Story 1:

Does stress lead to success?

By Chloe Y8

Are students’ stress levels affecting there GCSE grades?

According to many, exam success comes with great pressure, but is all the added pressure and stress on students needed for them to succeed in their GCSEs?

With the new system for GCSEs, if students take ten subjects then they take a staggering twenty-eight exams, all in the space of two weeks. The level of coursework connected to exam grades has been decreasing - adding more pressure on students to succeed in their exams. The only subjects where coursework counts towards GCSE are Art, IT and Health & Social Care. Exams are widely known to be a lot more stressful than completing coursework.

Furthermore, these added pressures are not felt just by the students - teachers are under pressure to teach a new curriculum that they are still working out how to teach and adapt their lesson planning. This is a stressful process for them and could be transferring extra stress onto the students.

According to statistics provided by the charity, the number of students that have turned to Childline for counselling has risen by 11% in the past two years, showing that the new system is increasing stress levels in students. 

Another question to ponder is when students should choose their GCSE options, in year 8 or year 9? Many schools allow students to choose their GCSE option subjects in year 8, others in year 9 but the argument remains that many pupils don’t know what they want to do for a career and therefore could regret their choices later.

Exam advice

Teachers from across the country have been taking to Twitter to share their exam tips with students. Here are the top ten tips for exam success and eliminating stress:

  1. Aim to sleep like a baby the night before (but make sure you set your alarm clock).

  2. Look up for inspiration; down in desperation but never sideways for information!

  3. Always always always read the question.

  4. Know your stuff, don't prep essays, have fun engaging with the questions.

  5. Rest, eat, don't panic. Studying is important, but you MUST do these.

  6. see it as opportunity to show off, but keep tightly focused on question, not just 'here's everything I know about x’

  7. Don't just launch into your answer. Spend a few minutes making a plan first of what you want to include.

  8. There's no such thing as good luck: you need to be well prepared.

  9. managing time effectively is most important thing- work out how many 'marks per minute' for each exam

  10. a) close your eyes and breathe; b) now show off!


Story 2:

Save our food: Save our world

By Hayden Y7

According to global tech giant, Microsoft, the human population is set to reach 10 billion by 2050. This means that farmers from all around the world will have to make 70% more food in the world than they do already. The problem about this is that we will have to reach this goal using less land and resources to have a substantial future without the destruction of rain forests.

Microsoft is using a new type of technology to help farmers - AI. The tech giant say that AI (Artificial Intelligence) will use data analytics to provide fantastic potential in helping us address these challenges. By using the cloud to generate, gather and analyse data about our world, we will be able to discern new trends and design new solutions to help us build a cleaner, healthier world in which to live.

However, AI faces its own challenges because to program and to expand the system, it will use more energy than anything on earth. It will consume the same amount of energy as it does to power a small American state and it’s hard to access that much energy.

According to the Microsoft website, “In addition to opening up currently available data, governments should continue to upgrade the capacity of our earth observation systems for sky, land and water environments. In addition to generating the additional data necessary to most effectively tackle our environmental challenges, the insights gained may have the potential to deliver additional scientific and commercial value.”

There are many pros and cons to the idea and to the future of Microsoft AI. One of the positives is the fact that it is saving deforestation and endangered animals all around the world. That, however, comes at a cost – as one of the negatives is that it will use lots of energy.



Story 3:

Should we bring back the Mammoth?

By Anna Y7

Scientists have been getting closer and closer throughout the years to bringing extinct animals back to life. Now they are able to do it using the ancient DNA of woolly mammoths. The big question is, just because we can do it, does it mean we should?

World renowned professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, Beth Shapiro, spoke to a packed campus of researchers and students in April 2018.

She spoke to USCD News: “Just to clarify, de-extinction is still not possible. We cannot bring something that is extinct back to life. This includes mammoths, passenger pigeons, Neanderthals, the dodo, dinosaurs or any other extinct species—at least not 100 percent.”


However, Shapiro did explain that what could be possible is using intact ancient DNA to modify the DNA of existing animals. For example, modifying the DNA of an elephant to give it long hair. Some people are saying that keeping elephants in captivity for this project is cruel. On the other hand, scientists say that if elephants became extinct then the elephant mammoths could be used to bring back elephants.

