In the wake of a third national lockdown, the BBC has announced its “biggest education offer in its history” – from 11 January, the public broadcaster will air lessons for primary and secondary aged children on BBC Two, CBBC, and online.

The latest lockdown, announced on Monday evening, brought with it the closure of schools across England and a shift to remote learning. The BBC offer ensures that children can still access curriculum-based learning without the need for internet access. The content – based around BBC Bitesize Daily and BBC’s other education programming – will be aired on CBBC, BBC Two, the BBC Red Button service and will also be available on demand via BBC iPlayer.

In announcing the education offer, BBC Director General, Tim Davie, said, “Ensuring children across the UK have the opportunity to continue to follow the appropriate core parts of their nation’s school curriculum has been a key priority for the BBC throughout this past year. Education is absolutely vital – the BBC is here to play its part and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring this to audiences so swiftly.”

The BBC’s increased focus on education is similar to approaches by other public broadcasters globally. Last year the South African public broadcaster, SABC, launched a dedicated education channel and recently announced its Matric Results service to release matriculation marks to students. Meanwhile, France Télévisions is gearing up to launch its back-to-school 2021 programming, featuring a dozen new educational programmes from 25 January.

The rapid launch of the new BBC services comes just days after the announcement of another national lockdown while initiatives like those in South Africa and France come at a time of resurging COVID-19 cases and the emergence of variant strains of the virus. The initiatives demonstrate the important role of public service media during the pandemic, and their ability to adapt and innovate to support the public in moments of crisis.

For more on the ways public media are catering for audiences during the pandemic, see our related posts below.

Header Image: London, UK – People outside the main entrance to the BBC’s Broadcasting House building in central London. Credit: georgeclerk/iStock