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NewsWise pupil reports

Enjoy our archive of reports written by pupils

Second lockdown strikes!

Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown across the UK on Saturday after a rapid rise in coronavirus cases. The new measures will come to effect on Thursday 5 November and will last until 2 December.

There are currently more than 9000 Covid-19 cases within England. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, places of worship and non-essential shops are closed but colleges, schools and universities will remain open.

Frank Letch, who is the mayor of Crediton, stated: "This new lockdown will reduce the amount of deaths and slow down the spread of the virus."

People are being told to avoid non-essential travel and only go out into work if it's not possible to work from home.

Many people have died of the virus including comedian Eddie Large who was best known for his partnership with Syd Little.

People are expected to follow the rules to save lives and protect the NHS, and remember to stay at home, wash their hands and make space.

Black Friday Amazon Boycott

A global group has called for a one day boycott of Amazon on Black Friday, due to their possible underpayment of tax.

The organisers of the protests state that Amazon do not treat their workers fairly, paying them too little during the pandemic. Also, citizens think that Amazon hurts our environment due to the trucks they send - people claim that Amazon are causing air pollution because of how many deliveries and cars they are driving.

Many people from all over the world use Amazon because of its convenience. Many other people disagree with the protest because people claim Amazon gives some of their workers money for university and spent £500m on bonuses for Christmas staff.

Sara, a local doctor, stated: “I used to think Black Friday was a brilliant idea for buying items from Amazon for cheaper prices, but this has made me question Amazon.”

Guy, a consultant, said: “Black Friday has two sides, one which is good and one which is bad. It is good when people can buy items for a lower price and bad if people go off buying things they don’t need which causes more waste.”

Beatrice, a mother of two, expressed: “I think Amazon is a good business concept but I think it is sad that over the years as it’s expanded it's taken away from small businesses. It’s also really disappointing that such a powerful company is unable to reduce their carbon footprint."

Yanis, an economist, took on a one-day boycott of Amazon with trade unionists, environmental activists, privacy campaigners and tax advocates. The first action took place in Sydney, Australia, with a protest at the Amazon warehouse. Protests also happened in Bangladesh, Brazil, France, India, Italy and many more places.

Mick, a trade union boss, argued that: “Enough is enough. Companies like Amazon should be treating their workers with respect, not treating them like Robots. Amazon responded by saying: “The group’s motivations were misleading and motivated by self-interested groups”.

International protest to #MakeAmazonPay

On Black Friday, a global coalition has called for a one-day boycott of Amazon, due to its treatment of its workers and the environment.

The organisers of the boycott claim that Amazon, "the everything shop", damages the environment, has made a vast amount of money during the pandemic and that they do not treat their workers with enough respect.

The #MakeAmazonPay group gave the company a list of demands that included raising the workers’ pay, putting an end to union-busting and taking climate action.

Many people claim that they do not want Amazon to earn too much money because it’s not good for the environment. They believe Amazon is bad for the world of book selling and the way they run the business means that independent bookshops find it hard to to survive.

Many people across the globe disagree. They think Amazon are convenient in the pandemic era with one-day delivery, and they have spent over £500m on bonuses for Christmas staff and they have a wide range of products. In an interview, Helen Williamson, a mother of four, explained: “We use Amazon all the time. It’s very convenient - all the family use it.”

Emmanuel, a father of three, and an accountant, said: “It’s good that they protest Amazon because they are avoiding their taxes.” Sharon, a grandmother of five, also the founder of Social Care 4 You, said: “I do not think Amazon should be protested because Amazon is a great company with their great deals.”

Amazon will only pay their workers £500m over Christmas, and this is something the protestors are protesting about. This amount is only a small fraction of what they make every day. Trade union boss, Mick, commented: “Enough is enough. Companies like Amazon should be treating their workers with respect not like robots.”

Wonderful wellbeing

From Monday 21 June to Friday 25 June, pupils and staff of a London primary school will be celebrating Wellbeing Week. They are doing this to encourage positive mental health and wellbeing.

The school began celebrating Wellbeing Week in 2016. Wellbeing Week is a week that is designed to help pupils and staff focus on their mental health and wellbeing.

Mrs B, a member of staff, stated that: “It’s a time to relax and take pressure away from everybody. It’s always good to feel like you’re getting a treat and very good for your mental health.”

During Wellbeing Week, pupils have relaxing lessons out of books to focus on themselves. Some things staff do include going home at 4pm and there is no marking in books to reduce pressure.

A child in year 5 explained that: “I love Wellbeing Week because we don’t have to work in books and there is less pressure.”

It is understood that mental health affects how we think, feel and interact with others. Our mental wellbeing is important because 8% of people living in the UK have anxiety and depression and one in four people have mental health issues.

The school hopes that children will learn that they can have more positive wellbeing.

Mr G, a deputy head, stated: “I think that wellbeing is really important because it’s about who we are, and in the last year and a half particularly, it’s been so difficult.”

Hillbrook are thinking about making a theme for the next Wellbeing Week and will continue to have Wellbeing Week three times a year.

Welcoming Wellbeing Week

Pupils and teachers at a London primary school will be celebrating Wellbeing Week from Monday 21 June to Friday 25 June. It will be a chance for them to focus and improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Wellbeing Week is a fundraising initiative for schools, established by the Mental Health Foundation. Throughout the week, everyone will learn about the wellbeing of themselves and their peers. Wellbeing week was initiated 21 years ago in America. The school has been using Wellbeing since 2016 and has since been a joy to students and teachers alike.

