Janette Wolf looks at what's new on the airwaves right across the curriculum. With proper regard for the mood of the times, schools television and radio is to kick off the autumn term with a clutch of new maths and English programmes.
Maths Channel 4 launches TVM (Television Maths) for 7 to 11-year-olds, which combines documentary, animation and graphics. The series will be looking at maths in everyday life and buildings in particular (Tuesdays, 10.10-10. 25am) and comes with teachers' guide, video, and resource book.
The BBC counters with Megamaths for 7 to 10 year-olds (Mondays 9.40-10am), which promises a dramatic introduction to multiplication tables using comedy, songs and games all set in a castle inhabited by a set of playing cards.
English For children in the early stages of literacy, there's a new set of programmes in Words and Pictures (BBC2, Wednesdays, 9.45-10am). This is a mix of cartoons, live action, songs and poems based on a different letter each day.
Channel 4's Rat-a-tat-tat (Mondays, 11.30-11.45) for early readers aged 4 to 6 brings chosen books to life using animation and music. It encourages reading for pleasure with singing, games and rhymes and comes with teacher's guide (Pounds 3.95), activity books (Pounds 4.95) and song cassette (Pounds 6. 95). Listen and Write! forms part of the primary radio English strand on Radio 3FM, which offers 9 to 11-year-olds an interactive way to develop writing skills. (Wednesdays R3, 3.50-4.10am). Other programmes include Stories and Rhymes for 5 to 7-year-olds, which mixes new and traditional stories with poems and rhymes (Tuesdays 3.45-3.55am) and Words Alive! stories, poems and factual writing for 7 to 9-year-olds (Fridays 3.40-3.55am).
For children in the 9 to 11 age range English Express (BBC2, Wednesdays, 11.40am-12 noon) looks at the writing process in more depth, with an exploration of punctuation and grammar.
Channel 4 gives us Robert Burns: Alive and Kicking, which brings Burns's 18th-century Scotland to life, two hundred years after his death, using his songs and poems. Teacher's guides cost Pounds 3.95 and The World of Robert Burns CD-Rom costs Pounds 94.
Arts In the same vein as the Animated Shakespeare series, C4's The Mix: The Happy Prince is an animated puppet opera based on Oscar Wilde's story about the swallow and the statue (C4 Mondays, 11.15-11.30). For children aged 7 to 11. Teacher's guide Pounds 3.95 and story book Pounds 9.99.
RE The metaphor of an athletics event is the medium for Practising Belief (Thursdays BBC2, 11.15-11.30). It starts appropriately enough with "ready, steady, go!" and continues through "listening to the coach" (a look at authority); "training" (lifestyle) and "taking part" (belief and wonder).
History Welsh History: famous people (BBC2, Thursdays 11.15-11.30am) makes its debut with Caradog and the Romans and Gerald of Wales before ending up with Laura Ashley. It is aimed at 5 to 7-year-olds.
Cross curricular For viewers in Scotland, there's What? Where? When? Why? (BBC2 Thursdays 9.45-10.45am). This is designed to help teachers of 6 to 7-year-olds develop class work in history, geography, science and personal and social education.
Poet Michael Rosen goes on a quest to find out about the Secret Life of Schools in Eureka! (C4, Tuesdays, 9.30-9.45am). Why do we need them, he asks, then examines some of the different types en route. His anthology on the series, which includes children's work, stories and poetry, costs Pounds 5.95 and the teacher's guide Pounds 3.95.
There's magic afoot in the new unit of Stop, Look Listen (C4, Tuesdays, 9.45-10.00am) with Music, Magic and Mystery: folk tales from around the world. These are aimed at 5 to 7-year-olds and start with an Aztec myth.
The expertise of the ITN news team is behind First Edition (C4, Tuesdays 11.45-12.00am) headed by Jon Snow. It brings hard news, headlines and local investigations to schools television and is aimed at 9 to 13-year-olds. Behind the News is a pupil's book to accompany the series, costing Pounds 5.95.
Science There is nothing quite as final as extinction, as the new series Lost Animals (C4, Tuesdays 11.37-11.42am and Wednesdays 11.07-11.12am) discovers. Many natural wonders have been lost for good. Suitable for all ages, this comes with a teacher's guide Pounds 3.95 and CD-Rom, which offers an interactive guide to ex-species Pounds 35 (or Pounds 90 for network version).
* Schools television and radiobegins on September 16.The TES will cover full listings from September 13. Timetables,programme guides and teaching resources are available from Channel 4 Schools, PO Box 100, Warwick CV34 6TZ, tel: 01926 433333; or BBC Education,White City, London W12 7TS,tel: 0181 746 1111.
* Both channels are on theInternet at http:www.schools.channel4.co.ukc4schools and http:www.bbc.co.uk * All BBC school radio programmes are available on cassette.Each series costs Pounds 2 which includes postage.