BT and the BBC have announced plans to zero rate the hugely-popular online education strand BBC Bitesize for all EE, BT Mobile, and Plusnet Mobile customers, while UK schools remain closed.
The first of its kind agreement means that from the end of January 2021, customers of EE, BT Mobile and Plusnet Mobile accessing BBC Bitesize for kids’ educational purposes, can watch, read and interact with as much immersive content as they need, even if they have run out of data.
“We want to ensure that no child is left behind in their education as a result of this pandemic, and recognise that we all have a role we can play to help families and carers continue their children’s education while schools are closed,” commented Marc Allera, CEO of BT Group’s Consumer division.
“That’s why, as part of our ‘Lockdown Learning’ support scheme launched last week, we’re proud to partner with the BBC and be the first network to zero rate BBC Bitesize and allow all of our mobile customers to access its incredible content without using up any data.”
“With the pandemic forcing schools to close again, we should not allow a lack of digital access to further impact children’s education,” asserted Tim Davie, BBC Director General. “This is why I’m delighted we have agreed this partnership with BT to remove data charges when accessing the BBC’s brilliant Bitesize content. The BBC will continue to do all we can to ensure every child, whatever their circumstances, can continue to access vital educational materials during this time.”
To make the process as easy as possible for families, no registration will be required with zero rated access to educational Bitesize content through the BBC website and Bitesize app made automatically.
The Bitesize online offer has become essential to delivering support for parents, teachers and students during the crisis.
For primary, BBC Bitesize online has an expanded offer of structured lessons in Maths and English for all year groups – these can be used at home or in the classroom.
‘This Term’s Topics’ also covers other curriculum subjects and curates learning content that works for the Spring curriculum. This content can be used at home or incorporated into a learning plan. Visit bbc.co.uk/bitesize, click on the year group and subject and all the content is there.
For secondary pupils, Bitesize is also home to two-week learning packs for English and Maths in KS3 (years 7, 8 and 9) as well as ‘This Term’s Topics’ for other subjects to be used at home or to support teachers in the remote classrooms. For students in Years 10 and 11, the Bitesize secondary offer allows students to pick their exam board and subject to find everything they need to help with their studies. Visit bbc.co.uk/bitesize/secondary for details.
BT says it is doing all it can to help support the nation during lockdown. It has unveiled its ‘Lockdown Learning’ support scheme, working with the Department for Education to ensure school children can continue to learn online while face to face learning is paused. BT will be giving those children who need it most unlimited mobile data as well as handing out thousands of free WiFi vouchers to schools and charity partners to distribute to families without an internet connection. The vouchers give access to the internet via BT’s five million WiFi Hotspots across the UK.
“Supporting children and young people to continue their education is vital during this challenging time,” declared Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. “It is fantastic that BT and the BBC have joined forces to remove mobile data charges for BBC bitesize for hundreds of thousands of families across the country.”
“Having worked closely with the UK’s leading mobile network providers since the start of the pandemic, I would like to thank BT for this additional support which builds on the Government’s offer of free mobile data for disadvantaged families.”
BT’s partnership with the BBC is the first zero rating of educational content, with announcements on further popular learning portals to be made soon.
The scheme will end as schools reopen across the UK.