Robin Buss previews primary programmes for the new term

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
The BBC primary schedules for this autumn open with a timely new two-parter in the What? Where? When? Why? slot called Physical Health: Looking After Ourselves (September 17 and 24), designed to support health promotion with five to seven-year-olds.

Later in the term (also for the same age group), there are three programmes on Scottish Settlements (October 1-15), looking at why people have chosen to live in particular places, and at the function of open spaces and public buildings, with examples from Scotland. Finally there is an in-depth study for seven to nine-year-olds of one Scottish settlement, Skara Brae (November 15), asking pupils to see what they can deduce about the lives of Neolithic people from the evidence on the site.

The main innovation for this term on BBC2 is the new maths series for Years 1 to 6, The Maths Channel. Broadcast from November 1 to December 10 in easy-to-swallow, 10-minute chunks, this takes a novel approach to the maths topics that students find hard to assimilate (ie, pretty well everything, from numbers to measurements, decimals and the rest). With this and the return of Channel Four's Eureka! (from September 21) and Star Maths (from October 19), maths is set to become one of the most entertaining subjects on the box.

Our legacy from the Greeks in the field of maths is one of the topics mentioned in a new four-part unit for primary history. Ancient Greece starts on BBC2 on November 11. Designed for seven to nine-year-olds, it considers what the Greeks did for us in terms of philosophy, storytelling, language, politics, society - and even sport.

Other new programmes on BBC2 include six 10-minute programmes to help with "emotional literacy" (PSHE for seven to 11-year-olds, from November 11) and Primary Arabic (on October 15), in which nine to 11-years-olds follow presenter Amani Zain on a journey through Egypt and learn a few basic words in the language.

There is lots of new material for the term on schools radio, including nine programmes for collective worship (from September 23 to December 2) on the themes of "courage", "a world of stories" and "talking festivals" (the last of those, predictably, is Christmas).

In English, the term starts with Street Child, an abridgement of Bernie Doherty's story about a boy alone on the mean streets of Victorian London (Radio 4, from September 24); and two new series in the slot First Steps in Drama: Celeb School (from September 23) and The Life of Mary Seacole (from November 4).

For older students (aged nine to 11), Drama Workshop also has new material: a three-parter called Boudicca (from September 24) and a two-parter called Text Trouble (from November 5), exploring the potential hazards of communicating by mobile phone.

Finally, Music Extra is a new series on sounds from different countries and periods, starting with History (from September 24) - Tudors, Victorians, the Second World War - and Geography (from November 4), which includes India, China, Indonesia and Africa.

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