Category: Factual & Arts TV
Tough talking educational guru Yolande Beckles will attempt to turn young lives around in an ambitious new three part series for BBC TWO called Top of the Class*.
The series, due to air in 2006, follows the journey of children, teachers and parents as they all face the challenge of working together to overcome a wide range of problems at school.
For the children themselves these can include overcoming the effects of bullying, a lack of motivation and a variety of learning difficulties.
The exercise takes place under the expert guidance of educationalist Yolande who is determined to raise standards in education.
Yolande is highly driven and passionate about her new venture.
She says: "I've worked for several years with students across London and Birmingham and these exceptional young people have gone on to study at the nation's top universities and have successful, enriching careers.
"I believe that many students suffer, not from lack of aspiration, but from a poverty of expectation, which is why I think it's crucial to involve parents and teachers in a student's learning.
"I believe in the potential of all students, whatever their background, to achieve their dreams and aspirations and I look forward to working with the BBC to test my methods in front of a national audience."
Yolande will devise a three-part strategy - based around the child, parents and teacher - designed to challenge and change everyone's behaviour.
The strategy sets out specific, achievable goals for each of the contributors to reach.
The commission comes from BBC Birmingham's award-winning Documentaries & Contemporary Factual Department led by Tessa Finch.
Tessa adds: "The series is going to offer great insight for parents, teachers and pupils. When children go to secondary school their parents rarely venture beyond the school gates.
"Yolande is going to invite them into the classroom and get them proactively involved in their child's education."
BBC Birmingham's Documentaries & Contemporary Factual department produces a broad range of programming for BBC ONE, BBC TWO and BBC THREE including: Gardeners' World; Coast; Pay Off Your Mortgage In Two Years; Bunking Off; Conflicts; Pakistani Actually; Mind Your Own Business; Desi DNA; and To Buy Or Not to Buy.
Notes to Editors
* Top of the Class is a working title - to be confirmed at a later date.
Yolande Beckles is an expert on educational, employment and diversity issues.
With a career spanning over 20 years in the corporate sector, she began her professional career in retail management.
During this time she established a pioneering, customised training initiative aimed at providing employment opportunities for unemployed young people in West London and was consequently awarded one of the first National Training Awards.
In 1999 she founded the Global Graduates group, which is dedicated to identifying talented young people from non-traditional backgrounds and preparing them to become future leaders in their chosen fields.