It’s not just as simple as bringing them back though. There are many questions scientists need to answer before bringing them back. What could this do to the environment? What will lead to their extinction? What effect will it have on other animals?

Student views

We spoke to two Sherburn High School students and asked them for their views: Ellie, 11, “Why would we want to bring back the mammoth if it had a monstrous reputation. It could change the ecosystem completely.”

On the other hand, Martha, 11, said, ‘Well, I think that we should because this could end extinction for all species of animals. We could give ourselves a second chance to help the animals to survive.’

We await further research from DNA scientists and researchers, but the fact remains that bringing back animals from extinction is a contentious issue and one that will continue to be debated by scientists from across the globe and by students at Sherburn High School.


Story 3:

Release the foxes!

By Martha Y7

Nestled in the heart of Northumberland sits Kielder, home to over nine thousand red squirrels and a bird of prey centre in Kielder waterside. This amazing reserve consists of 60 birds which includes eagles, owls, falcons, hawks and vultures as well as a family of wallabies. But this vision of happiness has one big setback - foxes!

These urban foxes are being released back into the countryside by the RSPCA. This wouldn’t be a problem if, naturally, they focused their attention on rabbits, but they have taken to sneaking around the birds of prey centre and attacking the defenceless fowl. Of course, if these glorious birds weren’t tethered to the ground, some of them would be able to protect themselves against the red mammals with the sharpness of their claws and their speed or they would just fly away.

Are there any other problems with the fox?

Although the RSPCA think that they are helping the foxes, these animals aren’t built for the countryside because they have adapted to the city and scavenging for KFC. Another issue with the species being taken away from their home is that they have already built a set (or den) to thrive in. This isn’t good for them as they store all their prey there, it also provides a cool place to sleep and a safe place for the pups to thrive.

What is being done to save the fowl at Kielder?

The staff at the centre realised how serious the problem was after one of their birds was killed at the paws of one of the urban scavengers. From that moment, the employees have had to shut the birds up at night time. However, the foxes have started to appear in the day time too, so staff are being kept on their toes. Despite this, the crew at the centre work so hard to make the animals’ safe and happy.


Story 4:

Pineapple on Pizza: The food debate ripping the country apart

By Callie Y7

Is pineapple an acceptable topping for pizza? This question is being raised and debated in homes, schools and businesses across the country more and more often. Many people think pineapple shouldn’t be on pizza whilst others think it is delicious.

84% of our population enjoy eating pizza and 82% like pineapple but how many like both of them together. A poll (introduced in February 2017) shows that 53% of us like pineapple on pizza.

Why is pineapple on pizza acceptable?

The argument for pineapple on pizza is that pineapple is a fruit and so are tomatoes. Tomatoes are almost always put on pizzas. We questioned someone who feels that there is nothing wrong with pineapple on pizza, “I think it’s really nice, people put tomatoes on pizza so why can’t you put pineapple on it?”

Why is it not acceptable?

On the other hand, just under half the nation think that this is atrocious and should not be allowed as an option on menus. Their argument is that pizza should remain savoury and adding pineapple spoils the savoury taste. Tomatoes are alright to have on a pizza because tomatoes absorb the taste of spices and meat therefore won’t taste strange with the other flavours. We interviewed a teacher in school who is passionately against pineapple on pizza they said, “No, absolutely not. Pineapple is a fruit and doesn’t belong on pizza.”

In response to this, Anna, 11, said, “Tomato and peppers are both fruits and they are commonly put on pizzas!”

This debate is still ripping the country apart. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on this topic. Who do you think is right?



Story 5:

One small step for man, one big lie for mankind?

By Toby and Harry Y7

In 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on the moon, or was he?

Many online critics are saying the extravagant landing on the moon was a hoax.  This is due to many mysterious events, for example, doubters say that in the race to beat the Russians, the Americans staged the landing in a secret film set either high up in the Hollywood hills or deep in area 51. In addition, photos and videos were only available through NASA.

Another reason given by those doubting the moon landing was that the flag was waving with no guidance when there is no wind up in space. NASA’s response to this is that the flag was twisted to be able to plant in the ground.