The Indigo Times spoke to a year 5 pupil who claimed: “Wellbeing Week is a treat and I always love the out of book lessons.”

On the topic of lessons, the hardworking teachers have designed enjoyable lessons and activities. We spoke to a dozen teachers about what they’re doing and one common theme was spending well deserved family time. This unique week helps you become charitable and positive and also helps curtail mental health risks.

“It’s a time to relax and take pressure away from everybody,” said the deputy head of the school, “it helps us connect and become more knowledgeable.”

According to research, mental health affects how we think, feel and act. The data shows that one in four British citizens will have mental health issues. Your wellbeing is an essential thing since it’s the state of comfort and happiness. On a sad note, 8% of people in the UK will have a combination of anxiety and depression.

Pupils and teachers at the school are looking forward to obtaining more opportunities to celebrate Wellbeing Week. Also it has been revealed that they’re considering a theme inspired by mental health week and their theme system.

Kench Hill re-opens

Year 6 from a London school went on a residential trip to Kench Hill in May for a week of fun outdoor activities.

Due to Covid, last year’s trip was cancelled, but when restrictions were lifted in March 2021, year 6 were able to visit for a week. They were the first to visit since the lockdown restrictions were relaxed.

To ensure everyone’s safety, only one school was allowed at the centre and the adults had to have regular tests during the visit.

The Kench Hill site and grounds are very historical and there has always been a house or farm there for around 250 years. It was once an emergency maternity hospital in the second world war. Since 1975 the centre has been hosting children for residential trips with their schools.

During their visit the children took part in various entertaining and educational activities such as: raft building and sailing, bread making, feeding chickens as well as a stream walk and many other activities.

Muratali, a student from the school, said: "I enjoyed orienteering and playing table tennis”.

Aniyah, who also went on the trip, stated: “I’d rate it a 10/10 as it was a super fun experience for young children and my favourite thing to do was the archery as it made me feel like I was in the Hunger Games!”

Jenni, a parent of a year 6 pupil, revealed how she felt when her daughter was away: “It felt like something was missing around the house - like a loss of excitement and activity.”

Barney, who works at Kench Hill said: “During lockdown the centre was unable to open up for residential visits however we diversified and supported local schools, providing outdoor educational programmes for key workers and vulnerable children. We also opened up a new holiday club for local children to visit during the school holidays.”

Hopefully, if restrictions remain lifted, schools will continue to visit Kench Hill.

Will online school return?

On 23 March 2020, schools in England were closed due to the pandemic and students had to learn online. Since 8 March 2021, schools have reopened and many have questioned whether schools should stay open or return to online learning.

Cases in England remain low, so it is unlikely that children will return to online learning. Although some children struggled with online learning, many thrived. Elsa, a year 6 pupil, commented: “Online lessons were hard, but they allowed the teachers and students to get to know each other better.”

The positive aspects of online learning are: student independence, pupils learn how to organise their time and it gives children the chance to go at a slower pace.

Although there are positive sides to online school, there are still many negative aspects in the system of online learning. Samuel, aged 11, said: "Online school was fun, but very complicated as sometimes the internet didn’t work.”

If online education continues, there would be less social interaction and some children will continue to struggle with using their time wisely and be distracted.

Coronavirus cases are currently lower which means that pupils will most likely stay in school. It has been reported that students who spend more time in the classroom have lower rates of stress and worry than their online classmates.

As coronavirus cases are decreasing, it appears very unlikely that students will return to online learning, but blended learning could be part of future learning.

Longer school days discussions

The UK Government is looking into the possibility of longer school days to help address the huge loss of vital time in the classroom over the last two years.

They are considering doing this so that the current generation will not miss out on the education that previous years have benefited from.

Mrs Young, Rhosddu Primary School headteacher, told us: "It should help pupils catch up, but I wonder if it will require too much concentration in a day. If it was here, I would like to do something different such as den building, drama, archaeology, bird boxes and bike riding.”

Mrs Jebb, a teacher, said: “I do think that an extended school day is an excellent idea - but I thought this long before Covid. I think that after-school sessions for specific children who have fallen behind would be a lot better... you can target these children and teach them what they are missing.”

University of Cambridge researchers do not believe longer schools days will make up for the Covid disruption .

The government in England is considering a national tutoring program offering small group and one-to-one tuition. As part of the recovery package this year, summer schools will be introduced for pupils in England who need it the most.

Terrible tornado trauma!

A tornado ripped through several streets in East London on the evening of Friday 25th June, damaging homes, destroying brick walls and smashing car windows.

A tornado is rapidly spinning air that stretches from a storm cloud and the Earth's surface. Tornadoes form in changing weather conditions as part of bad thunderstorms.

When you think of tornadoes you probably think of the USA, but the UK gets an average of 30 - 50 tornadoes a year. There have already been around seven tornadoes in the UK this year. In 2015, scientists looked at tornadoes in the UK and found that the area from Berkshire to London was likely to be hit by a tornado once every 17 years.

Tornadoes are measured using the ‘F’ scale, which goes from F0 to F5. 95% of British tornadoes are classed as F0 – F1, meaning that they only cause “moderate” damage.

The earliest F5-strength tornado on record struck London in 1901 and had wind speeds of up to 240 mph. The deadliest tornado in the UK, which caused five deaths, happened on 27th October 1913, in south Wales.

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