Welcome to our first newsletter of 2012! There's loads going on as we try to help our audiences make the most of this exciting year. You can get a taster of some of this activity here and new things are being planned all the time so watch this space for updates. Read on to learn about Big Screen activity for the Olympic Games and a project bringing together music and film in Scotland.

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Screengrab from Teach 2012 Portal.

Teaching 2012

We have lot of exciting opportunities in store for schools this year. The Teach 2012 Portal is in full flow, bringing together all the learning activities and materials that will help schools to make the most of 2012.

BBC World Class is giving schools the chance to twin with others around the world to increase pupils' awareness of diverse cultures.

School Reporters are keeping us up to date with all things sporty and they recently hit the red carpet for the Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

2012 Assemblies offers resources to make topical international affairs accessible to primary and secondary schools, including inspirational sporting stories in the lead up to the Olympic Games.

The Teach 2012 Portal is also providing teachers with a selection of stories and information about the Queen's diamond jubilee.

Visit the Teach 2012 portal.

Coming up...

BBC Experience, a new series of roadshow events at locations across Northern Ireland, will visit Enniskillen Library. Visitors will have the opportunity to get involved in newsreading, jingle making and a radio drama.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra will be hosting a workshop for musicians aged 7 and over. People can bring along their instruments to take part or join the chorus at the BBC studios in Maida Vale.

Cbeebies and CBBC will be celebrating their tenth year on air with a Big Birthday Bash as part of The Quay's Open Day at MediaCityUK, Salford. As well as exclusive screenings and lots of opportunities to get involved, children will be able to meet stars like Mr Bloom and Helen Skelton.

Concerts will be taking place all across the UK for Music Nation, a weekend of live music devised and led by the BBC. The concerts will offer a collaboration of the UK's orchestral and music-making communities.

More forthcoming events

A man looking through a telescope

Seeing stars with Big Screens

BBC Big Screens' live-link to the Faulkes Telescope in Hawaii gave people an exciting taste of the stars last month. Live images of deep space were projected across city centres at incredible Stargazing events all over the UK.

People enjoyed a range of hands-on astronomical activities, as well as an exclusive BBC interactive game specially created for Stargazing LIVE.

Visitors saw demos of some of the incredible star apps available and received news about more upcoming events, Star and Moon Guide and Planetary Activity Card handouts and a fun-filled lunchtime.

Find out about Stargazing LIVE.

BBC Media Action logo.

Introducing BBC Media Action

After 12 years supporting and strengthening the media in the developing world, the BBC World Service Trust has marked a significant new stage in its life. In December 2011, the BBC's international development charity changed its name to BBC Media Action.

The charity’s core purpose and mission remain the same, embodied in the strapline ‘transforming lives through media around the world’.

The new name emphasises how media – in all its forms – is being used in innovative ways to inform, connect and engage people around the world.

Read more about BBC Media Action.


Save the Date Sport Relief logo with celebrities running.

Get active for Sports Relief

January saw the launch of the 2012 Sports Relief campaign. There are lots of opportunities to get involved and raise money to support those struggling with difficult lives in the UK and across the world's poorest countries.

The campaign focuses on the weekend of the 23rd -25th March, which involves the fun-filled Friday night BBC broadcast and the successful Sport Relief mile on the Sunday.

You can also sponsor Blue Peter's Helen Skelton as she makes her way across Antarctica by ski, bike and kite.

Find out about Sport Relief activities.

An orchestra playing.

Music and film collide in Scotland

The Merchant Sinfonia is a community orchestra run by the BBC Scottish symphony orchestra and Glasgow City Halls. It is open to players from all musical backgrounds and each ten week term culminates in a live concert.

The LAB (Learn @ BBC Scotland) has collaborated with a local high school, Glasgow Academy, to create a 10 minute film about the orchestra leading up to the concert.

One pupil presented and another four shot the footage of rehearsals, interviews with orchestra members and the concert itself.

Read about the Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

A sign with the word charity

New partners for 2012

BBC Outreach Volunteering (previously Connect & Create) has announced its new national charity partners.

The successful organisations include Catch 22, British Adoption & Fostering Association and Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The charities were selected to offer opportunities to staff all over the UK and will see volunteers working with audiences that may be difficult to reach through broadcast.

The team's collaborative projects draw on the varied skills and experiences of BBC staff volunteers.

Read more about BBC Outreach.

Inspire 2012 logo

Quest for budding composers

BBC Proms has launched its 2012 search for talented composers aged 12 to 18 through the Inspire Young Composers competition.

The contest is part of BBC Prom's annual Inspire scheme and will be judged by leading contemporary composers and industry professionals looking for original, unique and inspiring music. The winners will gain invaluable exposure across BBC Radio 3 and BBC Proms.

Composer labs are being held all over the country to give young composers the chance to work alongside musical professionals, as well as a teacher's lab on March 26th – a new addition to the scheme.

Learn about the competition.

Carson & Lonley at the event - presenters from schools broadcasting in Northern Ireland.

50 years of schools broadcasting

BBC Northern Ireland recently celebrated 50 years of schools broadcasting.

Since the schools department was established, the local radio programmes have succeeded in widening children's interest, knowledge and experience of Northern Ireland and its affairs.

Over the years many influential figures have shaped programmes, including literary work from the likes of Louis MacNeice and Seamus Heaney.

Visit the BBC Northern Ireland website.

Students with parents showing their Take Two graduation certificates.

Take Two Graduation

Last month, the first cohort of students graduated from the London side of the Take Two programme. 

A number of young people in west London and Salford are developing their communication skills and confidence on the scheme. BBC staff have been mentoring many of the students and many have taken part in communications challenges led by BBC staff.

Guests at the event watched a film created by some of the students on the programme.

Find out about outreach at the BBC.


And finally...

The BBC Cymru Wales team has just launched its Big Contacts Book, an innovative resource for programme makers which has details of more than 2600 new contributors from across Wales. It should bring fresh faces and voices to the BBC's output in Wales and help us find new talent.

Find out more.

BBC Outreach and the University of Teesside have commissioned a short animated-film to celebrate the centenary of the the Transporter Bridge, a well-known local land-mark in Teesside. The BBC is currently looking for a musician (or group of musicians) to create the sound-track for the animation.

Find out more.

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That's all for now. You can find lots more on our website.

  Visit BBC Outreach