How have schools been represented in the documentary “Summer Hill at 70” and Panorama “The Ridings School” and the BBC drama “Hope and Glory”?
In this essay I will be writing about three television programmes two documentaries “Summer Hill at 70? and the Panorama documentary “The Ridings School” I will also be writing about one drama “hope and glory”, which is a fictional BBC drama.
“Summer Hill at 70? was filmed in 1991 at Suffolk. “Summer Hill at 70? was founded by AS Neill in 1921. The genre of “Summer Hill 70” is real-life, has factual interviews, features filming things as they happen and is edited in particular ways. The purpose of the programme was to show a negative view of a school, to shock, entertain and to inform watchers. The programme was aimed at adults, governors and inspectors, I think.
The aim of the school was to allow complete freedom to children and teenagers, no adult authority, equal voting rights for teachers and pupils, the children were allowed to decide whether or not they wanted to attend lessons or not, teachers had relaxed lessons, children had no bedtimes set they were just free to do what they wanted when they wanted and how they wanted.
“Summer at 70? is represented as a very destructive and violent school, like the Panorama documentary “The Ridings School”. Pupils were allowed weapons guns, knives, and we were told there were darts being thrown around and we were shown kids making arrows with bits of twig and a penknife.
The pupils came from all parts of the world such as America and lots of different parts of Asia, but Matthew Appleton complained that the programme did not show the spread of nationalists. There were also lots of different types of lessons such as massage lessons and science lessons where they make bombs to test on the field.
The editors selected only bad images over a large period (one and a half term.) of time filming at the school.
Annual weekly meetings solved all problems that occurred but the video didn’t actually show any problems being solved which made us think that no problems were solved the camera didn’t show every meeting but I’m sure that some were, there would be at least one person of the meetings shown who would end up in tears. They constructed a meeting from lots of different ones, mostly all bad parts of the meetings. In the video they also showed a boy that was being bullied by another boy and I don’t think they showed all the meetings, only the worst parts of the meeting they were involved in. In the video they showed a girl who had about fourteen pounds worth of make up stolen, but the problem was never solved the meeting came up with the idea of searching the room of the girl accused. The only place of security is the padlocked chest. Their must have been at least had some good times but the film makers decided to edit them out. The show makers only choose to show scenes where conflict was present. The editors showed lots of people that were unhappy, ill and vulnerable children. The editors only focused on disturbed people and all the dangerous events that took place
Next I will discuss the Panorama documentary “The Ridings School” this school is like “Summer Hill at 70? has not been dramatised like the BBC drama “Hope and Glory.” “The Ridings School” has been represented as a school in desperate need of money and as a violent school, and has been dubbed “The worst school in England” the report that the school was closing down was made into national news not just local. All the interviews were done with a black background, which gave the effect that they had, no where too run and no where too hide they also had close ups of the face. They could have done it outside with all the trees and natural scenery, which would have been much better. Shots of the disrupted classrooms were done through a dark, gloomy window. The shot through the window showed teachers sitting down, kid fighting and things being thrown across the classrooms, which gave the effect that the pupils and teachers were being spied on, like someone who sees something going on in a house or somewhere they don’t want to be noticed if they were spotted what ever was going on might have stop.
The school was merged together through other schools so the teachers and pupils would have been rivals for a long time. The teachers of each subject would have been fighting to be head of the subject they teach. The pupils were fighting so they could solve their differences. Thirteen pupils were excluded after just four days. It was described as a “Bar room brawl.”
The G.C.S.E results were 1% A-C grades but the Q.E.H.S results were about 68 times more. 68% is well above the average of England, the film- makers didn’t have to say the average of the school but they did which made me think it was even worse a school than what I already thought.
There was a camera shot of the near by council estate there was a burnt out car in the shot as well, this estate was where most of the pupils lived and most pupils were on free school meals.
When the school was shut down, everyone who was in connection with the school blamed each other kids and parents were blamed, Chris Woodhead blamed the teachers and head blamed her-self.
The school was promised money, the teachers had their hopes up, the building needed immediate attention as ceiling’s and window frames were falling apart. They had a very painful wait waiting for the money that they were promised. And in the end they didn’t get the money that they were promised.
In one incident a girl was excluded for three months now and for several reasons but she wanted too go back because she wanted too do her G.C.S.E. the editors chose too show the scene with this girl pushing a pram in slow motion which gave the effect that she was all bad and that there was no good in her it also shows that she is shameful. But at the end of the video they do show a few pupils who do want to do their G.C.S.E
They also showed a shot of Halifax where this school was based it was shot when the sky was at it’s “ugliest”. Which gave the affect that this was the end, no more Ridings.
“Hope and Glory”, the BBC drama is represented as a school with lots of things that go on behind the staff room doors. The makers used the backdrop of a school because there are lots of problems with children and teachers problems behind the staff room door and people can relate to it. Because it is meant to entertain the school becomes a venue.
The show is aimed to entertain like a typical family Sunday night drama would do. The show is unrealistic it contains the head marrying a pupils mum, the P.E teacher was like a kid forgetting his books and plans for the day, there was kissing during break periods, it also shows good looking and glamorous teachers.
The makers didn’t show many classrooms with teachers actually teaching the pupils. It actually didn’t show many classrooms at all. Was never aiming to have a realistic view of schools.
The school was meant to be a school in special measures but unlike “The Ridings School” and “Summer Hill at 70” the pupils were much more well behaved and all the buildings were modern.
The programme also showed a scene where two teachers swapped lessons and a school inspector laughed it off. The corridors were empty, there was no sign of break time chaos’s. Which is very unrealistic
It showed a boy and a girl fighting which very unlikely and in one shot they showed an exam they had an overhead view of a girl going up which made her look vulnerable and small. There was hardly anyone in the assemblies. The comedy came from the caretaker who lost a boy hamster.
The last episode showed a teacher who was an alcoholic and had stress related problems, he held a class hostage as well as a teacher. Then another teacher saved the day, which is very unrealistic. The stressed teacher then delivered a speech on the school roof about all the worries and concerns that teachers generally have, out the mouth of a drunken man. The head was also on the roof he was going bluer and bluer as the drunken teacher was delivering his speech about the difficulties that teachers suffer.
All three programmes have been edited to suit the makers, point of view, to make viewers see things the way the makers see it. Or just to make things interesting for watchers of the programmes.
All three schools have been represented as schools with major problems but with different problems, “Summer Hill at 70” problems with pupils, The Panorama documentary “The Ridings School” the problem with money, “Hope and Glory” the problem with the staff behind the staff room doors. There are also many more problems, which have been represented
In this media studies course work I have learnt that everything that you see on television is not always one hundred percent true due too film editors. The media can influence in what we think and the media constructs a reality through representation.