Cable TV to put teachers on show

12th June 1998 at 01:00
Grimsby is set to become Britain's first television town. Sarah Cassidy reports.

Children and teachers are the stars of a pioneering TV channel which hopes to turn historic Grimsby into a 21st century "television town".

The schools in the Lincolnshire port will be the backdrop for a new cable TV channel which will pipe its locally-made educational programmes directly into homes.

The innovative plan from Channel 7 has such promise that ministers will be tuning in to check if it can be adopted nationwide.

Immage 2000 studio which produces Channel 7 also wants to play a big part in the National Grid for Learning - which the Government hopes will link all schools with educational programming via the Internet.

"We believe there should be local production centres to complement national material," said John Trevitt, education director of Immage 2000. "Setting education material in a local context makes it a more powerful tool."

One of the company's simplest ideas has been praised by Education Secretary David Blunkett. Channel 7 plans to show short programmes in which a teacher explains to parents what they intend to teach in the coming term.

"We believe this is the first time this has been done. But it challenges parents to get involved in their children's education and provides an invaluable resource for teachers, for in-service training and inspections," said Mr Trevitt.

Up to 150,000 viewers will be able to watch educational programmes at home or in school and access back-up material via the Internet.

Working in partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council on the Open School Network, Immage 2000 hopes to have 30,000 subscribers by the autumn.

Nearly 25 per cent of the channel's programming will be educational. Local firms are to sponsor science and environmental programmes. Vocational courses in manufacturing, health and social care and business and IT will be supported by programmes giving students a window into local businesses.

"We can provide resource materials about local companies for everyone to use which will save teachers the time and expense needed to arrange school visits for each school," said Mr Trevitt.

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