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John Simkin

Teachers TV

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Today sees the launch of Teachers’ TV, the first digital channel in Europe to focus solely on the education profession. It offers 24 hours of programming each day, containing good practice, news, resources, opinion and debate. It’s backed by a £60m budget from the DfES spread over the next four years. You will find it at Sky (686), NTL (803), Telewest (240), etc.

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I am unsurprised to find the government giving money to that egregeous scarab Murdoch but because I don't I will be unable to watch this wonderful new initiative.

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Guest Andrew Moore

Given that extra channels can only be made available on digital TV, then the DfES must perforce use the Sky system, or the service will be unavailable to most digital viewers. (The Sky set up is still, I think, the most common, though Freeview may overtake it over time).

Note that, of the 999 channels available on the Sky system (all taken by someone), most come from non-Sky sources. Indeed, apart from the multiple pay-per-view "Box Office" movie channels, Sky has probably less than a dozen. That leaves hundreds for shopping, porn, sport, news, and special or general interest. The only down side (one that Ofcom should challenge) is that the Independent channels (ITV2, 3, Channel 4 and Five - the last two free on analog and all free on Freeview) are not available without a subscription.

As the chair of the learning and teaching group of my regional grid, I have been nominated by the national content development group (the sum of all the regions) to be its representative in liaising with Teachers' TV. I will be happy to keep an eye out for any suggestions or comments that appear here.

My main task is to help the TTV people get relevant content inside the English schools' high-speed network. (Yes, the rest of Britain has high-speed networks for education, too, but I have no connection with them...)

Teachers in England who do not have a digital system, and would like to buy one, can get a subsidy from the DfES - so, if you were going to buy it anyway, now is a good time. (This is to help you watch Teachers' TV. But you can, of course, use it to watch vintage detective stuff on ITV3.)

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Most DFES initiatives seem to involve public money pouring into private pockets. One assumes this is another way to punish the BBC - as if the BBC were not toadying to the government enough.

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Derek writes:

Most DFES initiatives seem to involve public money pouring into private pockets. One assumes this is another way to punish the BBC

I thought the BBC was doing quite nicely squandering your licence fee money on the Digital Curriculum instead of doing what it is good at, namely producing radio and TV programmes. The BBC has already decided to cut down on TV broadcasts of language programmes for adults in favour of inferior Web-based materials.

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I am writing as someone whose SEN department is currently being shown on TeachersTV. I will interested to see the viewing figures but the filming and participation were an entirely positive experience. The film was produced by a Brighton based company who took a great deal of trouble gaining the trust of staff and students before the filming began. As for the end result - you are invited to see for yourselves!

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Not sure that you seriously want the answer John but I will tell you anyway. The programmes featuring Sackville SEN Dept are called Complex Needs, Raising Self Esteem and working with LSAs - showing times on Teacers TV website - one lesson to be learnt when being filmed - check what you are sitting in front of!

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