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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES: 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. 5. If one topic or question threatens to overwhelm the webchat, MNHQ will usually ask for people to stop repeating the same question or point.

Webchat with Helen Foulkes, Head of BBC Education, Wednesday 22 April at 1pm
46

BojanaMumsnet · 20/04/2020 14:48

Hello

We're pleased to announce a webchat with Helen Foulkes, Head of BBC Education including BBC Bitesize, at 1pm on Wednesday April 22.

As lots of you will already know, the BBC has announced a programme of learning resources with the aim of supplementing online schoolwork during lockdown. You can see the BBC’s announcement about what they’ve got lined up here, and see some of the new Bitesize Daily content for children aged 5 to 14 here.

Helen Foulkes is Head of BBC Education, overseeing BBC Bitesize, BBC Teach, BBC Food and the BBC’s educational campaigns. The BBC says that “Bitesize is the most used educational website in the UK, used by 80% of secondary school students”. Those of you who work in education may also know about BBC Teach, which “supports teachers with curriculum linked content for use in the classroom and education campaigns that address a societal or educational deficit, from Ten Pieces and Super Movers to BBC micro:bit.”

Prior to working in BBC Education Helen had a wide range of executive producer credits including Points of View, Country Tracks, See Hear, and To Buy or Not to Buy. Before becoming an executive she worked across a multitude of BBC programmes such as Holiday, Homefront and What Not to Wear.

Please join us here on Wednesday at 1pm to chat all things BBC Education and lockdown learning. If you can’t join us on the day, please post up your question in advance.

As always, please remember our guidelines - one question per user, follow-ups only if there’s time and most questions have been answered, and please keep it civil. Also if one topic is dominating a thread, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. (We may suspend the accounts of anyone who continues after we've posted to ask people to stop, so please take note.) Rest assured we will ALWAYS let the guest know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Many thanks,
MNHQ

Webchat with Helen Foulkes, Head of BBC Education, Wednesday 22 April at 1pm
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BoffinMum · 20/04/2020 17:11

Hello, and thanks for coming onto MN for a webchat.

I'm a university professor in education, have a PGCE and also I am the mother of four children.

My question is what professional advice did you call upon for developing the new Bitesize 'Red Button' programmes?

I ask because we tried looking at the BBC Bitesize programmes today, and really wanted to like them, but gave up because they are pitched so low. For example, the Y7 Maths was covering things the children had done in very ordinary state primary schools in Y2 (positive and negative numbers). We worked our way through the different age bands and finally tried with the age 14-15 offer for each subject, but that wasn't much better in terms of fit, apart from eventually with the History, so we very reluctantly gave up in the end.

This isn't a stealth boast in any way, it really was years off what typical children do in typical schools and such a lost opportunity. So I was genuinely wondering where your professional advice had come from.

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ShimmerandShining · 21/04/2020 03:23

I am wondering why the BBC Bitesize Scottish offering is so much better than the English ones? The programmes are three times as long! Why? An hour a day per age group would be far more useful than 20
Mins and also more valuable to parents. I'm disappointed tbh

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AntiSocialDistancer · 21/04/2020 10:43

I'm so pleased you're doing this, thank you Flowers I have 3 primary school children.

I suppose im curious if this will all wind down again when the schools reopen or if Bitesize is looking to expand long term.

Will there be projects and printables like on Twinkl?

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TheFredericaQuartet · 21/04/2020 10:47

Do you offer anything for year 10. I've not been on your site yet but I know my very self-motivated DD is struggling without visual/audio lessons from her teachers.

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noblegiraffe · 21/04/2020 11:35

Thank you for the massive package of educational content that has been put together in such a short time. As a teacher and parent it will be very useful!

There is a real and pressing concern that disadvantaged pupils will fall further and further behind while schools are closed due to lack of facilities for online learning. Obviously more families have access to TVs and radios than they do laptops so you are in a great position to bridge the gap here. Lots of educational sites are giving free access to their resources at the moment, are there any plans to waive the licence fee requirement for access to the BBC’s educational output while schools are closed?

