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Instructional film/TV programme
Our School is still as captivating today as it was in 1962. Talented director John Krish had already made one excellent film for the NUT, about primary schools (1959’s I Want to Go to School). Now they commissioned him to turn his eye to secondary moderns (three years before the widespread changeover to comprehensives would begin).
We see an actual school, actual pupils and teachers, almost everything feeling vibrantly real, ringing piercingly true. Yet any resemblance to ‘fly–on–the–wall’ filmmaking is deceptive. The secret of the film’s brilliance is that it was made rather like a feature film. The director and his crew planned everything carefully: the school ‘day’ was filmed over a period of weeks.
At the time it was unusual for so many scenes in a documentary film to be made with ‘live’ sound. There is some cracking dialogue but what most makes scenes sparkle is their careful attention to eye contact and body language, revealing more than mere words can.
The film is constructed out of several ‘mini–documentaries’ taking us from one classroom to another, building up to a complete portrait, and an impassioned argument for the value of education and of all children.
Cast & Credits