he had helped other people open their own restaurants. But it didn’t all go as planned as he didn’t have enough money to afford a designer, so he had to do it himself and he did all his designs for his restaurants from then on. He worked 6 days a week for 6 months and was rewarded as his restaurant was soon very popular and busy. The restaurant had about 65 seats and 2000 people, which if you do the calculations is 185 people a day!
We were very lucky as we got to interview Russell Norman about his book on Polpo, based on his restaurant. It is also a Venetian cook book, with 140 recipes. ‘My love letter to Venice’ is how he described it. Like his restaurants he spent a long time on design, such as making the book have no spine so when you are cooking using a recipe from the book it doesn’t spring back. Part of the book is also a guide to Venice as well. It was so good that it became Waterstone’s Book of the Year. He was also the BBC’s restaurant man; his job was to help people who are opening up their own restaurants. They filmed the series for 7 ½ months, which took a lot of hard work and time. Every hour that you watch is equal to 60 hours of film making. It was so popular it repeated for the 3rd time on BBC 2, Thursdays.
But not all his restaurants have been plain sailing. One of his restaurants was really popular but was in a small place. They ended up turning 100 people away because they didn’t take bookings, people ended up staying there the whole night. So then he decided to close the restaurant and open it in a bigger and better place. His smallest restaurant has 28 seats and his largest has 120 seats. Russell Norman is also known as king of Soho and has opened 7 restaurants in 4 1/2 years. He’s building his next one on Notting Hill. His Restaurants are a great success. We wish to thank Mr Norman for answering our questions and wish him the best of luck in the future.
Restaurant Failure: Why is it so Common? - by Scarlett and Maddie
Over the past few years it is becoming harder and harder to run a small family restaurant because of the ever rising tax and rent. For small business the struggle has become just too hard to survive. During February 2009 in the recession or “Credit crunch”, more than 100 British restaurants went out of business. In 2011 684 restaurants went under and were forced to close down; 194 closed in the run up to Christmas.
Even huge chain restaurants like Burger-King are starting to feel the strain. A local restaurant in Blackheath village “Venice” closed within three months of opening! This shows how hard it is to run a restaurant. With struggling restaurants all over London and the UK people are starting to wonder what makes a successful restaurant!
We interviewed Russell Norman, owner of many restaurants including Polpo, and dubbed “ King of Soho”, he told us he believes that many restaurant owners “don’t know what they are doing when they start out. They think it’s easy because they’ve thrown a diner party and it’s been successful!” For small businesses who are not huge chain restaurants without the recognition or large income they have no choice but to close down. Local people can be affected by this because there are no longer any individual restaurants. For example, an independent shop, Handmade Food, must move to France because the rents are lower there.
Restaurant failure is a growing issue and it is sad to see so many individual and unique restaurants suffer. What will be next to go?
The History of Greenwich Market - by Pascale and Natasha
On the 27th of March, Blackheath High School girls got a taste of work in journalism. Pascale and Natasha were given the theme of “the history of Greenwich Market.” They interviewed Liz Wright, and here is what she thought of Greenwich Market.
Natasha – How do you think Greenwich Market is going?
Liz -I think it is going very well, with all the tourists coming from all over the world. You say how is it going, does this mean you are worried about the popularity?
Natasha -No, its just that we heard it was going to be re-furbished.
Liz – Oh, well, I remember there used to be an antiques shop near where they are doing a lot of work, and I liked not only the shop, but I thought, and still think that it is a very good source for fun and crafts!
London Bridge Station to Close - by Subee and Niyah
Is this closure the right thing to do?
London Bridge is due to be closed soon for rebuilding. This is a situation which has been discussed over the past few years. People using this station will have a tough time for 3 years! It will be closed from 2013-2018 and for that reason the people have to go to Cannon Street. This could cause chaos for passengers but being reporters we have also found out that some people agreed that it is not a bad thing to demolish this station after all.
The following people have been asked for their point of view: Miss Johnson, Mrs Rose, Mr Parsons, Jenifer, Alex Grant and Neil Rhind. Each individual had different opinions. Miss Johnson said it could be “foolish to demolish everything at once.” Mrs Rose said “I can’t believe that such a major station in the city is closing down.” Councillor Alex Grant said that it would be a complete disturbance for the people but something has to be done. Historian Neil Rhind said that it was such a shame as that a part of the station was built by a person from Blackheath and it was the oldest part.
