BBC to deliver biggest push on education in its history

The BBC today unveils its biggest push on education in its history - ensuring that every child in the UK has the opportunity to continue to follow the appropriate core parts of their nation’s school curriculum in these challenging times.

Published: 3 April 2020
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.
— Tony Hall

Whether complementing what schools are providing remotely, or as a standalone resource, the BBC’s newly expanded education offer will bring 14 weeks of educational programmes and lessons to every household in the country - whatever your child’s age.

  • Every child in the UK to have their education supported as BBC offers a wide range of curriculum related learning for children of all ages across all four nations
  • Famous faces Karim Zeroual, Oti Mabuse and Katie Thistleton alongside top quality teachers and organisations such as Royal Shakespeare Company, Premier League and Puffin Books lend their support
  • Daily programmes to help guide parents and children through their learning day
  • BBC Bitesize to deliver daily online lessons for all age groups
  • Content such as videos, quizzes, podcasts and articles will bring core subjects to life online at BBC Bitesize

Commencing on 20 April, the start of the summer term for most children, BBC Bitesize Daily, as the service will be called will deliver a tailored day of learning across BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Bitesize website and app, BBC Four and BBC Sounds, with curriculum relevant offers across the UK. Together, this comprehensive package is aimed at minimising disruption to children’s education and providing rhythm and routine in these challenging times.

Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC, says: “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.

“We have been overwhelmed by the offers of help and support in putting this provision together and are looking forward to ensuring every child can continue to learn, and have fun, through our high-quality teaching and accessible education offer.”

UK Government, Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, says: “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.”

UK Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, says: "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. 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."

Faces children will already be familiar with such as Karim Zeroual, Oti Mabuse and Katie Thistleton will be part of Bitesize Daily which will be filmed in Match Of The Day’s studio in Salford. Some of our nation’s best teachers will join big name partners across the worlds of sport, culture and literature such as the Premier League, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Puffin Books, who have also signed up to offer content and activities for both the BBC Bitesize Daily broadcast and BBC Bitesize Online with more exciting partnerships to be announced in coming weeks.

Navigating around the content will be simple for parents and children to follow as all content will be divided into age groups. From watching the 20 min programme on BBC iPlayer or BBC Red Button relevant to the child’s age, parents will be directed to the resources available that day for that child on BBC Bitesize online. BBC Bitesize online will home a new Maths and English lesson for every child every day with more subjects to follow. BBC Bitesize will be the one stop shop for all the educational resources whether that be podcasts, videos, quizzes and importantly lessons.

Working closely with teachers, well trusted education providers such as Twinkl and White Rose Maths, the Department of Education in England, the Welsh Government, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive, the BBC will provide nation specific, curriculum led activities and programming to complement the remote learning being offered by schools and to keep up every child’s educational momentum.


What’s to come:

BBC Bitesize Daily

Every day, 6x20' programmes, Bitesize Daily, will air on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button targeting six age groups, from 5 to 14, where teachers, experts and famous faces cover off what that age group should be learning that day. Each programme will be available on BBC iPlayer as well as having its own regular slot on BBC Red Button aiding routine and daily structure.

From Bitesize Daily, parents and children will be directed online to BBC Bitesize for an age appropriate ‘daily drop’ of specially curated videos, quizzes, podcasts and worksheets to bring to life core curriculum subjects such as Maths, English and Science. As well as being offered suggestions on how to extend learning around the home.

These shows are aimed at all children across the UK and split into age groups 5-7 years, 7-9 years, 9-11 years, 11-12, 12-13 years and 13-14 years.

Bitesize Daily Online

Bitesize Daily Online will deliver a newly created Maths and English lesson every day, for each year group from 1-10. Resources from BBC Bitesize, other parts of the BBC, and trusted education providers, are being brought together to create these easy-to-follow daily lessons in the core subjects. As well as offering resources in Maths, English and Science, parents and children will find resources for other subjects such as history, geography and art. The online content will also complement the daily broadcast with video, quizzes, infographics and articles that help children build on the learning from each broadcast. The website will also house guides offering help to parents about how to teach their child, advice for effective home schooling, and guides for pupils with SEN (Special Education Needs).

On social media, parents will be able to access further advice about teaching via BBC Bitesize Facebook and Twitter which will be updated regularly with helpful guides.

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer will serve up specially curated content to showcase the very best curriculum-related videos and programmes. Organised by year group and subject, it will be easy for children to find and navigate further support for their learning.

BBC Sounds

Two brand new daily education podcasts will be available on BBC Sounds aimed at parents of primary and secondary pupils. Each episode will last around ten minutes and will be a guide to help families home schooling find content on the BBC that supports their education and wellbeing. Both podcasts - BBC Bitesize Primary Planner and BBC Bitesize Secondary Planner - will be available on voice devices too.

BBC Four

BBC Four will devote a block of programming each weekday evening to shows that support GCSE and A-Level curriculums to feed the brains of students during these shutdown days.

The channel will bring back premium factual programmes presented by some of Britain’s most authoritative voices on Science and History. For students studying Science, programmes of interest for them include Pain, Pus & Poison, Chemistry: A Volatile History, Blood & Guts: A History of Surgery and Shock & Awe: The Story of Electricity. And for students of History, highlighted programmes include Mary Beard’s Meet the Romans, Michael Wood’s Story of England, Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain and Tunes For Tyrants.

These factual programmes are in addition to the previously announced Shakespeare plays which will see BBC Four broadcast theatre versions of Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, Othello and Hamlet.

The BBC will also broadcast the much loved BBC adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream from Russell T Davies and Anthony Hopkins’ King Lear and there will be further classic drama adaptations on the current exam syllabus confirmed soon.

Tailoring to the Nations

BBC Wales will be publishing specially-designed educational content for pupils in Wales in collaboration with teachers and partners. There is already guidance for parents to help them navigate their way through the wealth of resources available on BBC Bitesize and BBC Teach for Wales-specific content in English and Welsh. Learners will also be directed to content through the Bitesize Facebook account as well as the BBC Wales twitter account and will soon be able to find content on BBC iPlayer. They are working in partnership with the Welsh Government on the ‘Continuity of Learning for Wales’ national plan which will be announced by the government during April.

BBC Scotland will continue to deliver 1.5-2 hours’ of learning content daily on the BBC Scotland channel, including content from BBC Bitesize and other educational programming such as Authors Live. A single portal page for parents directing them to content learning and a new Facebook group focusing on support and resources for parents will also launch soon. BBC ALBA is creating a learning collection which will be scheduled daily on the channel and will be available on BBC iPlayer, in addition to existing resources to support Gaelic medium education on BBC Bitesize.

BBC Northern Ireland will have local curriculum Bitesize content on iPlayer and will be launching a number of skills-based projects to get learners creating at home. This will include a special version of the creative writing campaign Two Minute Tales, a special School Choir of the Year lesson and, as part of Young Reporter, seeking stories from young people on living in isolation.