BBC’s homeschool stars: Spanish with Agüero, music with Mabel, and… history with Danny Dyer

After the relative peace of the two-week Easter break, millions of parents this week will return – some heavy-hearted, others eager – to their kitchen tables and home computers to resume their children’s DIY lockdown education.

With schools remaining closed for the foreseeable future, home school is back and fresh help is at hand. On Monday the BBC will launch an education service for children locked out of school by the Covid-19 pandemic, complete with a starry array of talented tutors.

On the summer-term timetable will be Spanish lessons from the footballer Sergio Agüero, history taught by the actor Danny Dyer and music with the Brit award-winning singer Mabel. Other tutors offering their services for the 14-week programme include Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker, Oti Mabuse of Strictly Come Dancing and the former One Direction star Liam Payne.

The corporation has recruited the celebrities as part of its biggest ever education offer, BBC Bitesize Daily, which aims to help fulfil its public service role during a time of national crisis and liven up lessons for families stuck at home.

Agüero will teach children to count in Spanish; Dyer, a descendant of King Edward III, will teach key stage one pupils (aged five to seven) about Henry VIII; and Mabel will bring music and reading together as part of a week-long “musical big read”.

The physicist Brian Cox will deliver science lessons covering topics including the solar system, force and gravity; David Attenborough will teach about oceans, mapping the world, and why animals look the way they do; and Mabuse and the TV presenter Anita Rani will read books aimed at primary and secondary pupils.

The lineup may be starry but the intent is serious: to provide a comprehensive package for school pupils of all ages, in support of the online lessons that schools are already providing to their students.

The celebrities will be supported in their efforts by 200 “real” teachers, both on and off screen. The entire programme has been developed over the last four weeks with education professionals.

Alice Webb, the director of the BBC’s children and education services, said: “We’re proud that the BBC can bring together so many people to offer such a wide-ranging package of support to help children and parents right across the UK at such a challenging time.

“We said the BBC would be there for people through this crisis, and we meant it. It’s vital that every child is able to continue learning – and the lessons we’re putting on will make sure they have fun at the same time.”

BBC Bitesize Daily will deliver lessons across BBC iPlayer, Red Button, the BBC Bitesize website and app and BBC Sounds. In addition, BBC Four will devote a block of programming each weekday evening to shows that support GCSE and A-level studies.



Among the programmes will be Mary Beard’s Meet the Romans, Michael Wood’s Story of England and Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain and Tunes For Tyrants, as well as Shakespeare and other classic drama including Great Expectations, starring Gillian Anderson and Ray Winstone, and JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls.

Over the weekend the government announced an online curriculum hub, called the Oak National Academy, which also launches on Monday and will to offer 180 lessons every week, created by teachers.

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