BBC Bitesize celebrates two decades in business

The popular educational resource turns 20 this year, and continues to help young people of all ages study for homework, tests and exams

In 1998, when the World Wide Web was still in its infancy, Google wasn’t yet a verb and only 9% of UK households had an internet-connected computer, the BBC launched Bitesize.

Now, as students, teachers and parents across the UK get back into their school routines this September, BBC Bitesize is celebrating its 20th year of supporting young people’s education needs.

From its launch, Bitesize quickly became an award-winning source of study, revision and homework supporting children and young people throughout all stages of the curriculum.

Today, Bitesize is the most popular dedicated educational site in the UK, used by around 80% of secondary school children, and around 40% of primary school children – catering for the curriculum of all four nations within the UK. Students can access both the website and the Bitesize app on tablets, phones and laptops, making learning available on the go. With content covering over 35 subjects across the primary and secondary school curriculum, along with post-16 resources, learning is made engaging and effective through thousands of study guides; videos, interactive games and quizzes all to help students maximise their potential wherever they are in the UK. Over half of GCSE / Nationals students who used Bitesize to revise for their exams said that it helped them to achieve better grades.

Over the last couple of decades Bitesize has worked with famous faces who have helped to educate Britain’s students, from David Tennant and Philomena Cunk to Gary Lineker and Jack Whitehall, not forgetting a before-he-was-famous Hollywood star John Boyega explaining gender roles in Shakespeare’s time! Such appearances have allowed for the very best BBC talent to make learning as impactful and entertaining as possible.

I remember relying on [Bitesize] to help me to pass my own exams, and the help it’s given to me as a teacher has been absolutely invaluable.
– Matthew Burton, Thornhill Community Academy

As it enters its twentieth year, Bitesize is going through a major transformation. From September, students will be able to sign into BBC Bitesize whatever their age, allowing the site to start building personalised learning journeys that help maximise attainment. There will also be a new modern look and feel across the site, and improvements to the way the audience can find and use content.

Bitesize will broaden its remit beyond just the curriculum in order to help young people with key life moments – preparing for the first day of primary school, or transitioning from primary to secondary, choosing what options to go for and providing careers discovery and advice. Bitesize is also piloting innovative new educational formats such as AR and Voice as it looks to ensure it is as relevant when it reaches its 30th birthday as it is now.

Sinead Rocks, Director of Education said: “It’s hugely exciting to be able to mark our big Bitesize birthday with a fresh look, new features and material that will directly impact the lives of our audience. We know that for many over the last twenty years, Bitesize has been the difference between passing and failing key exams. We’re looking forward to doing even more in the next twenty years to help support every young person in the UK to reach their full potential’’.

Matthew Burton, Head Teacher at Thornhill Community Academy said: “Bitesize has helped me in so many ways since it began 20 years ago. I remember relying on it to help me to pass my own exams, and the help it’s given to me as a teacher has been absolutely invaluable. It’s certainly become more developed since then and nowadays it can always be relied on to give students and teachers excellent, free content and resources, mapped to knowledge students need, presented in an engaging and often inspirational way. Happy Birthday, Bitesize! Here’s to the next 20 years!”