Now schools can personalise TV

Free website means you can search channels to find every programme relevant to GCSE subjects

SKY TELEVISION has launched the first website to make TV-viewing recommendations based on subjects being studied at GCSE.

The launch came as Teachers' TV was recommissioned for another five years, highlighting a growing demand for school-related programmes.

The Sky Learning service searches hundreds of channels to find programmes linked to GCSEs in English, history, geography and science.

In consultation with advisers from the Department for Education and Skills, it will expand to cover other GCSE and A-level subjects later this year.

Students, parents and teachers can select specific topics, subject areas and examining boards and then search channels to produce a list of relevant programmes for the following week. The search includes all programmes on terrestrial and subscription channels, and is free to use for both Sky and non-Sky customers.

Examples might include an English pupil being told about the screening of a Shakespeare play, or a science student studying radiation being recommended related programmes on the National Geographic channel.

Ben Stimson, director of corporate responsibility at Sky, said: "Learning does not just have to happen in the classroom. This will help students, parents and teachers who are looking for ways to bring subjects to life.

"Watching a film or a documentary can be another powerful learning tool for students to get much more immersed in a subject they are studying."

But cuts in children's television funding are threatening provision, a conference heard this week. A new study by regulator Ofcom showed children are watching more cheap cartoons.

The ban on junk food advertising during children's shows threatened to damage funding further, industry watchers added.

Meanwhile, the DfES will continue broadcasting Teachers' TV for another five years, once the current contract expires in August 2008. The new contract will go out to tender shortly for a decision by the end of the year. The Government has pledged annual funding of pound;20 million.

Teachers' TV started broadcasting in 2005.

* www.sky.comlearning

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