Here we go again?

I was rather surprised to learn that the BBC Trust’s service review of children’s services and content, published yesterday, also covered “content to support formal learning for primary school children”. I was less surprised – but weary – to discover that “As part of this review some commercial education content suppliers raised concerns about the competitive impact of the BBC’s formal learning provision. Under the terms of the BBC’s Charter, the Trust has a duty to have regard to the competitive impact of the BBC’s activities and has written to establish whether these concerns should be treated as a formal complaint.

Oh, not again. The review document emphasizes how CBBC and CBeebies are there to promote education and learning. As I have said ad nauseam before, the BBC must have a role to play in education. This should be curtailed by and complement the (usually) bread-and-butter stuff that commercial publishers can do, but that’s because the BBC is the only organisation that can innovate and question the prevailing teach-to-the-test zeitgeist, and so that’s where it should spend time, effort and resources. Ewan McIntosh’s excellent blog pointed me to something I should probably have seen years ago – Ken Robinson’s February 2006 TED talk – in a wider-ranging and thought-provoking post about what we’re getting wrong.

Is there any chance that we can move away from threats towards collaboration and dialogue in the wider interests of society?

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