News UK launches UK's free media literacy programme for schools

News UK’s The Times and The Sunday Times are to launch what they say will be the UK’s first free media literacy programme, available to all secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges.

News UK launches UK's free media literacy programme for schools

Following real stories, research and investigations by leading journalists at The Times and The Sunday Times, students will learn how to navigate and think critically about the news they consume and what sources earn their trust, says News UK.

Ten schools are currently piloting the programme. In the lessons, students dig deeper into the news they consume, spot the differences between verified, fake and satirical news stories and learn about the role social media plays in disseminating the news.

The Times deputy editor Emma Tucker called for media literacy skills to be included in the national curriculum for all students.

The programme will be freely available from September.

John Witherow, editor of The Times said: “It’s vital that young people are confident, critical thinkers when navigating the news online. Our programme will teach students to think like a journalist, to ask the right questions and verify the facts.”

Martin Ivens, editor of The Sunday Times said: “The Times and The Sunday Times are renowned globally for their investigative reporting. The media literacy programme will share that extensive experience to ensure that future readers have the tools to verify they are reading well-researched, accurate, and impartial journalism.”

Damian Collins MP, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee said: "Increasing media literacy is key in the fight against fake news and disinformation. I commend The Times and The Sunday Times on the work they are doing to educate young people on these important issues."

Teachers will be provided with comprehensive teaching materials, briefing notes and interactive exercises to engage children and foster debate. Each school will also receive a free subscription to The Times and The Sunday Times to complement their lessons.

The Times and The Sunday Times media literacy programme is running in partnership with News Academy, a News UK initiative focused on investing in the next generation of journalists.

Secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges across the UK can sign-up for the programme here.