Coming soon to a screen near you...

18th June 2004 at 01:00
The world's first television channel for teachers is expected to receive the go-ahead from Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary.

Once approved, Teachers' TV will immediately start commissioning its first programmes then begin broadcasting 24-hours-a-day from January.

The digital channel will be editorially independent but is expected to receive around pound;20 million funding a year from the Department for Education and Skills, pound;20 for each of the one million teachers and governors in the target audience.

More than 1,000 teachers have been sent DVDs containing sample programmes from the channel and others watched it in focus groups.

Nearly 90 per cent said they thought the channel would spread good and innovative teaching practice, while 80 per cent said it would provide materials which would save teachers time. The channel's news programme also proved popular.

Jeff Hebert, a maths teacher at Greenford high in Middlesex, said "The programming in general displayed impressive depth. It was not patronising or cliched."

David Miliband, minister for school standards, has promised that despite government sponsorship, it will not be "Pravda for teachers".

Teachers' TV programmes will be divided into three "zones" covering primary, secondary and general education.

Within these zones will be hour-long blocks on particular subjects, which will be repeated regularly. These will usually be split into four 15-minute segments, starting with close observation of teachers at work, then analysis and reflection on lesson ideas, a Watchdog-style review of resources and finally a section containing recordable clips which can be shown to pupils.

Other programmes are expected to include a classroom-makeover show and a series to help teachers improve their work-life balance called "Ease Your Load". Game shows and celebrity appearances are also being considered.

A 70 per cent stake in Education Digital is held by Brook Lapping, a subsidiary of the media business Ten Alps, set up by Sir Bob Geldof.

Other partners in the consortium include Carlton Communications and London University's Institute of Education.

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