Was ‘sec-mod’ second best?

The city’s Museum of Bath at Work is hosting two documentary films on Post-War Education from John Krish – one of the masters of documentary filmmaking.

The two films – I Want to Go to School (1957)and Our School (1962) were made for the National Union of Teachers. You can watch them – free of charge – on Wednesday, January 20th at 7.30 pm, at the Museum of Bath at Work.


The first film was made in 1957 to show how a small suburban primary operates and includes a host of interviews with children and teachers- quite an unusual technique at the time.

The second film was made in 1962 to encourage teachers, children and parents that the Secondary Modern school was not a second-best alternative to the Grammar School but delivered a good general education. The intention being to refute the suggestion that such schools were for Eleven-Plus failures.


The film again features interviews and what would now be called ‘fly-on-the-wall’ footage of teenagers in their natural habitat.

Museum Director Stuart Burroughs says: ‘They are both charming films and show that however long ago the films were made, children and teenagers are basically the same now – being cheeky to teachers and so on.

I want to go to school

The films weren’t made locally but are representative of the type of school that at the time you could find anywhere!’


Your Director has to say this touches a raw nerve as a ‘borderline’ case Eleven Plus examination sitter who was sent for interview at Weston- super-Mare Grammar School and obviously failed to impress.

I remember to this day l was asked what the rattle thing they waved at football matches was called. Not being sport orientated l had – and still have – no idea. Life can be cruel.