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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.