Education | 1940 | Sound | B/W
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Parent and teachers Association 1940's
This film is in the form of a play in which the main actors take the parts of a father and mother and their two children. We see changing attitudes towards education with its modern methods and the relationship between parents and the school, which is so beneficial to the children.
Father is in his office outside Mansion House Underground Station in London. It is the end of the day. The secretary leaves and a colleague invites Father to join him and other friends for a drink at the ‘Local’ before he goes home. Father declines. He must get home because it is his little daughter’s birthday and she will be very disappointed if he misses the party. “You family men don’t have much of a time, do you – going home every night,” the colleague replies.
Father thinks about this remark on the train home. At one time he would have agreed, and he thinks back to the scene some time ago when he was, as many like him were, a stranger to his own children.
He thinks back and we now see the family group around the breakfast table. Father asks David what he expects to be doing at school today. David doesn’t answer. Mother asks if he has lost his tongue. David mumbles something about sums and ‘messing about’. So Father turns to Marion and asks her what she will be doing. Again, not a very positive response. “Dear me,” says Father, “I hope your teachers get more out of you than I can,” and on the train to work he worries. The children seem to like their school and are getting on well but he never knows really what they get up to.
Still as a flashback we see David climbing over a wall to kick a football about with friends. He stumbles and grazes his knee slightly then runs home. He is late for tea and Mother is not pleased. He is sent off to wash his cut.
Tea is over and Mother clears the table. David would like to go and play with his friend again but Mother says he must write a thank you letter to his aunt and, in any case, if he goes out again he will only fall over and cut his head open or something.
Marion would like Mother to read her a story but she is too busy. Will David play with her? No, she is too young. So she goes back to her doll.
When Mother has gone to wash up, Bob from next door appears at the window and entices David out. The two boys run to the woods and climb a tree.
Meanwhile Marion spots her mother’s sewing box and finds some scissors with which she cuts across a cushion.
David and Bob are whittling a stick. Now we see them lighting a fire in the wood where a notice warns that trespassers will be prosecuted. Suddenly they hear a bang and look around to see the gamekeeper. They run, but then remember the fire and come back to stamp it out.
There is trouble when Father finds out. He explains that Mother was worried. David apologises and explains that the reason he ran off was that it was better than having to stay in and write to his aunt. Father says that he will help him with the letter tomorrow. He then notices the cushion which Marion has cut.
On the train again, Father thinks. They are not bad children but they are always getting up to mischief. They have a good home, they seem to enjoy school and they are doing well, but could there be something wrong at school?
Mother decides to go to see the headmistress. A very small child comes in with a cup of tea. The headmistress wonders if Marion could be rather lonely. Running a home is a full time job. Children can feel left out and feel they must do things to get their own back. Mother wonders what she can do about it. The headmistress thinks that she should be given something to do, as they do at school.
Now we are taken on a tour of the school where groups of children can be seen reading,
“learning because they want to”, painting, building with wooden bricks, playing with quoits, putting place names on a map, weighing with the maths master, pretending to buy tickets at a station, reading the railway timetable, going to a shop and conducting and playing in a percussion band. Outside, groups are drawing trees, sitting in a circle, drawing and measuring chalk squares, skipping, jumping over hoops and turning somersaults.
Mother goes home and tells Father what she has seen. He then goes to the school to see for himself. They decide to try some of these ideas at home.
Marion, aged six, is sent out to do some shopping. She memorises the three things she is to buy from the grocer, takes a shopping basket, crosses a busy road with the help of a policeman and asks the shopkeeper for the items she wants. She pays, asks for change and then returns.
David is seen doing some gardening at home. Father joins him and asks whether he has learnt anything at school today. “Yes, we have been doing America,” David replies. Father says that he has been to America and he brings a photo album to show to David.
Mother arrives with a letter from the school. They are forming a parent/teacher association. Should they go, but they will have to find someone to look after the children. “And I shall miss ITMA” (a popular radio programme at the time with Tommy Handley), Father jokes.
Father and Mother enjoy the meeting. They sit at small tables for a cup of tea (and a cigarette in some cases) with other parents and teachers. The meetings are to be held every month. One teacher tells them how fortunate the children are at this school as compared with others at which he has taught. There the children were in overcrowded old buildings, there was no space in the playground and there was even one classroom in which two classes had to be taught together, different subjects being taught by two teachers at the same time. There were dim gaslights and formal classes were taken with children sitting in rows with no practical work being possible because of the overcrowding.
The teacher goes on to say that children need as much individual attention in school as they do in the home. All schools must become as good as this one and only then can we afford to sit back. There is a long way to go.
Now we return to the original scene at the beginning of the film. Father is on the train
and reflects that school must be a partnership between teachers and parents.
He arrives home and Marion’s party is in full swing. He gives her the birthday present. “You don’t know how lucky you two are. It’s a 50/50 job – a sort of partnership.”
To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 9246.