BBC unveils education plans for children at home

A view of the BBC New Broadcasting House sign in central London.
A view of the BBC New Broadcasting House sign in central London.

The BBC has unveiled plans to support the education of “every child in the UK” and provide “rhythm and routine” for their frazzled parents.

BBC Bitesize will deliver daily online lessons for all age groups, while a programme, for BBC iPlayer, will be filmed in Match Of The Day’s studio after the sports show was cancelled.

Just weeks after the Government was warned against “ramping up an unedifying vendetta” against the BBC, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden called the plans “public service broadcasting at its best”.

The “biggest push on education in its history” will launch on April 20, the broadcaster said.

The 14 weeks of educational programmes will involve “top-quality teachers” and can be used alongside what schools provide remotely or as a standalone resource.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said: “In these uncertain times, parents look to the BBC to support them and offer education while children can’t be in school.

“This is the biggest education effort the BBC has ever undertaken. This comprehensive package is something only the BBC would be able to provide.

“We are proud to be there when the nation needs us, working with teachers, schools and parents to ensure children have access and support to keep their learning going – come what may.”

Oti Mabuse is one of the faces of the education plans
Oti Mabuse is one of the faces of the education plans (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The Royal Shakespeare Company, Premier League and Puffin Books are among the organisations involved.

Content will be divided into age groups and children in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will “follow the appropriate core parts of their nation’s school curriculum”.

Presenters will include Karim Zeroual, Oti Mabuse and Katie Thistleton.

Culture Secretary Mr Dowden said: “This is public service broadcasting at its best and will make a big difference to millions of children across the UK while schools are closed.

Karim Zeroual is also taking part
Karim Zeroual is also taking part (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“I’m delighted the BBC is working closely with the Government to help make sure our children are educated, informed and entertained during these challenging times.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Millions of parents are supporting their children to continue learning at home while schools are closed, to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

“As a parent, I know encouraging children to learn at home is no easy task and I am delighted that the BBC has worked with experts and exceptional teachers to create this educational package to support schools and parents by bringing learning to life on TVs, computers and tablets across the country.”

In February, Conservative MP Huw Merriman warned his own party against “picking a potentially unpopular fight” with the broadcaster, with Downing Street then saying Prime Minister Boris Johnson does not want to scrap “all licence fees” at this stage.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden called the plans 'public service broadcasting at its best'
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden called the plans ‘public service broadcasting at its best’ (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Education plans:

– BBC Bitesize Daily
Six programmes every day, lasting 20 minutes, will air on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button.

– Bitesize Daily Online
A newly created maths and English lesson every day, for each year group from one to 10. There will also be science, history, geography and art resources, help for parents on how to teach children and guides for pupils with SEN (Special Education Needs).

– BBC iPlayer
Specially curated content, organised by year group and subject, with the “best curriculum-related videos and programmes”.

– BBC Sounds
A daily 10-minute education podcast aimed at parents.

– BBC Four
A block of programming each weekday evening featuring shows that support GCSE and A-Level curriculums.
The channel will bring back “premium factual programmes” from some of Britain’s most authoritative voices on science and history.

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