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In the latest edition

Humanity recognised

Volunteers help people disembark from boats in Greece© Info

An 85-year-old woman from the Greek island of Lesbos has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Emilia Kamvisi, who was photographed bottle-feeding a Syrian baby, is one of three people nominated to represent the "behaviour and attitude of Greece, organisations and volunteers towards the huge refugee crisis".

Talk about the thinking behind awards to "ordinary" people. 

Should the humanity of everyday life be recognised and celebrated more?

When talking to reporters, Emilia made light of what she did to support the people arriving by boat.

So did fisherman Stratis Valiamos, also nominated for his work in rescuing people from sinking boats. Discuss his response to being labelled a hero: "This isn't heroism, it's the normal thing to do."

Talk about how widespread acts of kindness towards others might be. Some people volunteer with a group, others act instinctively and informally. 

Can young people say in their own words what might motivate them to help others?

How does it make young people feel to think that while the world has much suffering, it also has many people trying to reduce that suffering?

Extreme queuingPeople queing for trains in China© Info

What is a long queue? How many people ahead of you in a line is too many? 

Discuss, then look at what has been dubbed the longest-ever queue for a train. Heavy snow caused train cancellations affecting tens of thousands of people queuing at Guangzhou Railway Station in southern China.

Passengers travelling home for the Chinese New Year were delayed up to ten hours, Talk about their likely emotions. 

What skills, attitudes and techniques might you use to stay calm, safe and well in this kind of situation?

How does it feel to be frustrated when you're delayed? What camaraderie might there have been among the passengers? How might they have helped each other?

What personal strategies do young people have for coping with situations which are out of their control? Share ideas and techniques for staying calm and helping others.

Oh no, I've lost my....Woman leaving purse on bus© Info

"Please remember to take all of your personal belongings with you when leaving the train."

It's a regular announcement because a lot of people don't. More than 300,000 items were left on buses and trains in London last year.

Have young people ever left their belongings or valuables on public transport? How did it feel when they realised? 

What was their initial reaction? Were they able to think clearly about what to do next?

Who thinks it is worthwhile reporting something lost or going to lost property to find it? 

Transport for London say that only 22 per cent of the lost property items are claimed.

Why do young people think this figure is relatively low? Could it be because people don't expect property to be handed in?

Think of the places locally where personal property might be lost (and found). Try to identify where exactly someone might go to find something they have lost while on transport, at shopping centres or in other public spaces.

What other ways of reuniting property and owners are there – such as noticeboards or social media? Which do young people think might be the most effective?

Previous editions

Risk assessment

Luis Fernando Candela hangs by feet from a rock© Info

How dangerous is it hang upside down from a crag by your feet? Show the photograph and invite young people's responses. Use a scale of 0-10, where 0 is completely safe and 10 is life-threateningly risky.

After discussion, point out that the photograph doesn't reveal how far from the ground the posing man is. Does that make a difference?

A shot from a different angle would show that the man is just about a metre from the ground. Invite young people to reassess their risk grade. Does it change and by how much?

Discuss other posed photos that are safer than they look. Invite reactions. Are such pictures a risk to less-experienced people, who might copycat the pose but without knowing the vital safety techniques.

Discuss dangerous selfies. Dozens of people were reported killed or seriously injured last year in stunts involving moving trains, rattlesnakes and loaded guns. Can young people pinpoint the main motivation for taking photos which include an element of risk? Are such stunts planned or spontaneous? Where do young people themselves draw the line?

Floods and schools

 A flooded playground© Info

Flood water doesn't just soak things. It covers them with mud and debris. Flood water is always filthy and may be unsanitary and a health risk.

Talk about the impact of flood water on schools affected by the recent UK storms. Think about items such as computers, books, exercise books, artwork, musical instruments, furnishings, gym equipment. Which might be cleaned and which might be too badly damaged to be saved?

How might it feel for young people to lose their work because of floods? What techniques do they have for coping with changes which are out of their control? Discuss how pupils might cope if their school was closed for months. How would attending a substitute school affect their daily lives?