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Queenest · 21/04/2020 14:53

Thank you for coming on to MN. I had a similar experience to BoffinMum today, with my 10 year old. I’m struggling with working while home schooling and was super pleased to hear about the new Bitesize content.

However the maths content for example was pitched way too low, counting in tens etc. The year above wasn’t challenging enough either.

I was disappointed and am hoping to see more relevant material and longer programming coming soon.

Can you advise on the areas of the curriculum you will be looking to cover over the next few months? And will this continue during the summer holidays?

Many thanks.

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GeordieTerf · 21/04/2020 14:57

Hello,

I started using the website today with my six year old.

There were three lessons, and we had finished them all in 50 minutes. Additionally, the child didn't feel challenged.

I will try again tomorrow with a higher level. However, the big problem for me was that the lessons were just too short.

Are there any plans for longer, more challenging, lessons?

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ItsAllGoingToBeFine · 21/04/2020 15:48

Another person echoing that the content seems to be pitched at a much lower age range than suggested. DD refuses to even watch now as it's "too babyish" and "patronising".

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coughcoughcoughitty · 21/04/2020 17:32

I felt ridiculously patriotic when I read the BBC was planning this - thank you.

My sons are Y10 and Y12 so gearing up for GCSEs and A Levels respectively. I know my older son found Bitesize useful for GCSE revision so can I ask what the thinking was behind not providing content for older students on the channel? Is it just a question of priorities (which would be understandable)?

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herecomesthsun · 21/04/2020 17:45

We are finding it difficult to access even the 20 minute Bitesize slots on the TV /iplayer and also difficult to access Bitesize on the children's kindles. Could you not just broadcast the programmes in a timetabled sequence so kids could just tune in?

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Sparklynails7 · 21/04/2020 17:55

Please can you include material for current Year 10 students? They're doing their GCSEs next year and will miss out on so much education! I would think that creating resources for the age 14-16 group would be more of a priority than younger age groups in secondary school.

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ritzbiscuits · 21/04/2020 18:08

Thanks for offering this service during lockdown, the tv sessions are particularly useful when they need time away from school worksheets/books.

I have a 6 yo and agree with the babyish comments. That presenter Karim is super cringeworthy, PLEASE tell him to tone it down!

He's year 1 but found the maths in the 7-9 programme at his level. I'm keen for him to watch the show that matches to his national curriculum stage but you need the maths to be more challenging please.

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Bringringbring12 · 21/04/2020 19:13

Hi thanks for this.

BBC head off education is a very important position, especially at current time. Little alarmed that your experience has absolutely no connection to education.

I’m not being rude (really!), I’m just worried to take on board what you say when I can’t see the experience or connection to education.

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AntiSocialDistancer · 21/04/2020 19:19

Actually my two younger kids (5 and 7) really enjoyed their first episode today, theyre reluctant to do any school work and this was nice and soft to help them engage, get used to the format and not start out feeling that online learning is a struggle or too hard.

If you have a very bright engaged child I suggest maybe trying to go up a level? Or as a parent you can use the Bitesize as a format to deepen the learning yourself.

This seems like a great format for the nation's children.

My only wish would that it could be slightly shorter and set up for twice a day "see you this afternoon!" It would help parents structure the day a little fuller and compound in the afternoon the lessons learnt in the morning.

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Paurie · 21/04/2020 20:11

I love that you’re doing this.

I notice that the afternoon red button programmes rotate - I’m fine with this - but could you fix it so that there is never a repeat in the same timeslot? So, for example, 3pm it works for our schedule to watch the TV - I
like to just turn on red button to avoid debate between the kids / faff - but on Thursday the same program is showing as Monday which will mess with our routine.

