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Our School (1962)

Courtesy of National Union of Teachers

Main image of Our School (1962)
35mm, black and white, 28 mins
DirectorJohn Krish
Production CompanyGraphic Films
SponsorNational Union of Teachers
ProducerLeon Clore
ScriptJohn Krish
PhotographyLarry Pizer

Impressions of a few hours in a secondary modern school, the Francis Combe County Secondary School, Hertfordshire.

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This film was the second of a pair made by producer Leon Clore and director John Krish to have been sponsored by the National Union of Teachers (whose involvement in film stretched as far back as 1935, and its involvement in Donald Taylor's Citizens of the Future). The earlier I Want To Go To School (1959) followed a day in the life of a primary school, and this film does the same for a Secondary Modern school.

Both films are interesting on several levels. They demonstrate Krish's characteristically controlled approach to documentary, tending to avoid improvisation in favour of deliberately constructed scenes, albeit involving non-actors in real situations. Given this, his skill at directing children is also very evident by the lack of contrivance or false moments in their 'performances'. But the films are also interesting from a social and historical perspective - the NUT's choice of a Secondary Modern, rather than a Grammar School, was significant, and the film provides a fascinating record of teaching styles at the time, with occasional wider implications, as in the fascinating section in which a teacher and pupils discuss accents and dialects, a topic on which prevailing views have greatly changed in the years since.

Patrick Russell

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. Domestic science (1:28)
2. Good and bad writing (1:25)
Complete film (27:13)
Monthly Film Bulletin review
Krish, John (1923- )