Skip to main content
BBC School Report 2019

BBC School Report 2019

BBC School Report 2019

This year a few students from years 9-12 wrote articles and reported the news both nationally and locally. Please take the time to read their articles here or via the link to the BBC site:

Arriva Fever

Is tardiness a Medway epidemic?

Arina S, 15, The Rochester Grammar School

Arriva is the main bus service that children of a secondary age, in Medway, use to commute to school. Schools such as The Rochester Grammar School, Fort Pitt Grammar School and Holcombe Grammar School value punctuality in their students very highly, and serious repercussions are issued to those who fail to meet their expectations. However, many students do attempt to argue the fact that their late arrivals are not their fault, and can be explained by the delays in the bus services they use.

The most popular bus services in Medway are the 140 and the 700, which both have routes through Strood, Rochester and Chatham. They are not school specific and allow any members of the public to use them, with stops at every 20 minutes. Those students that can fortunately use these services do find that their punctuality does not suffer, as there are multiple opportunities to use the bus during the school run. However, some bus services such as the 670 and the 653 are specifically endorsed to commute students from areas around Strood and Halling to the Rochester Grammar Schools on Maidstone Road. These buses run their routes once in the early morning, so students only have one opportunity to use their respective bus to get to school. This concludes in many students missing their buses and actually having to find different ways of commuting. This is a major issue for those students who have parents working during school hours or for those who live in rural areas, as they do not have any other modes of transport. This is something not is not greatly considered by schools in Medway.

However; even in the regular bus routes, it has been noticed that they consistently fail to meet the scheduled times of arrival. Some students are forced to wait almost an hour on some mornings for their bus to arrive, due to the lack of traffic awareness in the service. When students arrive at school after using these services, it can be found that they are considerably late and are therefore punished for their actions. Some parents resent the need for the consequences of their child’s punctuality as they do not deem this to be their fault. Arriva has attempted to resolve this issue by sending bus services out earlier than usual, and waiting for longer periods of time at the stops, to make sure the students are given enough time and opportunity to get on the bus. This has begun to make the delays shorter but it still hasn’t improved the issues of punctuality among students that take the bus.

The Medway Youth Council has already begun work on improving the punctuality and availability of the bus services to students, when on school runs. By working together with Arriva, they believe that they will be able to improve the standards of the bus services, to ensure that students get to school, on time, and to make sure that the commute itself is far more comfortable for them as well.

With all the work towards the issues posed; Arriva, the Medway Council and the Medway Youth Council all feel that they can finally get all students to school on time once and for all.

Temporary termination of midwife-led units causes unease over birthing options

By Ibukun A

Many of us are born in clean, sanitary hospitals on a busy labour ward with the sound of midwives and doctors bustling about in the corridors, the screams of other women as they reach the most demanding point of labour and the first cries of a new born baby. This became the most common method of giving birth with immediate access to specialist care; however, in the last 20 years there has been an increase in the amount of people using birth centres. Providing one to one contact with midwives, resources such as birth stools and birth balls, they provide a relaxing and calm atmosphere for women to welcome another child into the world. Unfortunately, with the recent shut down of birth centres, not all women currently have access to these places.

What is a birth centre?

A birth centre is a maternity unit that is often staffed by midwives. They aim to provide a homely, rather than clinical environment. They specialise in supporting women who want to have a natural birth with no medical interventions. Often these centres are set up with facilities to help the women to feel calm and in control.

Shut down of Birthing centres

The closing down of birth centres across England by NHS chiefs has caused many arguments across the nation, with critics stating that pregnant women are being denied the choice of place of birth.

These closures mean women have to give birth in obstetric units in hospitals, where doctors are in charge rather than midwives. Elizabeth Duff a senior policy advisor at the parenting charity NCT voiced her concerns on this act, saying “Once in a hospital, a woman is more likely to undergo medical intervention in her birth, such as a caesarean section or forceps being used to deliver her baby.” This is also a result of a shift in older motherhood, a rise in maternal obesity and also trying to reduce stillbirth and the effect of the shortage of midwives.

