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Hope and Glory (1999-2000)


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!

Ian George, Britain's youngest ever school head, addresses the national head teachers' conference. The audience of teachers love the speech, though the other panellists, government bureaucrats, look uncomfortable. Watching his performance on a television in the staff room of Hope Park Comprehensive are teachers Debbie Bryan, who is impressed by the performance, and deputy head Phil Jakes, who is cynical.

Dennis Hill, Chair of Governors of the failing Hope Park, invites George to visit the school in the hope that a positive report may keep it open. George agrees on condition that he will be able to give a fair and unbiased opinion.

George tours the school. Quietly observing interactions between staff and pupils, he finds a chaotic environment. He discovers an expensively equipped music room which is unused because the school cannot attract a music teacher, and a boarded up sixth form which has not been restored since it was torched three years ago. George talks with the children, encouraging them to think about what they would change in their lives, and makes friends with a lonely boy named Martin Faulkner and with school rebel Kealey Harris.

Despite this, George recommends the school for closure. After he presents his damning report to the Board of Governors, Hill appeals to him to take over as Head Teacher. However, George is not even tempted.

George is on his way to deliver his letter accepting a comfortable job with the Government, when he is waylaid by Debbie Bryan. She challenges him to take on Hope Park and when he refuses she accuses him of being a hypocrite, working for people he claims to despise, whereas the people he said he cared about - teachers, children like Kealey Harris and Martin Faulkner - he is prepared to abandon to the rubbish bin.

Departing Head Teacher Neil Bruce begins his valedictory speech by thanking the assembled for his parting gift, an electronic organiser but as he continues a low murmur sweeps through the audience of children. The murmur becomes a chant 'end of story, end of story', Bruce's catchphrase. Bruce embarks on a bilious rant against the children. Teachers are shocked and embarrassed until eventually, Jakes gently leads Bruce away from the microphone. George walks through the children onto the stage. He introduces himself as the new Head Teacher.