RTÉ to broadcast ‘school on TV’ from next week

Home school hub will be aimed at primary school children from first to sixth class

RTÉ is planning to bring the classroom to the livingroom by broadcasting an hour of school on TV each weekday from next Monday.

The “home school hub” will be aimed at first to sixth class pupils and will be broadcast on weekday mornings from 11am to 12 noon.

Three bilingual primary school teachers have been recruited to present three short class segments aimed at first and second, third and fourth and fifth and sixth class pupils.

Children will also be able to download curriculum-based worksheets and other related activities on the RTÉ website (rte.ie/learn).

A catch-up programme later in the day, Home School Extra, will be broadcast at 4.15pm, which will allow schoolchildren to see their uploaded videos and other user-generated content.

The programme is being produced by RTÉ and independent production company Macalla Teo, with support from Mary Immaculate College.

The three teachers - Ray Cuddihy, John Sharpson and Clíona Ní Chiosáin - all have a background in TV or theatre.

Cuddihy said it has been a “mad scramble” to get a new TV programme made within a week but they are happy with the early results.

The set-up, he said, is very simple: classes are filmed in a real classroom in a south Dublin primary school , with a teacher at a desk and with a white board behind them.

“We have all the elements of a fully-functional classroom there. We’ll be focusing on literacy, we use a lot of Gaeilge and we want kids to send in their work to us,” he said.

“The idea is that the classes are very interactive and engaging so kids can participate from their own sitting room.

“So, for example, if we’re doing something on historical artefacts, we’ll be asking children to look around their home, see what’s on the walls or in the garden shed and ask who made it, how many were made, that kind of thing,” he said.

Suzanne Kelly, group head of children's and young people's content, said a key aim of the programme is to help children and parents cope during these times of uncertainty.

“Kids may be stuck inside but with RTÉ providing structured learning for both kids and parents we will keep everyone busy and occupied. Our goal is to ease the burden on parents with an easily accessible source of education for their kids,” she said.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh TD also paid tribute to RTÉ for doing its bit in “bringing the classroom to the living room”.

Cuddihy added: “Kids want to do their part. They’re not treating this as a school holiday. The idea is the grown-ups are working from home, and you’re working from home too - it’s just we’re bringing the classroom into your home.”

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent

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