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Children's Charter (1945)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Elementary schoolchildren sit an exam to gain entrance to a secondary school. Until now, only three out of twenty-five children had the chance to continue their education until the age of sixteen. But in August 1944, Parliament passed a new Education Act aiming to give every child the right to free secondary education.

There are different types of secondary schools: in a technical college with a technical school attached, boys work in the engineering shop, and there are classes in art, music and typing, a library and an indoor swimming baths. At agricultural school, boys are taught plumbing. For brighter pupils, there are grammar schools, offering such subjects as Latin, chemistry and drama. But most children will go to a general secondary school. In a drama class, children debate the Education Act.

At a Day Continuation College in Rugby for sixteen to eighteen year olds, girls discuss the layout of a kitchen, attend a talk on local government, and debate the novel as a film. The college also hosts a juvenile employment bureau and runs social activities, including the college dance.

As old school buildings are replaced with new ones, the commentary concludes that good citizenship depends on good education.