BBC Bitesize Daily: everything you need to know
This week would normally mark the start of the summer term, with children returning to school after their Easter break. But who remembers normal?
With no immediate plans to reopen schools, parents are facing at least another month of trying to take on the role of teachers.
This is no easy task when you have a real job you’re trying to do from home, a household to run, elderly relatives in need, plus kids more interested in FaceTime and Disney+ than endless school worksheets and PowerPoints.
So how can you keep them focused on the learning packs sent home at the start of the lockdown? Do you have time to check they’ve submitted their work to that online homework platform? And do you even know enough about modal verbs or adding and subtracting integers to be of any use?
Fortunately, help is at hand from the BBC – who have launched Bitesize Daily, an extensive range of new educational resources available on a range of platforms.
What is BBC Bitesize Daily?
BBC Bitesize in its wider form has been around since 1998. In the BBC’s own words, it’s “a free online study support resource designed to help with learning, revision and homework”.
Bitesize Daily, which launched on Monday (20 April), has been added specifically to support children who can’t attend school during the lockdown and it’s really quite comprehensive.
In just four weeks, a wealth of material has been compiled in collaboration with teachers and education specialists, offering 14 weeks of curriculum-based learning for kids across the UK.
It promises to engage both primary and secondary students with its mix of lively CBBC presenters, famous faces, colourful animations, quizzes and videos.
At first glance, the range of content might seem rather overwhelming, so it’s worth spending some time at the start familiarising yourself and your children with what’s on offer, before planning a schedule for each day.
Here’s a guide to the various types of content available:
Bitesize Daily lessons on TV
Every weekday, Bitesize Daily will broadcast six different 20-minute shows, each aimed at specific age groups and covering maths, science and English, in addition to other subjects such as history, geography, music and art.
If you want to establish a routine at the start of each day, you can watch the programmes in their regular slot via BBC Red Button: 9am for primary students aged 5-7 years, 7-9 years and 9-11 years; 10am for secondary students aged 11-12 years, 12-13 years and 13-14 years. Or you can catch up at any time on BBC iPlayer.
The shows are enthusiastically fronted by CBBC regulars Karim Zeroual and Katie Thistleton, who introduce some well-known faces from across the world of TV, sport and entertainment.
There’s an active start to the day for primary kids with Super Movers and a motivational start for secondary students with The Apprentice and Bake Off stars sending inspirational messages of support and tips for staying focused.
Among the 200 teachers who have contributed to these programmes are some already familiar to our screens, such as Mr Burton from Educating Yorkshire and Mr McPartlin from Britain’s Got Talent. They keep the mood light while focusing on a vast array of topics from the purpose and tone of a text to the first man on the moon; from the kingdom of Benin to multiplying negative numbers.
A daily book club will see a host of big names reading extracts from the week’s books. So far we’ve seen, among others, England rugby player Maro Itoje, Strictly Come Dancing’s Oti Mabuse and comedian Russell Kane.
Much more is promised in the weeks to come, with Sir David Attenborough helping children learn about oceans and mapping the world, Professor Brian Cox introducing the solar system, force and gravity, plus appearances from Eastenders actor Danny Dyer, Dr Who’s Jodie Whittaker and Manchester City footballer Sergio Aguero.
Extra content for every lesson
A ‘daily drop’ of videos, quizzes, podcasts and worksheets are available to bring learning to life. These are signposted during the programmes, with viewers directed online to BBC Bitesize for all supporting material.
Bitesize Daily lessons online
Once you’ve found your way to the BBC Bitesize website, you’ll see that it’s bursting at the seams with new material. In fact, 150 new lessons are being published every week.
Each day will see three new lessons published for each year group from one to 10: English and maths always make up two of them, with one of music, history, geography, science and wellbeing joining them, depending on the day.
The online lessons are designed to be easy to follow and to complement the daily broadcast, with a mix of videos, quizzes, infographics and articles to help consolidate learning.
Parents will also find guides with advice on home-schooling and support for students with SEN.
Two new 10-minute podcasts will be available each day, aimed at primary and secondary students and their parents. Each episode is intended to support families as they take on the task of home schooling.
GCSE and A-Level students can look forward to the return of some quality programmes each evening, presented by leading experts in their field. Highlights include Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine, Mary Beard’s Meet the Romans and Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain. Classic drama adaptations of exam texts, such as Pride and Prejudice, An Inspector Calls and Great Expectations, will also be shown, along with filmed live performances of a number of Shakespeare plays.
In short, there’s a lot to get your teeth stuck into. But if it all sounds rather complex, we suggest you start with this introductory page which has clear timetables and links to all the key areas.