How a Derbyshire teacher has been helping the nation’s children to learn during lockdown

A Derbyshire teacher has told of his pride at giving lessons to the nation’s children on the BBC during lockdown.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 4:45 pm

Ryan Smith, a year three teacher at Stonelow Junior School in Dronfield, has been busy delivering content for the broadcaster’s educational programmes while schools are closed to most pupils amid the pandemic.

Ryan said: “I've now appeared in more than 50 different shows or episodes – I love being part of something I know is helping so many people across the country.

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Ryan Smith with some of his pupils at Stonelow Junior School in Dronfield. This picture was taken before the pandemic.
Ryan Smith with some of his pupils at Stonelow Junior School in Dronfield. This picture was taken before the pandemic.

"I’ve had such brilliant support from my colleagues and our whole school family – from kitchen staff, parents, kids, governors, the headteacher, everyone really.

“They’ve all been so positive about my TV appearances, all saying they’ve been tuning in.”

Last month, the 32-year-old, of Chesterfield, was the main teacher to launch the Bitesize Daily programme on the CBBC Channel's morning educational service.

He has starred in the last three broadcasts for BBC Live Lessons, presenting alongside famous CBBC faces Katie Thistleton, Rhys Stephenson and Naomi Wilkinson.

Mr Smith and Naomi Wilkinson giving one of their lockdown lessons.

On Thursday, he appeared live on the CBBC Channel with Naomi to present a specal Winterwatch programme in partnership with the RSPB, BBC Two's Winterwatch and famous faces Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin.

It allowed Key Stage 2 pupils to experience the magic of nature from their homes and classrooms, and arm them with the necessary skills to go out and explore their local wildlife.

Mr Smith said it was a ‘fantastic’ experience and added: “The camera crew even came to Stonelow Junior School to film some segments using our brilliant grounds and some of our lovely year three children who even took part in the filming.”

Headteacher Catherine Robinson, headteacher at Stonelow Junior School, said: “Mr Smith is a talented and enthusiastic teacher at Stonelow.

“We are thrilled he has been able to share his expertise with children nationwide on the BBC.

“The year three pupils who took part in the Winterwatch filming had a wonderful day experiencing life in front of the camera.

“The whole school watched Mr Smith live on Thursday as part of our hugely successful virtual science day.

“We’re very proud of him.”

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription at or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.