BBC signs up Rachel Riley and John Boyega to teach children through homeschooling initiative


Countdown’s Rachel Riley and Star Wars actor John Boyega are among the famous faces recruited for the BBC’s homeschooling programme to educate schoolchildren during the coronavirus lockdown.

The broadcaster has announced new details of its virtual learning programme, which has launched today on BBC iPlayer and Red Button. 

Among those taking part are Oxford graduate and math whizz Rachel, 34, who will be ‘dropping in’ and John, 28, who has previously taught English classes for the network. 

Star Wars actor John Boyega

Countdown’s Rachel Riley (left) and Star Wars’ John Boyega (right) are among the famous faces recruited for the BBC’s homeschooling programme to educate schoolchildren in lockdown

Footballer Sergio Aguero, who will help children to learn to count in Spanish, and science genius Prof Brian Cox. 

Ed Balls has been recruited to deliver a maths class for 11 to 14-year-olds, while Attenborough will tackle oceans and mapping the world.

EastEnders actor Danny Dyer, who is a direct descendant of King Edward III, will provide a history class for five to seven-year-olds on Henry VIII.

The BBC added that Jodie Whittaker, who plays Doctor Who, will ‘drop in’ on its Bitesize Daily lessons – as will Countdown star Rachel Riley.

Celebrities Liam Payne and Mabel, TV presenter Anita Rani, and Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse will work alongside over 200 teachers. 

Getting involved: Danny Dyer fans have vowed to enroll for extra tuition after the EastEnders star joined a huge host of stars to become tutors for a new BBC homeschooling initiative 

Sir David Attenborough will teach geography topics such as the oceans and mapping

Sir David Attenborough will teach geography topics such as the oceans and mapping

Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse is 'dropping in' for virtual classes

Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse is ‘dropping in’ for virtual classes

Love Island star Dr Alex George will also join the innovative new programme

Love Island star Dr Alex George will also join the innovative new programme 

Anita Rani

Vick Hope

Newsreader Anita Rani (left) will be contributing to the reading programme while radio DJ Vick Hope will also take part

Alice Webb, director of BBC Children’s and Education said: ‘We’re proud that the BBC can bring together so many people to offer such a wide-ranging package of support to help children and parents right across the UK at such a challenging time.

‘We said the BBC would be there for people through this crisis, and we meant it. It’s vital that every child is able to continue learning – and the lessons we’re putting on will make sure they have fun at the same time.’

The BBC unveiled plans earlier this month to support the education of ‘every child in the UK’ and provide ‘rhythm and routine’ for their frazzled parents.

The programme includes BBC Bitesize Daily, which will feature six 20-minute programmes each day, aimed at different age groups.

England rugby player Maro Itoje is also part of the programme, reading excerpts from How To Be A Cat for year six pupils

England rugby player Maro Itoje is also part of the programme, reading excerpts from How To Be A Cat for year six pupils 

Can't wait: Many older fans admitted they would be happy to re-enroll for classes if it meant being tutored by the straight talking actor

Can’t wait: Many older fans admitted they would be happy to re-enroll for classes if it meant being tutored by the straight talking actor

The BBC confirmed that Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker will 'drop in' on its Bitesize Daily lessons

 The BBC confirmed that Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker will ‘drop in’ on its Bitesize Daily lessons 

Liam Payne will help children with reading, using his own lyrics as part of a Big Read event

Liam Payne will help children with reading, using his own lyrics as part of a Big Read event

There will also be a maths and English lesson every day for different age groups, as well as daily education podcasts. 

Programmes on BBC Four on weekday evenings will aim to support GCSE and A-level courses, as students face a period of uncertainty during the lockdown.  

Many older Danny Dyer fans admitted they would be happy to re-enroll for classes if it meant being tutored by the straight talking actor.  

One tweeted: ‘Would’ve been all over history in school if Danny Dyer was my teacher. Hearing about Henry 8th getting married to 6 proper naughty little sorts.’   

Ageuro said of his new signing: ‘It’s a tough time for children at the moment, and also for parents trying to keep them focussed on their education from home.

‘The BBC are doing brilliant work to help and I’m honoured to be able to play a part.’ 

Rachel Riley will also be 'dropping in' to teach the nation's schoolchildren during the lockdown

Rachel Riley will also be ‘dropping in’ to teach the nation’s schoolchildren during the lockdown

Riley made the announcement on Twitter, before posting this picture of her, aged four

Riley made the announcement on Twitter, before posting this picture of her, aged four

Bitesize Daily will feature Spanish lessons from Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero

Bitesize Daily will feature Spanish lessons from Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero

Skills: Professor Brian Cox will also contribute while BBC Radio 4 will be offering short history lessons with Horrible Histories' Greg Jenner

Skills: Professor Brian Cox will also contribute while BBC Radio 4 will be offering short history lessons with Horrible Histories’ Greg Jenner

What’s On The Show Today? 

BBC iPlayer and the Red Button are hosting Bitesize Daily each weekday for learners aged five to 14, and for families throughout the UK.

Each show will include a combination of core subjects like English, maths, and science, as well as other subjects like history and geography.

Each show will also broadcast daily on Red Button at 9am and 10am. 

Age 5-7:

Counting with John Farnsworth; maths (What is a number line? What are odd and even numbers?); history (Who was Neil Armstrong?)

Age 7-9:

Rounding with Laura Bubble; maths (What is a place value? How to partition a number); history (How the Romans changed UK?) 

Age 9-11:

Maths (How to multiply and divide by 0, 1, 10, and 100. Ten times table); history (How to be a Historian)

Age 11-12:

English (How to think about your purpose for writing); maths (Positive and negative numbers. Eastern maths and the invention of zero and negative numbers); history (The Norman Conquest)

Age 12-13:

Maths (Eastern maths and the invention of zero and negative numbers); history (1066 – The Battle of Hastings)

Age 13-14:

Maths (Numbers: Negative Numbers); history (1066 – King William and the Domesday Book) 

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