The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically shaken up the ways in which children receive their education, with schools throughout the country being forced to close their doors as a result of the virus spreading.
Since the first lockdown, parents have grown increasingly concerned over the huge gulf in the standard of quality between classroom and home learning.
This has forced some to take matters into their own hands, as they resort to external sources of online education, in order to make up for the lack of teaching their children have been receiving from schools.
BBC Bitesize has proven to be one of the most popular means to do this, as they look to provide millions of students aged 5-14 with a series of different educational modules, in the most interactive means possible.
De’Graft Mensah is a presenter on CBBC’s Newsround, and he believes that the Lockdown Learning is a great initiative for children across the United Kingdom.
Speaking to Buzz News, he said: “Over at Newsround we spend a lot of time talking to kids from all around the country, and we understand that this time period that we are now in can be quite a challenging time for kids.
“If you’re learning from home, that’s a whole different environment and a whole different headspace to try to get used to.
“Kids, and everyone, are constantly trying to find the best ways for kids to learn from home.”
De’Graft believes that part of the reason why the scheme is so engaging, is because it makes learning fun: “The lessons are entertaining, and they’re presented by some of the best people and you’ve got all the best educational material behind it.
“But it also gives kids a familiar face and a familiar brand that they are used to. It allows them to learn in a way that they can maybe communicate with friends all around the country and all around the towns and cities and all have this one great educational resource,” he added.
“At the start of lockdown when they were first introduced it was a lot of hard work and you’ve got to remember this wasn’t something that was planned, years in the making. It was very reactive to the current situation and I just think the team have done a brilliant job.”
Lockdown is hard on young people, working and learning from home. @BBCNewsround ‘s @DGMensah has some advice for people who may be feeling a bit fed up!#qualityeducation #advice #lockdown #learning pic.twitter.com/pd4LGYZ9k1
— Buzz News (@buzz_bmth) January 22, 2021
Despite this, the ways in which the BBC provide their education have recently come under scrutiny, with some parents and campaigners believing that it is an insufficient replacement for in-person learning.
Bishop Grosseteste University lecturer Kevin Mclaughin believes that despite having useful content, BBC bitesize does not present information in a way that allows children to learn without a teacher present.
“I used this content as a school teacher myself, and a lot of it is brilliant and really good.
“But because you’re the teacher, you’re using it with the children in class, you can explain it, adapt it, go through it with the children. Whereas now they’re bringing presenters to present the information.
“That will throw up issues with whether it is actually going to be useful to the child. Does it teach them the correct methods that the school uses? What if the BBC has a way of doing it that is totally alien to what a child does in school, does that mean there is an issue when they return to school?
“Do you just plonk a child down in front of the TV and hope for the best? It is admirable what they are doing – it’s better than nothing, but some would say nothing would be better.
“ I don’t want my child sitting in front of the TV from nine o’clock in the morning to whatever time in the day – but again that’s not that’s not what they want you to do.
“It is there as a support mechanism to support teachers in delivering remote learning opportunities for home.”
Although the general consensus is overwhelmingly positive among parents, and many parents are approving of the learning methods deployed by BBC Bitesize amidst the pandemic.
On any criticism, De’Graft issued this reminder:“At the start of lockdown when Lockdown Learning was first introduced it was a lot of hard work and you’ve got to remember this wasn’t something that was planned, years in the making. It was very reactive to the current situation and I just think the team have done a brilliant job.”