Was Hollywood involved?

Theorists have suggested that film maker, Stanley Kubrick, helped create the first lunar landing given that his film in 1968, 2001: a space odyssey, proves that it is possible to create something that looks like space.


A science teacher at Sherburn High School has shared his thoughts, “The moon landing is indisputable. All that’s needed is for the people claiming it was a hoax to visit their nearest observatory and zoom in on the moon’s surface and some tracks and footprints are still visible.”


On the other hand, photos of footprints were shown on the moon, but theorists are saying the prints don’t match the space shoes. Now we have another question – who created those footprints?


Story 6:

Animals coming back from the dead?

By Ellie Y7

Recently, species that were thought to be extinct have been discovered to be alive and well. Photographers have captured the first ever footage of the Wallace’s giant bee (that was last seen in 1981) and the Fernandina giant tortoise in the Galápagos Islands. This species hasn’t been seen for over 100 years but only the female tortoise has been spotted so far. Researchers say that the trails of dung suggest there are more giant tortoises yet to be found.

Compared to the European honey bee, the World’s Largest Bee is a monstrous nightmare. Clay Bolt, a photographer, said, ‘It was absolutely breath taking to see this flying bulldog of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore.’

On the other hand, the giant tortoise measures to be around 5 feet in length. Callie, 11, a student from Sherburn High School said, ‘This could be a good step forward because if we can keep these animals from extinction, we could prevent extinction altogether. We are also giving ourselves another chance to find out information we couldn’t before.’

Anna, 11, said, ‘It is unbelievable to think that animals that we never saw in real life are now walking the earth once again and we can breed the animals to keep them alive!’

The question now is, where were these animals hiding?                                                                 



Story 7:

Are we living on a Plastic Planet?

By Anna, Callie and Ellie Y7

In this day and age, plastic takes a leading role in our world. Every year over 300 million tonnes of plastic is dumped carelessly in our ocean by our human population.

Supermarkets use large masses of plastic daily. Not all of it can be recycled. 72% of people in the UK feel that supermarkets are not doing enough to tackle our plastic problem. Some supermarkets have pledged to reduce plastic packaging. Sainsbury’s is going to reduce it’s mountains of plastic packaging by a half by 2020.

79% of Co-op’s owned brand plastic packaging is recyclable. This is compared to the lowest amount of own brand recyclable plastic of M&S at just 58%. Everyday items could be hurting our planet, just with the packaging that goes in the bin.

However, since the carrier bag charge, use of them has dropped by a huge 86% compared to 2014.

Schools generate large amounts of plastic waste. Mr Featherstone, a geography teacher at Sherburn High School, feels strongly about plastic waste, “We can stop selling plastic bottles at lunch and break times.  As well as reducing plastic sandwich wrapping, we could reward children who bring in their own water bottles.’

Mr Featherstone’s thoughts about plastic pollution:

  1. What can we substitute the plastic for? ‘Most times I would say paper or no wrapping.’

  2. How do you feel about plastic pollution? ‘I think it’s the single biggest problem we face as a human population.’

  3. What do you think will happen if we don’t tackle plastic pollution? ‘It’s going to take significant changes to our food and the world around us.’

We brutally kill over 100,000 animals every year with our insatiable appetite for plastic. More than 800 species are killed by plastic, from whales, to fish, to birds. Plastic pollution is a war that we must fight not only for ourselves, but for Earth and the animals.

Story 8:

Brexit for young people, by young people

By Bobby, Timothy and Matthew Y8

Two years ago, in 2016, 49% of Britain voted against Brexit. Two years on, we don’t seem to have got any further and some of the other 51% seem to be regretting it. Now Brexit is all over the news, but many young people are asking “What does it all mean?”

Brexit means Britain exit. Exit from the EU. The EU (European Union) is a club of 28 countries (Soon to be 27) that help each other by trading and other means. The result of the referendum effectively means that Britain does not agree with some of their policies and has asked to leave.

Mr Hunt, a teacher at Sherburn High School says, “My view is that we have an opportunity, with the eyes of the world upon us, to demonstrate our democracy and freedom to debate and discuss. I believe we failed to show that during the referendum campaign and unfortunately both sides of the debate were accused of spreading lies and misinformation. Regardless of how we voted, we must follow through with the result; parliament and EU officials must deliver a Brexit that works for both UK and EU citizens.”