The Cossham birth centre in Bristol was temporarily closed in October 2018 and the midwives were transferred to a maternity unit at Southmead hospital. The North Bristol NHS trust runs both facilities – Cossham birth centre and they did not have enough staff for both to operate safely. CQC stated, “There was a caring culture fully embedded across the service. Time spent with women was not rushed. Care was delivered with kindness, compassion and understanding. We saw exemplary patient-centred care being given, and this was confirmed in patient feedback,”.

Why is it important to have more birth centres?

In birth centres, midwives provide a more holistic, community-based care, research proves that this is safe and protective of women’s health and cost – effective. He CCQ have reported it as having a “caring culture” where “time spent with women was not rushed…care was delivered with kindness, compassion and understanding.” In addition, to this they reported them of having “exemplary patient – centred care being given.” These centres allow women to have a choice and be able to be in a safe and home like environment while still receiving quality medical care.


FGM: “Mummy why did you cut me?”

By Katie J

FGM is a barbaric practice that is affecting girls around the world. Every two hours a case of FGM has been reported in England however only recently has a mother been convicted of mutilating her three-year-old daughter. The 37-year-old mother was prosecuted at the Old Bailey. She claimed that her daughter had climbed to get a biscuit and “fell on metal and it had ripped her private parts.” The mother had taken the daughter to hospital where medics soon contacted the police because the injuries did not support the story but were consistent of FGM. Her injuries were extensive and she “lost a significant amount of blood as a result of the injuries they had delivered and inflicted on her.” There are four types of FGM:

Type 1: The partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or its prepuce.

Type 2: The clitoris and labia minora are partially or totally removed.

Type 3: The narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. This is formed by cutting/sewing over the outer labia, with or without removal of the clitoris or inner labia.

Type 4: This type consists of all procedures to the genitalia for non-medical purposes, (e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.).

It is estimated that one in 20 women have to undergo some form of FGM. This has happened to over 137,000 girls and woman in England and Wales alone. This is nothing compared to the 200 million cases worldwide.

However, many cases are not brought to court. Victims are too scared or upset to report the crime or do not believe it is wrong because it happened to their mother and their grandmother and their great grandmother. How can the cycle be stopped?

In 2015, FGM was banned in Nigeria but the practise still continues today. The following are quotes from the Guardian Video report: Mummy why did cut me? “I saw my bed which was prepared with red bed sheets, everything red”- Immaculatar Ayim (Cut 20th December 2015.) “They say if you refuse to lie down, we will force you to lie down.”-Stella (Cut 28th December 2014.) “My mouth was covered so as not to alert people nearby that I was being circumcised.” -Gift Egbe (Cut 10th December 2015.) “When they were circumcising me, when I was going through the pain, my mother was looking at me and I was looking at her.” -Nora (Cut 21st December 2011.) “I asked my mother “Mummy why did you cut me?” She said it was our culture and her mother cut her.”- Not named (Cut 25th December 2015.)

Why is FGM still a practise today? They say it’s to make woman more feminine to make them more desirable. They say it’s to preserve virginity and make a girl a woman. They say it makes childbirth safer. FGM has no medical benefits! It causes its victims pain while having sex, menstruation and peeing. They no longer feel pleasure when having intercourse. As well as this childbirth is harder and FGM can sometimes cause obstructed labour which can cause the foetus death or brain damage. Some might not even be lucky to have children as it can cause infertility. This doesn’t even cover the mental problems that FGM can cause like depression, anxiety and PTSD.

However, there is still hope. From 2020 secondary students will be taught about the dangers and horrors of Female Genital Mutilation in sex education classes along with other forms of sex related abuse like Grooming and Forced Marriage. Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Everyone must do all they can to protect women and girls from this extreme form of gendered violence.” The reforms to relationships and sex education curriculum will ensure young people are taught about different forms of abuse and their rights under the law in an age-appropriate way.