Overall, the quotes suggest that people think the closure will disruptive, but at same time it could be easier if everything is done in one go so that it would be better for passengers to travel through. Also this station is the only one which hasn’t been demolished yet since it was first built, so it needs to be cleaned and become more modern. This is going to be continuous for three years so everyone would be transferred to Cannon Street. Is this the right thing to do?
Crossrail - What Does it Mean for Us? - by Ingrid
Crossrail – an ambitious and large-scale suburban rail service for London and the South-East of England – is scheduled for completion in 2018.
The new service will connect the City, Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow Airport to the commuter belt east and west of London. This will make it both easier and quicker to travel across the capital for the first time via new railway lines and tunnels. Each train will be 200 metres long and able to carry as many 1500 passengers. This is nearly twice as much as the current London Underground services. It will make travelling a much more comfortable experience for passengers.
According to the company responsible for building the new network: “The Crossrail will provide connections with more underground lines than any other service, which will enable more direct journeys and simpler interchanges.”
The detailed timetable for Crossrail will be determined nearer to when services are scheduled to begin, meaning they’ll be more accurate.
However, there are some raised concerns. Many are worried about the wildlife which may be harmed in the making of the huge cross rails. Britain is already losing a measure of its green because of new buildings, but the Crossrail could mean even more is disrupted. Building may also disturb other trains and their destinations, delaying the people of the UK on their busy daily journeys. Noisy construction could also be troubling for locals.
Overall, for us, Crossrail means that it will become easier to travel across London and quicker to get where we want to go, as well as giving us more comfortable journeys and more space on the train. Therefore, we will definitely benefit from the new Crossrail network.
Pop Festival on Blackheath? - by Naveen and Emily
Lewisham Council has granted a licence to a company called NIMBY, which will allow them to set up a pop festival on the heath. The Blackheath Society and many other people living nearby are fighting against it.
We interviewed Neil Rhind, vice president of this society, who said such festivals “are intrusive and cause people who live near to suffer.” He didn’t think a festival was fair on the residents who live nearby, as it would be a nuisance.
We also interviewed another guest Liz Wright who thought that the idea of a pop festival “in the middle of a residential area” would be a bad idea as it wouldn’t be fair on the residents.” She also said: “there would be lots of transport problems.”
There was a person who tweeted that they were fed up with people trying to convince them to support the Pop Festival. Liz and Neil were on the same side as the tweeter as they thought that “cold callers are very irritating”.
Lots of people think that the festival isn’t something for every age group. Pop festivals attract younger people therefor alcohol and an awful lot of noise. Although, as Gracie said, it would be brilliant to have some entertainment around here.
Girls in year nine said that they would enjoy having a pop festival on the heath. The NIMBY has decided to have a pop festival every year on the heath. Each festival would last for 2 days. What I am worried about is the amount of debris that is going to be left after the pop festivals. Also, the organisers will have to spend a lot of money on the bands, tables, chairs, food and drinks. Where will all of this money come from and where will the money they have made over the two days go?
To answer these questions we will have to wait till the festival and see what happens!
The Olympic Legacy - Where Are We Now?
- by Grace, Emilia and Leah
We were lucky enough to be given the 2012 Olympics, but what benefit does it have to you in 2014? We asked some of the teachers at Blackheath High School what they thought.
Lots of people went to the Olympics during summer 2012 and they all said what a great atmosphere there was. We asked them if they had been inspired to take up any sport and Dr Mustafa said “I actually got into swimming.”
Ms Laws (left) said: “I wish I could say yes to that but unfortunately, no.”
Also, West Ham are going to use the Olympic Stadium as there football ground. I personally think it’s good that it is going to be used but maybe it shouldn’t be used as a football pitch, but perhaps as a athletics track for a club. At least it’s being used.
Well now you've heard the positive and negative views of the Olympics, what do you think?
Amnesty International News: What Do We Do To Help?
- by Sydney, Srishti and Thandiwe
Amnesty International is a charity to help countries for Human Rights. They help give justice to all types of people against laws that could kill or harm them.
Blackheath High School helps Amnesty by holding various events to raise money and help for justice. They have a weekly club and discuss recent events they have heard in the news related to Amnesty types of events. Every week they go on the Amnesty International website and research the cases.
The various events Amnesty have taken part in include writing Christmas cards to people in jail for unacceptable reasons and JAMNSTEA—this was a Rock Show and Tea party.
This academic school year they have participated in the BBC School Report. Blackheath High Reporters Sydney, Srishti and Thandiwe have interviewed guests to test their awareness and find out their opinions.
London restaurant owner, Russell Norman, said: “I am a very big fan of Amnesty.”
The interviews conducted can be downloaded as pdf documents at the bottom of this page.