Robin Buss's pick of the week

19th November 2004 at 00:00
Bitesize Revision: English 1, 2 and 3

BBC2, Wednesday November 24, 4-6am; Thursday November 25, 2-6am

A concentrated chunk of revision in English for 11 to 14-year-olds, starting with non-fiction texts. This involves thinking about audience and appropriate language, planning and checking what you have written. Part two, on Thursday, is about reading and writing fiction, together with some preparation for the Shakespeare plays that are the focus of part three: Twelfth Night, Macbeth and Henry V. This unit ends with hints on grammar and punctuation.


BBC2, Monday November 22, 11.40am-12.20pm

Two films for seven to nine-year-olds about the effects of the seasons on Scottish farming life. Grant and Joanne learn about different kinds of farming - stock farming, arable and dairy - and about land use in various parts of Scotland, as well as about farming in a wider context. Teachers will find notes online with outlines of the two programmes and education

When the Romans Came to Wales

C4, from Tuesday November 23, 4.50-5.05pm

Based on the imagined lives of two historical characters, Tadia and Tadius, who lived in Wales at the time of the Roman conquest, this four-part series looks at life in pre-Roman Celtic society as well as at the effect of the Conquest. Presenter David Petersen walks his dog around some sites where Roman remains have been found. Pupils then watch a drama involving the two characters and are asked to comment critically on the evidence. The central question throughout is: how do we know? A good place for seven to 11-year-olds to start investigating life in Roman Britain, supported by a website ( and by books in English and Welsh (available from Dref Wen, 28Church Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff, CF12 2EA).

Someone to Watch Over Me

BBC1, Tuesday November 23, 10.45-11.25pm

"Social workers walk a thin line between stepping in and holding back," says the commentary to this six-part documentary on the work of Bristol social services. This week, they have to deal with a baby who may have been harmed by his parents, an addicted mother and a young teenager who is at risk. Each of the cases nicely illustrates how fine that line is, how easy it can be for social workers to make mistakes, and how few entirely satisfactory solutions there are. What, for example, will be the consequences of locking a teenager up to protect her from herself? She's unlikely to come out thinking: "I want to be a social worker when I grow up."

Panorama: Too Much, Too Young

BBC1, Sundays from November 21, 10.15-10.55pm

Panorama profiles the demographic group that most of us know as "children", "pre-teens" or key stage 3; but now that advertisers have named them "tweenagers", they have become a new bunch of satisfied consumers in the making. They have their own fashions, their own magazines, their own music, and loads of other expensive, if aesthetically unpleasing things they never knew they wanted. Teachers who have to deal with these latest victims of capitalism may prefer not to know what is going on in those lurid depths, but feel none the less that duty requires them to poke around there occasionally.

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