If you are a victim of FGM or know someone that is or might be in risk of being one call the NSPCC at 0800 028 3550.

Mummy why did you cut me:

Gender Marketing: Effective or Dehumanising?

By Izzy D

In today’s society, people are constantly told to break boundaries between genders and be who they are, no matter what. However, what if that is the exact thing retailers don’t do to make customers purchase their products?

Gender marketing is a business technique used by entrepreneurs to make more profit from their products. This is done by aiming their advertisement at certain genders based on common stereotypes. There are many different views on this strategy as it is quite outdated, some people arguing it is unethical and brainwashing children into the gender roles of society, whilst some saying that it is still useful for businesses today. The technique has stemmed from old-fashioned views of women staying home, looking after children and doing all the housework, whilst men go out to earn money and do all the building and DIY work. However, these views and ideas are outdated and seen as unfair and stereotypical. Despite this, when looking up advertisements for cleaning products, most of the pictures feature women, washing up dishes and vacuum cleaning floors as opposed to looking up advertisements for drills and finding several pictures of bulky men in hard hats working in construction.

It is moments like this that make us question whether it is still acceptable to use gender marketing in this way or whether it’s just brainwashing younger generations to fit into the old-fashioned stereotypes of gender roles in the household. This is especially prevalent in the sale of toys. When walking into a toyshop it is noticeable that all the toy kitchens, makeup and babies are lined up on one side, covered in pink and advertised with pictures of young girls playing with them. However, on the other side you will find all the toy cars, action men and toolboxes lined up, covered in blue and advertised with young boys playing with them. This instils the idea that only girls can play with certain things whilst only boys with others, from an extremely young age. Children may feel confused as they grow up to be told they can be who they want and say what they feel. However, they are often too scared to address their uncertainty as it might not fit in with the ideas they were subconsciously raised with and are scared of being judged. This is why well known celebrities breaking these stereotypes inspires young people to be who they want, for example James Charles and Ingrid Nilsen.

Regardless of all these negative views, gender marketing can be still useful to businesses if used in the right way. It could be useful in the fashion industry as there are certain produces used specifically by each gender so it has to be aimed at them. Although, if this is to be done, models of all colours, shapes and sizes should be used to make people feel included and validated.

Despite the fact gender marketing is constantly being used in the wrong way a difference can still be made by educating children in the problems with it. The issue will most likely continue to carry on for several years before being able to stop it. However, it is possible to do so and if more influential figures continue to speak up then change will be imminent in the near future.


Man’s Best Friend: Should we have a dog licence?

By Katie Jezard

Dogs are a favourite family pet. That is why they are commonly known as man’s best friend. But shouldn’t we have a licence to own a dog?

Dogs are pictured as cuddly family pets. However, people often forget about the dangerous part of a dog.

On December 14th, 2018 a two-week-old baby named Reuben McNulty died because of a brain injury after being attacked by the family’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The two dogs were seized and destroyed following the attack.

On February 27th, 2019 a woman suffered wounds to the face and chest after getting attacked in a park near Middlesbrough. She was attacked by a Japanese Akita, but the two male owners fled the scene with the dog before the police could arrive.

Approximately 210,000 people a year are attacked by dogs, with children under the age of 9 being the most at risk. These attacks were not the fault of the dog but the owner. If we had a system that made dog owners apply for a licence could these violent deaths and injuries have been prevented?

1 million dogs are abused by their owners. In fact, dogs are the most abused pet. Mans Best Friend? Every thirty seconds someone calls RSPCA Cruelty Line. Rex, a dog saved by the RSPCA, was found abused by his owners. When they found him, Rex had an extremely matted and dirty coat. His fur was thin towards the back end revealing that his skin was crusty and sore and also that he was thin as his spine was visible. His nails were extremely overgrown, and he smelt really bad. His head dipped and he looked very submissive as his owner stood over him.