How would you console a younger child who was upset because of a flooded primary school? How might kindness and support from other people make a difference?

Community news

A stack of newspapers© Info

Communities that welcome refugees will often provide services and projects to help them settle. Discuss what a difference kindness, practical and emotional help can make for new arrivals.

There are also examples of projects led by refugees which provide support for other people in the same situation as them. Are young people aware of any refugee-led projects? What would be the advantage of projects started and run by the people who benefit from them?

A group of refugees in Germany have started a community newspaper. Called Abwab, or “Doors”, it's written in Arabic and has been well received at refugee shelters and community projects. Think of specific ways that a community newspaper might make a difference to people's lives.

"You have to give dignity to people, especially to refugees", Abwab's publisher, Frederica Gaida, told reporters. "They are survivors, they are victims of violence and they all have this suffering inside. We give them the possibility to hear good stories that happen in their community." How might being able to read something written in your own language be a comfort?

Abwab also contains practical advice and tips and has a section on missing people, to help link people who have lost contact. What else would young people include?

Search for a kind stranger

The note left for Ellie Farnfield after she experienced a seizure on a train© Info"Eleanor. I hope by the time you read this you are feeling better. You had a seizure on the train and I took you off." So begins a note that Ellie Farnfield, a 27 year old student, found when she woke after an epileptic episode.

With the message was a coffee and the cash for a taxi, provided by a fellow passenger.

Talk about the actions of the mystery passenger, Tom. Do they demonstrate unusual kindness? Or are they the kind of considerations many people would show? The message also said that Ellie was left with train staff, medical aid was on its way and that people from the contact list in her phone had been contacted. Would young people have thought to arrange these things? How much difference does this extra thoughtfulness make? How might Ellie have felt when she came around and saw this message?

Many commented that the story "restored their faith in humanity". What experiences might cause someone to lose and/or regain such faith? Talk about reasons why passers-by might or might not help when someone has a seizure. Would young people know what to do? Watch a short video showing how to help someone who is having a seizure.

Ebola and recovery

The handprints of Ebola Survivors on a wall outside the Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia © InfoPauline Cafferkey, a nurse who contracted Ebola while working in a clinic in Sierra Leone, was readmitted to hospital last month with complications following the virus. Doctors now say she has a form of meningitis caused by the infection.

Discuss young people's reactions to the news. Who did they think of first - Pauline herself, her family and friends or the wider community?

Medical experts now know that the virus may persist in particular sites in the bodies of a small proportion of survivors. Sites include the inside of the eye, semen, the placenta and breast milk. Symptoms can include loss of vision and, in Pauline Cafferkey's case, inflammation of the meninges which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Discuss how this knowledge might affect other Ebola survivors. How might it alter their thinking about their recovery, their feelings about the future? Is there a risk that the stigma against people with Ebola might be reignited? If you were devising an education campaign for communities in West Africa to reduce the chance of stigma towards Ebola survivors what message would you want to get across?

Name that storm

A storm surges at Freshwater bay on the Isle of Wight© Info

A gale called Abigail could soon be heading this way. Following that, Barney, Clodagh and Desmond will be sweeping in from the Atlantic. Do young people know why?

The Met Office and Met Eireann, the Irish meteorological service, have begun naming severe weather storms. Autumn and winter storms from the north Atlantic often make landfall on the shores of Ireland or the UK. Forecasters hope that naming severe storms will help raise awareness and encourage people to prepare and respond to the threat.

Discuss the thinking behind naming storms. The idea is to focus people's minds, make them more aware and therefore better prepared. Names can be easier to remember and avoid confusion when different storms are blowing up at the same time. The practice has worked elsewhere in the world. Who thinks it can make a difference in the UK and Ireland?

List the practical actions that young people and their families could take to prepare for an oncoming storm. Stimulate ideas by mentioning the impacts such as uprooted trees, blown branches, roof and chimney damage, downed power-lines causing outages, flooding, scattered garden furniture and fences.

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 >


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