The BBC has frozen the roll-out of five new elements of content for its BBC Jam online education service for children pending a review of its performance early in January. The decision icame after intervention by the Government and the European Union.
A BBC spokesperson said, "We have agreed in principle with the Government that there should be a review of BBC Jam content, to check how well it is meeting the terms of its approval. The details should be settled early in January but in the meantime the BBC has agreed to suspend temporarily the roll-out of any further Jam content." The materials that have been held back are PE (7-11), Geography (11-14), History (7-11), English (7-11) and Statistics (14-16).
It is understood that Europe still has concerns over competition issues surrounding BBC Jam, formerly the BBC Digital Curriculum. This was the reason for the millions of pounds worth eLearning Credits made available to schools for digital content to counter fears that free materials from the BBC, paid for by the licence fees, would distort the education ICT market.
I'm not sure if this means there is some great content waiting for us primary history teachers, but this does seem to suggest that the BBC isn't allowed to make its free stuff available for danger of forcing commercial enterprises out of business. This all seems a bit dodgy. ELCs were used to support companies - if the other side of the bargain isn't happening then the ELC system is completely unbalanced.
We've lost excellent GCSE History content from the BBC, and now finished content appears to be being prevented from being published. I just hope 'held back' doesn't really mean held back for a couple of months so suppliers can sell their wares at the BETT show. I suspect there is more to it than that, but I cannot help being a bit cynical.