Today's news, tomorrow’s lesson - Red, white and gold

A strong gold medal haul for Team GB during London 2012 has led to a busy week for the Royal Mail, who are painting postboxes across the country gold in honour of the success of Britain’s athletes.

Today's news, tomorrow’s lesson - 10 August

Gold medal winners stamp their mark on hometown high streets

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A strong gold medal haul for Team GB during London 2012 has led to a busy week for the Royal Mail, which is painting postboxes across the country gold in honour of the success of Britain’s athletes.

Each gold medal winner has been honoured with a corresponding gold postbox in their hometown. The postboxes can be found across the UK, from Lossiemouth in Scotland – home of rower Heather Stanning – to Penzance in Cornwall, where her rowing partner Helen Glover hails from.

In Sheffield, the gold postbox honouring heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis had to be repainted only a few hours after its transformation after supportive graffiti was left reading: “Go Jess”.

Team GB has already surpassed its Beijing 2008 medal total, with 25 golds, 13 silvers and 14 bronzes to date. On Thursday, a British athlete made Olympic history: Nicola Adams became the first ever female Olympic boxing champion after defeating China’s Ren Cancan. Her victory was followed by Ireland’s first gold medal of the games for fellow female boxer Katie Taylor.

Other British success came in the equestrian arena, with Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Bechtolsheimer following up their team dressage victory with a gold and bronze medal respectively in the individual event on Thursday.

There was also a gold for Welsh Taekwondo competitor Jade Jones, who beat world champion Yuzhuo Hou. The Olympics comes to a close over the next few days, but there are still hopes for more Team GB medals in a variety of disciplines, including sailing, BMX and long-distance running.

Questions for discussion

For primary:

  • What other parts of the high street could be decorated to celebrate the Olympics?
  • If we were going to decorate a post box to celebrate the acheivements of our school, what do you think it should look like?

For secondary:

  • Can you think of any other examples of street art? Does street art improve how our streets look, or is it a waste of public money?
  • Where does street art end and vandalism begin? Is graffiti only worth preserving if it meets certain artistic standards? Who decides these?

Related resources

Our own success

  • Help students plan success with this motivational assembly.

Olympic respect

  • Inject some Olympic values into your school with this colourful PowerPoint.

Going for goals

  • Gold may be out of reach, but success comes from small steps. Set goals for the first term with this presentation.


  • Celebrate success in the classroom with these colourful certificates.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week

Headlines were generated with the story that the government had scrapped a target for schools to provide two hours a week of PE.

A homeless 16-year-old was forced to live in a tent for nearly nine months because of the failings of two local councils, an inquiry has found.

The most sophisticated space probe ever built has successfully landed on Mars to begin its 98-week search for the “ingredients of life” on the red planet.

London 2012 has opened with a week full of Olympic firsts for Team GB. While the first three days passed without a single gold for the host nation, the duck was finally broken by rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning.

In the news archive index