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Proof that TV can be good for you;Inner-city schools

Elaine Williams reviews a new type of television programme in Grimsby

A PIONEERING television station has begun piping lessons directly from the classroom into children's homes in Grimsby's education action zone.

This week saw the first locally-made homework classes, part of a cable network already attracting the attention of ministers.

"It helped me understand things I missed in class," said 10-year-old Scott Paxton as he sprawled on his sitting-room floor. "I can't always take it all in during class, and watching the lesson on television makes it more understandable."

Scott recognises his friends as the camera pans around the classroom at Bradley Park junior school, part of a 20-minute science broadcast.

He even appears himself, briefly, in the second programme which explains how to construct narrative.

"Its all right. It gives you a chance to go through the lesson again," said his friend Gemma Wade, watching from the sofa. "But not everyone can watch it because not everyone has cable television."

This is something the Action Zone and Channel 7, Grimsby's cable company, hope to remedy. Channel 7 already has 13,000 subscribers in North East Lincolnshire, while Grimsby has received a pound;560,000 government grant to wire up its schools.

Video tapes of the programmes will be made available to families who miss the broadcasts.

"I have noticed already how much more confident he is in his homework," says Scott's mother, Tracey. "He hasn't asked any questions. And I think it will take some of the worry out of sitting his school tests."

Programmes covering science, maths and English lessons are being broadcast every night at 6.30pm and repeated at 7.30pm from now until May 9 as an experiment run by the action zone and supported by the film studios Immage 2000.

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