The RSPCA believes that such a scheme would make it easier to reunite lost dogs with their owners, help to identify abusive or arrogant owners and encourage people to take a more responsible approach to lifelong dog ownership. A pool of 1000 people (both dog and non-dog owners) 76% said that they would be for dog licencing.

So, what’s stopping us?

The old system used to be that all dogs owned in the UK had to be formally licenced. This ended in 1987 in Great Britain but is still law in Ireland. Although it was thought that dog licencing could help with monitoring dog ownership, the care dogs received, and hopefully reducing the number of abandoned dogs, this was not the case. Many believed that it was just another tax so despite it being mandatory to have a licence to own a dog less than 50% followed this law, registered their dog and paid their licence fees. By 1987 the government decided that this was not worth the money and resources that this law needed so they abolished it. Instead they replaced it with the Dangerous Dog Act in 1989 and added the Environmental Protection Act in 1990. As well as this, In April 2016, it became law to have a dog microchipped.

So, if it didn’t work than why would it work now?

There is not enough manpower to police a dog licencing system and follow up any possible people who do not own a licence. If more than 50% could not get a licence when it’s the law in 1987 what will change now? As well as this, many owners believe it’s a freedom of choice and that “the government shouldn’t stick their nose in pet ownership.” If people believe this why would they comply to the law?

NH Stress

How has the NHS budget impacted the UK?

Arina S, 15, The Rochester Grammar School

The NHS (National Health Service) has been under serious pressure by both the government and residents of the UK to improve its standards of medical treatment universally. Annually, they receive a budget of £30 billion, in order to cover the expenses of mental health care, hospital care, home treatment, ambulance services and staffing itself. In 2016, the population of the UK reached a staggering 66 million people, meaning that each person in the UK could receive around £450 of care annually. This is currently considerably lower. The average person goes to their local GP 5 times a year, and with every prescription comes a £45 fee to the NHS. The government have been trying to tackle this issue but due to the recent Brexit affairs, they have struggled to find reasonable funds to accustom to the NHS.

As awareness of mental health has increased over the past decades, more veterans from the Armed Forces are speaking up against the lack of long-term mental health care they receive. The NHS spend less the £10million a year on mental health services, attempting to help the 40,000 veterans suffering from mental health complications. Many have claimed that the NHS provision for the Armed Personnel has “completely failed” as they only provide proper intensive acre when serving in the Armed Forces. Out of the 20% that suffer considerably, only 4% receive specialist military care in order to improve conditions such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression. Cpl Tanica Owens, a serving medic in the Armed Forces, said that “As a medic, the toughest bit of the job is the unknown when you turn up to casualties”. This itself has put many implications onto people’s mental health, as the Armed Forces are both physically and emotionally demanding careers. Many veterans believe that if they have been discharged from the Armed Forces due to mental health reasons, then the MoD (Ministry of Defence) should have a full obligation to making sure that the veterans are fully cared for, in times of great need. This has a considerable impact on families later when the victims become distanced and are no longer able to communicate efficiently with family members.

Apart from long-term care, the NHS has also received criticism on the ambulance services they provide. The average response time for a 999 call in the UK ranges from 6 to 8 minutes, but the NHS have reported that “it is much more difficult to reach those in rural areas”, so response times can vary around those areas. In central London, and areas around, the response times can be as quick as 5 minutes; however, in the county of Norfolk, response times are usually within 10 to 15 minutes. Paramedics in the UK collectively agree that “every second counts” when it comes down to responding to major cases such as struggles to breathe and cardiac arrest. These short-term problems can be fatal in certain circumstances, as some cases require immediate medical attention, but due to the lack of swiftness, they could develop a critical condition. In an attempt to resolve the issue, the NHS have put forward plans to draft new ambulance vehicles in use to maintain the high demand of care needed, but with decreasing budget, this is not a sustainable plan. New ideas will have to come into consideration to be able to collaborate with these constraints.