(Autistic kids here - so maybe this matters more to us - but in a world where there is an almost overwhelming amount of learning content online/ from school - it’s a really helpful fixed point to say ‘we watch red button at these times because BBC says so’)

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Sparklynails7 · 21/04/2020 20:20

@Bringringbring12 how do you know her credentials? If it's true that she's never been a teacher or lecturer then it's odd that she's head of education at the BBC. I'd definitely prefer someone with firsthand experience and current knowledge of the KS1, 2 and 3 curriculum. Seems like the content is pitched too low, which indicates that the creators are not up to date with current academic expectations at each year group.

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AutumnCrow · 21/04/2020 22:25

Hello,
Welcome to Mumsnet. Thank you for agreeing to this webchat.
May I ask, are you taking advice on providing resources - and timetabling them, as per Paurie's point - for the significant number of children with ASD?
Thank you, and all the best.

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Alakazam8 · 21/04/2020 23:46

Had a look on Mon with high hopes but was disappointed to find that lessons were all run as one ks2 lesson rather than separate lessons.
It would be easier for time pressured parents to be able to go eg.to KS2 history and be able to play that- and as others have said for the lessons to last a bit longer. If there were 3 distinct lessons a day at various times for each key stage parents would be able to match lessons with children’s needs/aptitude’s. Often parents have several children at different levels or children who are outstanding in one area so need to go up or down and age group but not for everything.

I was looking for a music lesson and less than 10 mins isn’t long enough. I admit I didn’t spend a huge amount of time looking so apologies if I’ve missed alternative ways of viewing the lessons.

I also found it very difficult to find plans that show what you will be covering over the next few weeks.
It’s a great idea and brilliant that you are doing this but does need a bit of tweaking!

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Bringringbring12 · 22/04/2020 06:25

@Sparklynails7

I’m o my going by the OP
Prior to working in BBC Education Helen had a wide range of executive producer credits including Points of View, Country Tracks, See Hear, and To Buy or Not to Buy. Before becoming an executive she worked across a multitude of BBC programmes such as Holiday, Homefront and What Not to Wear.


It’s not a barbed question. The OP is in a very important position and I’m wondering about what her experience in education is - it’s important (to me) if I’m going to use the tool for home schooling my children.

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TheDrsDocMartens · 22/04/2020 07:05

Another one who wasn’t impressed at the standards of lessons. DS is year 2 and still loves almost CBeebies programmes but thought the KS1 programmes were for babies.

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poshme · 22/04/2020 08:24

Are there any plans to publish what will be covered in the lessons in advance?
My kids are enjoying them- I agree with the level being pitched low. But it would be helpful to know eg- Monday KS1 it's history looking at fire of London, Tuesday geography looking at rivers etc

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Glitters100 · 22/04/2020 09:08

We’re loving the lessons, my children watched it all on Monday so we could figure out which age group suited them and how they know what time to put it on.

The only thing I’m struggling with is finding follow up work on the bbc/bitesize online so I’m having to find worksheets from twinkl instead. It would be easier to have the days lesson matched up online, would that be possible?

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Tresdesolee · 22/04/2020 09:11

Hello. Have you got any plans to bring the Open University back, or some other form of academic programming for adults? I was just thinking the other day, now would be the perfect time for me to finally learn some physics or the history of the Tang Dynasty something - a nice comforting lecture from someone in a brown viscose suit Grin (seriously, I would watch that right now)

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MarshallChase · 22/04/2020 09:18

I love that you're doing this. I remember BBC Bitesize when I was doing my GCSEs in the (very late) 90s. It was free booklets and then some stuff on computers I think from my hazy memory.

My KS1 child started it yesterday and loved the history one. He wouldn't have studied Rosa Parks at school and found it so interesting. Having the Horrible Histories song too was inspired. He's still singing it now.

It must be a huge project so I'm wondering how many weeks of lessons will you have?

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whysohungryagain · 22/04/2020 10:27

Hello,

Thanks for doing this webchat, I'm looking forward to reading your answers later. I am nosy interested to know what this was like behind the scenes - are you all working from home? How big was the team? Was this a lot more challenging to set up than other projects given the current circumstances and urgency?

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