The Brexit process doesn’t seem to be going too smoothly through our own parliament. Our Prime Minister, Theresa May, has one plan but the rest of the House of Commons do not seem to want to approve it. Some of the main issues are: the Irish border, the single market and immigration control.

There is no telling what effects Brexit will have on Britain and for us – it’s young people. It may be good - it may be not so good. Not even the people at the top, arguing about it now, know what will happen. However, we should not get caught up worrying about it. Yes, it will affect our futures but that may be in a way that will benefit us and our families.



Story 9:

Is VAR changing football?

By Josh Y8

With the beautiful game developing every day, and more advanced technology being created, VAR was FIFA’s newest creation and made its footballing debut at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. But although VAR makes a referee’s decision a lot more trustworthy, it can often ruin a good game of football.

On the June 25, 2018, the Portugal national men’s side faced Iran in a World cup group game. Ricardo Quaresma put the Portuguese in front inside the first 45 minutes. As the whistle blew once again, a penalty was awarded in Portugal’s favour. Portugal’s leading scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, stepped up to the spot. Ronaldo went right, but so did the keeper and his spot kick was saved. Portugal looked over the line in the 92nd minute but gave away a last-minute penalty. However, this penalty was given by the newly introduced VAR technology. VAR is supposed to help referees make a decision, but in this case, it made the referee completely change his decision. Karim Ansarifard of Iran then put away the questionable penalty ending the game level. Alan Shearer commented on this decision on twitter, “Well that’s the closest I’ve come to swearing on live TV!

We also have noticed this in the Champion’s League, where the president of UEFA, Alexander Ceferin, has decided not to feature VAR in the following rounds of the competition.

There was a recent incident involving Everton and the F.A. cup when they faced championship side Millwall at the Den on Saturday, January 26. The game had many twists and turns however, VAR had not been installed in the stadium yet. This caused a major upset when Jake Cooper equalised and made the game 2-2 in the 75th minute with a handball that was not spotted by the referee. From the last chance of the game Millwall’s Murray Wallace scored in the 94th minute leaving Everton in disarray and giving Millwall a place in the next round.

The Everton manager, Marco Silva, said that, “Obviously the goal was a handball, but you cannot argue with the outcome. However, I feel that if we played at home with our newly installed VAR system then there would have been a different result and I think we would have come out with a better result.” He also said that ever since VAR was introduced into the game it has evolved, as it has been fairer, and the referee can see what actually happens, but it still can’t prevent controversial decisions.”

Football is a multi-million (perhaps multi-billion) pound business and refereeing decisions matter more than ever before for the finances of football clubs. VAR is just the start – it’s certainly given fans of the game something to talk about in the terraces.



Story 10:

Is your phone your new best friend?

By Matilda and Freya Y8

With social media and the internet ever advancing in our society, are these new updates in technology actually harming our social interaction with others?

As technology takes over most of our time, roughly nine hours per day, are we losing our sense of community, even within the home. A recent study says that the average family, two children and two adults, spend up to twelve hours all together on their phones and devices per day and people are becoming increasingly concerned by the lack of human interaction we have with others.

A family we spoke to said that teatime was the worst for interaction as the children tend to be on their phones or watching TV. A research shows that 11.4 million tech devices are brought to the UK dinner tables daily and disrupt meals. However, other families say bedtime is even worse for smaller children because they claim not too be too tired or are too engrossed in their phones to even listen. A study by the NHS says children stay awake at night on their phones because they are anticipating social media messages or are addicted to apps and games.

A parent we spoke to in Sherburn said, ‘our family has really struggled with technology and it has taken over all of our lives. It has felt like our children have shut themselves away and their phone is there new best friend. At tea time they come downstairs and take their food upstairs with their phones without talking to us.’ Another parent said, ‘we aren’t much better and struggle with the addiction ourselves. We use our phones for hours a day as a guilty pleasure but, compared to the children we at least know what we are doing and the time that we are wasting.’

As the research shows, this new family life needs to be addressed, and eventually changed in the future for everyone.