BBC Bitesize – Higher – Writer(s) needed

  • Joe Kane

    Hi everyone,

    Over the past four years, I have written or revised the N5 and Higher Bitesize guides. Previously, some other teachers also wrote the original N4 guide and parts of N5 and Higher. I had been commissioned to write the new Higher guides but having recently taken on a new job, I have no realistic prospect of completing the work.

    I notified the BBC of my decision this week and they asked if I could post a message here in case anyone is interested, including former contributors. The task is time consuming more than difficult and involves creating guides for each sub unit (there are 24 in total but I have already submitted 2). You also need to write ten multiple choice questions for each guide with three answers and three explanations. If you have time it is doable but it is not a job that can be taken on lightly. The BBC pay a one off fee, so there are no royalties associated with hits etc. (which is a pity!).

    They are flexible in terms of deadlines, and while aiming to publish revised courses ASAP, they take the view that publishing around October or November is fine, so there is flexibility if needed. To give an idea of time, it took me around five weeks during summer to write the revised N5 course last year.

    Parts of the existing Higher guides could be used again, so it would not be a complete re-write but merging the old content with any new parts can take time, particularly as you need to direct the editor to keep certain parts and remove others.

    If anyone is interested please feel free to send me a message.

    In a broader sense, it is highly unlikely that I will be involved in much Computing delivery in the longer term and beyond this session. Over the years, I have worked with many of you, either as part of marking teams or in general. All the best with things going forward.



    Lee Murray

    All the best with your move.  I have always made good use of the BBC Bitesize material and hope the standards remain as high as they have been in the past.

    Out of interest, how do you *know* that what you’re writing is in line with what the SQA has in mind?  Do you have any inside information or do you just have to use your interpretation skills and hope for the best?

    Joe Kane

    Hi Lee,

    Essentially, you are making a best guess – the arrangements documents, previous versions of courses and specimen exam papers give you a lead if the course is brand new, with past paper marking schemes giving a good lead if the course is live. The support materials released for N5 last year were also helpful in providing a steer in terms of depth. However, it is often the case that parts of the Bitesize guides are revised, it is just that teachers probably don’t see that happening. For example, a couple of years ago some of the sections on RAD and Agile were too detailed in terms of what the SQA exams ended up asking for so were scaled back for the new term. The editors are happy to take their lead from the writer if some content is too light, too detailed or inaccurate. Brand new content is what can cause issues in terms of depth.

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