accessibility & help


You can always rely on the regular newsthink emails to provide fresh and insightful stimulation for tutor time.

Sharing opinions, analysing world events, and developing a critical understanding of the media are all things students get better at with regular practice.

"This is a great, school-friendly resource that is challenging and often shocking. It never fails to spark my tutor group's interest in the world around them and it's perfect for doing something exciting and useful in an awkward amount of time."

Watch the newsthink video.

Sign up to receive newsthink.

In the latest edition

Yemen and famine

People lining up for food in Yemen© Info

Wars are caused by people. Famine is a natural disaster. Are those statements accurate? What if a war causes a famine? Could that happen?

Experts say the conflict in Yemen may push people into famine. The country is very poor. Around 90 per cent of its food comes from abroad. But blockades or direct damage have closed airports, ports and land routes. Food is very scarce.

Discuss the spirit and determination needed to keep positive in adversity. One humanitarian worker said that sometimes, when there is no shelling, life seems almost normal. Yet many people have moved from their homes, live with no electricity or water, and struggle to find food.

Discuss different ways that young children, parents and older people might be affected? What do the group think teenagers might miss most? Discuss how widely known the war in Yemen is. What would the group like to know more about? What would they like to ask someone affected by the conflict?

Home or hospital

Woman in wheelchair in hospital© Info

Imagine being in a hospital bed sharing a room with strangers. You’re staring at the ceiling, hearing the sounds, smelling the smells, noticing the ward routines happening around you. You are not feeling well or might even be in pain.

Now imagine being in hospital, but not being ill. Medically, you’re fit. But you can’t go home because there is nobody there to help or assist you. How might that feel? What phrase or expression might best capture the frustration, worry or anxiety?

Thousands of people, most of them elderly, are in this situation every year. If you were visiting someone waiting to be discharged from hospital, how might you help them feel a bit better? Many patients are concerned about returning home. They are not sure how they will manage. Would you listen to their worries, try to be positive and give advice? How easy would you find it to empathise?

Research suggests that if older people are inactive they can lose muscle strength, experience a reduction in their mobility and even their mental wellbeing. Discuss how this might affect their daily activities. Think about bathing, dressing, preparing food, cleaning, moving around and going to the toilet. Which would have the biggest impact on someone’s ability to look after themselves at home? What support do you think might be available to them?

Trapped by tides

Lifeboat launch© Info

A group of 34 teenagers and two adults had to be rescued from rocky cliffs in Dover when they were trapped by rising tides. The operation included a rescue helicopter and three lifeboats. How do you think the young people felt immediately afterwards?

How do we learn from experiences? How easy is it to identify mistakes and reduce the chance of them happening again?

Share experiences of being lost or in a situation where you needed help. Talk about the point at which you realise you don’t know where you are. Is it sudden, or a slow realisation? How would you respond? Some people increase speed and take shortcuts, some sit down and think. Identify the pros and cons. What else might you do?

The Coastguard Agency said the group were advised to use the lights from their phones to aid the search for them. Discuss other uses of a mobile phone in an emergency. Can young people easily access the torch function on their phone? Could they tap out the SOS signal on it? Is there an automatic emergency text function? How might young people use it?

Previous editions

Dignified burial

A community provides dignified burials for people who were killed by soldiers in 1982

Small wooden coffins shouldered by individuals are carried in procession down a mountainside in Quiquil, Guatemala. From first glance at the photograph, it might appear to show a recent natural disaster. But it isn’t.

Discuss with young people what might be happening. Then explain that the villagers are reburying family members who died during armed conflict decades ago. Their remains were recently discovered in unmarked mass graves.

Why are people desperately anxious to know what happened to their missing relatives? What words might describe the uncertainty, the strain of waiting for news that never comes?

Have young people any examples from their own experience of times when waiting was worse than knowing? How did they manage their emotions?

Around 80 people died when Quiquil was attacked on 28 June 1982. It took 33 years before the villagers could provide them a dignified burial. What might have been the mood on that day? How might it feel to now be able to bury their relatives with dignity?

Discuss how people can support each other, even through very long and difficult times.

Volcano eruption

Volcano Mount Ruapehu

Tourists and hikers have been advised not to visit Mount Ruapehu, the New Zealand mountain made famous in the movies of the Lord of the Rings.

Is this because: 

  1. they’re filming a sequel
  2. too many Hobbit fans are wearing away the mountain 
  3. it may be about to erupt?

