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Schools Television

Pick of the week

Last week, we highlighted a new series which lauded the achievements of Britain's sporting heroes (Energize, ITV, Wednesdays 4.35pm). These are the folk whose laps of glory round the track or pitch we applaud feverishly, and who tend to score higher in our affections than even sundry popstars or aged members of the Royal Family.

So sporting success equals national glory? Well, only up to a point. If you've won a shed-load of gold medals, but haven't got any legs, then the chances are that no one (save the interested few) will ever have heard of you.

It is a shaming state of affairs and one that The Disabled Century does not waste any time whingeing about. Instead, it gets on with the very important business of showing the astonishing feats of physical and sporting endeavour that those with disabilities have been achieving over the past 100 years.

Take Jason Ward, for instance. After an accident at the age of 21 robbed him of his legs and the number 30 position in the world tennis rankings, he continued his sporting career from a wheelchair.

It is all a far cry from the turn of the century, when many of those suffering from disabilities would have been institutionalised.

This series looks at the changing nature of Britain's disabled community, from the aftermath of the First World War to the Paralympic movement.

The Disabled Century BBC2 Thursdays, from May 27 9.50-10.30pm SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT

This is not so much a spotlight on a school programme as on a programme about a school. Eustace Street primary in Oldham, to be precise. Ninety per cent of the children here are British Bangladeshi. Every year, many of them return home with their families to Bangladesh, some for as long as three months at a time. Their parents feel that this is the only way that important ties to extended family and culture can be maintained - but the effect on their education can be damaging.

The Ties That Bind reports on an unusual experiment in which the headteacher, Maureen Haddock, plus staff, follow the families' well-trodden route, learning more about a way of life very far away from Oldham.

The Ties That Bind Radio 4 Monday, May 24 9.02-9.30pm BEST OF THE REST

Most of us have, by now, heard of Charlotte Church, the schoolgirl whose seraphic voice has no doubt earned her a heavenly sum from a best-selling album. She first came to public notice on Bright Sparks, a programme from Children's BBC which showcases a range of precocious talents.

It has just started a new series in which we are promised another crop of remarkable youngsters, including the world's youngest surfing champions and Britain's best yo-yo spinners.

Watch out, too, for tomorrow's stars of stage and screen, as well as those bands we'll be jamming the Wembley hotlines to see in a few years' time.

Bright Sparks BBC2 Tuesdays, 5.10-5.35pm JANETTE WOLF

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