In 2021, the BBC Bitesize team required a series of content that would tackle the need for better understanding, respect and acceptance of people who, in young people’s eyes, were ‘unlike them’, in addition to other issues facing society at large.
Under an overarching theme of ‘Being Me’, they commissioned Brickwall to produce a series of films to show how themes of Citizenship could play out in the examples of lives of children who are representative of UK society today.
Community Club was our suggested setting for a rich and diverse animated series that could allow us to tell stories, inspired by real children, to help our audience explore various lessons and learning aligned to the KS1 Citizenship curriculum.
Our diverse cast of children would alternate in being the “main characters” of each story so that the audience can all see themselves represented as the protagonist and not just a side-line character. None of them would be perfect, allowing our students to see the characters making mistakes sometimes, showing that it’s okay and a part of learning.
This would help us focus on how they respond and react to things that affect others – encouraging the audience to think outside themselves– both about their immediate social circles and about society at large.
Why it worked
The series proved a great success with our audience and the BBC team, and was able to resonate with students and teachers alike for a number of reasons. In addition to a vibrant, exciting animation style, the setting allowed us to cover some key editorial points:
- Child-led learning - By basing our narratives around the experiences of children of a similar age to our audience, we could model behaviours, showcase moments that were relatable, and encourage questioning from our audience that aligned with what they were seeing on screen.
- Flexibility of the setting - Whilst our setting was consistent for the series, the community club proved to be a flexible place which could encapsulate anywhere in the UK, and allow us to take ‘trips’ outside to other relatable settings.
- Learning in context - By building the characters’ learnings into narratives linked to each episode, we were able to subtly cover the curriculum content in a way that not only was more engaging, but provided learning in context for our viewers.
The series can be viewed in full on the BBC Bitesize website.