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BBC launches ‘biggest push on education in its history’ as nation battles coronavirus

The BBC has lifted the lid on its programme to keep British children learning amid the coronavirus pandemic in what the broadcaster describes as the “biggest push on education in its history.” 

To coincide with the start of the summer term on April 20, the broadcaster will launch 14 weeks of educational programmes and lessons to the country across all age groups.

The service will be called ‘BBC Bitesize Daily’, and will deliver what the broadcaster promises is 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.”

This includes content featuring famous personalities such as Karim Zeroual, Oti Mabuse and Katie Thistleton along with support from organisations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Premier League and Puffin Books.

Along with its video content, the BBC will offer videos, quizzes, podcasts and articles online.

Such a programme was first announced in March as a part of a “wide-range package of measures” which also included enhanced news coverage and increased entertainment content on the BBC iPlayer.

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, 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.

“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, 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.”

UK Culture Secretary, Oliver 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. 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.”