BBC Bitesize is 20

Director of Education, BBC

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Bitesize didn’t exist when I was doing my GCSEs. My generation had to rely on a tall stack of textbooks covered with the scrawls of pupils who’d gone before. When it came to revision, you were very much at the mercy of your own handwritten notes stored chaotically (in my case) in hefty lever arch files. Bitesize changed all of that. Back when the world wide web was still very much in its infancy, it launched - initially as an TV programme then as a website; with the sole aim of making it much easier for young people to learn and revise.

Fast forward 20 years and Bitesize has gone from strength to strength, helping to educate generations of children across all four nations. Those first young people who used Bitesize to help them with their studies in 1998 are now well into their careers and it’s their children who are now our core audience. Around 80% of secondary school students and 40% of primary school students use it, making Bitesize the most popular dedicated educational site in the UK. Almost 100,000 students each year say that they wouldn’t have passed a subject if it wasn’t for Bitesize. And for everyone on the team, it is always incredibly rewarding to see the flow of ‘Bitesize saved my life’ tweets – particularly around exam season.

We’re hugely proud of all that’s been achieved over the past two decades but we’re very much focused on the future. This month sees the first iteration of a transformed Bitesize. We’re introducing a new look and improvements to the way the audience can find and use the content. For the first time, all students will be able to sign in, whatever their age, allowing us to start to build personalised learning journeys to help maximise attainment. Over the coming months, we’ll also be expanding our content provision – going beyond the curriculum for the first time to support young people with key life moments: preparing for the first day of school, coping with exam stress, choosing what options to go for and providing career inspiration and advice.

We want to make Bitesize work harder for our audience and do whatever we can to support them with all the challenges of growing up. If we get it right,  there will be plenty more Bitesize birthdays to celebrate in the future.

Sinead Rocks is Director of Education, BBC

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