With unprecedented access to a British school, from the classrooms to the dining hall, from the headmaster’s office to detention, The School: Educating Essex follows a group of final year students through the most important year in their education.
What really happens behind the school gates?
For seven weeks of the autumn term, 62 cameras were placed throughout the school, focusing on a number of year 11 students. This ambitious series examines all aspects of teenage life from school work and exam pressure, to fitting in and growing up – at a time when the next generation of school leavers face one of the most uncertain futures in decades.
Rule enforcer, social worker, educator, evil overlord and legend. These are just some of the ways students describe loved (and sometimes loathed), deputy head teacher Mr Drew. As the rule enforcer of the school, Mr Drew deals with some of the school’s stroppiest students on a daily basis. With Christmas and the end of term approaching, the students are in high spirits, but Mr Drew must contend with more than flying snowballs when a run in with a student threatens to derail his entire career.
This episode is all about the age old problem of bullying. From cyber-harassment to an old-fashioned scrap, head teacher Mr Goddard is open about the fact that it’s a problem every school faces – it’s only by acknowledging this that a school can tackle the issue. Rebel Sam and model student Gabby are from different ends of the academic spectrum, but each of them, in different ways, have been affected by bullying. Deputy head teacher Mr Drew is on the case as he plays detective and deals with an irate parent. The technology may have changed, but the issues of falling out and fitting in remain the same.
The school is dealing with a good kid heading in the wrong direction. Charming, but cheeky, Vinni was a model student when he started at the school. However, for the past couple of years, since the break-up of his parents’ marriage, Vinni’s behaviour has seriously deteriorated. So much so that head teacher Mr Goddard worries whether Vinni will make it to the end of year 11. As Mr Goddard and his team try their hardest to get Vinni back on track, Vinni’s home situation drastically changes having a huge impact on his school life.
Luke, Sky and Liam are firm friends and their last academic year sees them all facing challenges. Luke has a troubled relationship with school. His temper can get the better of him and the staff worry whether they can coax him to the end of the year. Meanwhile Sky and Liam’s world is turned upside down when they discover they’re having a baby. Sky desperately wants to finish school, but will she manage to when the baby is due at the same time as her GCSEs?
It’s a girl’s world this week. Carrie and Ashleigh are at the heart of the biggest and loudest clique in school – they love clothes, boys and parties. But teenage girls also love a drama and as the best friends fall out, the argument looks set to disrupt more than their friendship, with the effects spilling into the classroom. In a modern school, arguments are harder to contain as the issues spread from the classroom to Facebook to BBM. The school grapevine is soon buzzing. Meanwhile Ashleigh’s ex-boyfriend Brad is prepared to fight for Ashleigh’s love.
"Teachers are not always right!" is a mantra sisters Mollie and Charlotte live by. Two very clever girls, teachers would rather they applied all that energy used in arguing to their school work. With GCSEs looming and no sign of their behaviour improving, the pair face going on to report with deputy head, Mr Drew – a last resort in the school’s discipline code. For all the shouting and pouting, tantrums and tears, it soon becomes clear that Mollie and Charlotte are actually very fond of their ‘Drewy’. But will they listen enough to actually achieve the as they’re capable of?
As leaver’s day, exams and the all-important prom approach, the school tries to prepare two very different students for the future. Ryan has Asperger's – unsure of what the future will hold, the staff prepare Ryan for life beyond the security of the school. While Ryan wishes he could stay at school forever, troubled top-set student Vinni can’t wait to leave. Having had difficult times in his personal life, the school works hard to make sure Vinni lives up to his potential. And as the series draws to a close the students say goodbye to the staff and school, and nervously await their results.
Physicist and author Brian Greene, brings us a mind-blowing new exploration of space, time, and the very nature of reality.
Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history.
A fresh perspective on the birth of civilisation in the Near and Middle East and its dynamic influence on the West.