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A 20–minute screen guide to the British education system, Child and School wouldn’t have been widely seen in Britain in its time. It was produced instead as part of an ongoing programme of films, commissioned by the Foreign Office through the Central Office of Information, to introduce postwar British life to viewers overseas.
The film takes us from nurseries through primary and secondary schools to university. It concentrates, though, on the primary years: the most visually appealing and the easiest to film (with their large classrooms and long periods). The filmmaking, by one of Britain’s busiest documentary production companies, World Wide Pictures, is professional rather than inspired, though it has plenty of elegant camera placements and pleasing moments.
As a (somewhat rose–tinted) snapshot of the features of British education at the start of the 1960s, Child and School is hard to beat. The new decade, though, would bring many changes; had a similar film been made in 1970 it would have felt very different.
Cast & Credits