15 Feb 2017

Sound Archives: Broadcasts to Schools

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:39 pm on 15 February 2017

The over 45s may remember the primary school classroom having a radio loud-speaker permanently mounted on the wall. Every so often, usually in the afternoon, it would magically come alive with a 'Broadcast to Schools.' 

"Broadcasts to Schools" were programmes produced by the Broadcasting Service and the Department of Education from 1930 until the early 1980s, and school children all around New Zealand could be tune in simultaneously to hear about a social studies or science topic, or most memorably, music and singing lessons. 

1938 Broadcasts to Schools lesson on China, from May 1938.

1938 Broadcasts to Schools lesson on China, from May 1938. Photo: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

1938 Booklet for Broadcasts to Schools from 3YA Christchurch

1938 Booklet for Broadcasts to Schools from 3YA Christchurch Photo: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Their heyday was the years before television, when radio was the main mass form of communication. 

Correspondence School also used to have a regular radio broadcast slot and it continued doing some lessons on air right through until the late 1990s and the advent of the internet. 

Correspondence School was aimed at children who couldn't attend school for whatever reason, whereas the Broadcasts to Schools programmes were planned to be heard in a school setting, with a teacher.

Recordings of these radio programmes are held in the archives of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.