Full marks to those who answered c). Mount Ruapehu is an active volcano that last erupted in 2007. Experts say temperatures have risen dramatically, and the eruption alert has been raised. If you were planning a trip there, how would you respond? Where would you look for further information?

Molten lava is the best-known hazard from volcanoes. Can young people name others? Rock falls or landslides are very destructive across large distances. Volcanic gases can spread harmful chemicals. How can a visitor assess the risks?

What can young people remember, or research, about the main impact of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in Iceland in 2010? What was the response? What was the impact on people? How was the situation managed?

Suspect package alert

Exit sign

You go to the toilets in the stadium before a big sporting event. In one of the cubicles, there’s an unusual package. That’s odd, you think. But what do you do?

One option is to do nothing, leave it to someone else. Or you could tell someone—your friends, or just anyone around who seems sympathetic. Or you could tell someone in authority. Who, and where would you find them? Why might it be important to tell someone?

Discuss what happened at Old Trafford during the end-of-season football game between Manchester United and Bournemouth. A suspect package was reported. As a result, 70,000 fans were excavated from the ground and the match postponed. Bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion.

Discuss the emotions of others involved that day. As well as the people who reported the package, think of the officials who took the decision to evacuate, the staff who organised the evacuation and the experts who made the device safe. What would help them stay calm and focused — their personality and the way they manage situations or any training they may have had? What strategies could young people use to stay calm in a stressful situation? How would they support or reassure one another?

Haircuts and more

A child gets a haircut at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees at the Greek Macedonian border

One thing a child refugee might need is…a haircut. Discuss the photograph, taken at a makeshift camp for migrants near the border between Greece and Macedonia. What insight does it give into everyday life for migrants and refugees?

What might the boy be thinking about? How might he be feeling? Ask young people to write a caption that captures the practical and emotional aspects of the photo.

Haircuts aren’t essential to survival, but without them life might be quite different. In what way? How important is physical appearance to young people? Talk about how personal presentation might affect the way you think about yourself and the way you relate to other people.

Look back over the past week or month and identify some everyday things that have added to your quality of life. Think about going to school, playing games and music, going to the doctors or dentist, having a haircut and so on. How might you cope if one or more of these things wasn’t possible to do anymore? Or if you had to do them in very altered circumstances?

Getting help

Two of three men stranded on the uninhabited island of Fanadik in Micronesia wave life jackets next to palm fronds spelling the word help

Three men swam nearly two miles in darkness when their small boat capsized in the south Pacific sea near Micronesia. Discuss how they might have felt when they found land. Expand on this discussion by considering their concerns when they realised it was a long-deserted island with no communications.

The men were there for three days before rescuers found them. It could have been a lot longer. The island is very remote, and the coastguard directing volunteer ships and rescue teams covers a massive area.

Discuss what the men might have done. What are reasonable and practical ways of increasing their chance of being spotted? They lit fires, created a help sign from palm leaves visible from the air, and waved hi-vis life vests. Do young people think these were good choices? What else might they have thought to do?

Invite inventive ways of making yourself prominent. What if young people were on a moor, a hillside or a boat in open water and needed help? Discuss different ways you could attract attention and get help in a variety of scenarios.

Learning from accidents

The Shoreham Airport display map from Air Accidents Investigation Branch Special Bulletin 3 2015

A revised list of rules for running public air displays has been issued by the civil aviation authority. The new measures follow a tragic accident in which 11 people died when a vintage 1950s plane crashed onto a main road during an airshow in Shoreham last August.

Since the crash, the authority has issued 29 action points which must be followed by display organisers and pilots. They include changes to detailed risk assessments, pilot training and safety distances.

After aviation accidents, planes are often grounded until causes are identified and new safety measures introduced. Why is this important? Talk about the value of reflecting on accidents and putting measures in place to reduce the risk of them happening again.

Discuss extending such checks into everyday life. After an accident, a near miss, losing or forgetting something, how many people think about the cause and take action to prevent it happening again?

Select a recent event experienced by some young people and analyse it.

After an earthquake

A sign reading 'Please help us!' is displayed while children play outside their makeshift tents in rice fields in the Philippines

Children play, hours after a destructive earthquake. What do students want to know?

Read the activities >

Build resilience

School students taking part in a workshop

Students and teachers together reflect, explore and experiment with responses to some form of crisis.

Try the quick activities >


Sign up to newsthink

Schoolchildren listening to first aid trainer

Enter your email to receive topical classroom activities every month.