BBC may broadcast lessons if swine flu shuts schools

by Emily

The Government has announced possible contingency plans if schools are forced to close in the face of a swine flu pandemic in the autumn. Crucial to these plans is a suggestion that the BBC could be forced to clear their usual daytime schedules to make way for educational broadcasting.

The BBC is less than happy with the announcement, with a senior source calling it "tantamount to (the Government) taking control of the BBC". The BBC was also forced to admit that, as any closure would be at short notice, they would not be able to produce any new educational material, but would have to rely on previously created programmes such as those screened in the 'Bite-size' revision guides. Clearly this is a far from ideal situation, so if it comes to pass, what will be the knock-on effect for private tutors?

If the schools are closed for any extended period of time, it is likely that tutors will experience a surge in business as parents look for alternatives to ensure continuity in their children's education. Even if the BBC screens 'lessons', the stigma attached to TV is unlikely to make it an acceptable solution to parents in the long-term. This may be exacerbated further for students at the beginning of exam years, where an 'every lesson counts' mentality can come into play. If community learning centres, such as libraries, are also affected, parents may feel they have few options left beyond home tuition for any significant period of school closures.

Are you as a tutor making contingency plans for this scenario? And if the school closures do go ahead, will teaching in this environment change your usual style or methods?