TV and radio

Robin Buss's pick of the week

Writing Across the Curriculum BBC2, Friday, February 10, 10.30-10.40am and March 31, 11.10-11.30am

This programme is designed to help 7 to 11-year-olds develop skills in writing about subjects beyond the English curriculum. It links to the geography series Weather, Place and People, broadcast on January 27 and February 3. The second part goes out at the end of March, using material from Mountains and Coasts (Fridays, March 3-24), and the series continues in the summer term with three programmes for history. The whole package is available on four Video Plus packs (pound;37.99 each, from BBC Children's Learning, PO Box 234, Wetherby, LS23 7EU). The lesson behind the exercise is that you can't learn to write effectively unless you have something to write about.

Maths File: Art and Design; Travel and Tourism BBC2, Thursday, February 9, 2-4am

The idea of Maths File is to help lower attainers in the 11-16 age group to understand the connections between maths and life, applying the manipulation of numbers to solving problems of finance, designing graphs and conducting surveys. There is a website for the series (, which has games at different levels to practise the key points. These include guiding a spaceship from planet to planet.

However, check this site carefully before letting your students loose on it, because the instructions for playing are not always immediately evident and even the level-one games may be quite challenging for the less able.

Financial Capability: Money Matters BBC2, Tuesday, February 7, 10.30-10.50am

This new programme for 10 to 12-year-olds is like Maths File, in that it makes connections between abstract accounting and everyday life. It's divided into three sections. The first is a short drama about the effects on a family when the breadwinner loses his job. It shows how Sam, the child of the family, can either help his parents or make things worse. In part two, Sam suffers when caught in the middle of a dispute, but stress counselling helps him to cope. Finally, Sam learns about managing debt and learns to play his part in helping to keep the family together. The aim of all this is to make connections between the real world and the figures on the balance sheet.

Folk Britannia BBC4, from Friday, February 3, 9-10pm

This new three-part series, modelled on last year's Jazz Britannia, looks at the British folk scene since the Second World War. It begins slightly earlier with the attempt to preserve a dying national heritage of country music, but the postwar period saw this nostalgic enterprise adapted to a more political agenda. Bert Lloyd, Ewan MacColl and others set out to explore the folk song specifically as the product of working-class culture.

The folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s, from Donegan to Dylan, is the subject of the first programme, which includes contributions from Peggy Seeger, Tony Benn, Sir David Attenborough and others. It could inspire work in a number of curriculum areas, including music, history and English.

Full listings can be found at:


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