Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Programme Information

BBC TWO Friday 10 September 2010
www.bbc.co.uk/bbctwo

SCHOOL SEASON
Gareth Malone's Extraordinary School For Boys Ep 1/3

New series
Thursday 9 September
9.00-10.00pm BBC TWO
Gareth Malone takes on one of his biggest challenges
Gareth Malone takes on one of his biggest challenges

In an ambitious new series, Gareth Malone turns educator for a term. His mission is to re-engage the boys who aren't fulfilling their potential at their school and who, like many across Britain, lag behind their female peers.

His method is to bring risk, competition and adventure to the classroom. Known for his previous successes as a choirmaster in The Choir and Gareth Goes To Glyndebourne, the move to a school classroom is a new challenge for him.

In tonight's first episode, Gareth joins the staff at a primary school in Essex, an ordinary school where there's a gap between the achievements of boys and girls.

Working with the boys in the top two years of the school, aged between nine and 11, Gareth discovers that they'd do anything rather than sit through a literacy lesson. His antidote is a fresh approach to learning, tailor-made for boys, which brings physical exercise, outdoor lessons and competition to the fore.

The new approach gets the boys excited about being in school, but can Gareth also get them to learn? His initial challenge is to try to improve their speaking skills, which he attempts to do by staging a boys-versus-girls debate.

A formal debate competition is unfamiliar territory for the boys. Now it's a question of whether they will rise to the challenge.

This series is part of BBC Two's School Season – a range of programming, on air throughout September, encompassing documentary, drama and debate, with additional information at bbc.co.uk/schoolseason. This major season on education focuses on schools and the tough choices parents have to make.

KA

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SCHOOL SEASON
The Big School Lottery – The Choice Ep 1/3

New series
Tuesday 7 September
9.00-10.00pm BBC TWO
Julie Newbold, Head of Admissions and Appeals at Birmingham Education Authority
Julie Newbold, Head of Admissions and Appeals at Birmingham Education Authority

This revelatory year-long journey follows children, parents, schools and Birmingham Education Authority through the often-fraught process of selecting a child's secondary school.

With unprecedented and exclusive access, the series follows Birmingham Education Authority – the largest in Europe – as it allocates school places, and several children and their parents as they go through the process and make the move from primary to secondary school.

This is an intimate and revealing account of modern Britain, bringing to the fore a better understanding of the complexity of administering a system that has to balance all the choices and find school places for 15,000 children this year.

In the White family, Thomas would like to attend a more ethnically mixed school so he doesn't stand out as much; Saffiyah Khan trains two hours each day to try to get into the best grammar school; Simone Vassel is desperate to avoid her son, Jamiah, attending a school where she fears there may be gangs; Ethan Clamp's mum, Alison, knows he would be certain to get into a school with great sport facilities if only he lived a couple of hundred metres closer to it; and Phoebe McHale lives in Sutton Coldfield and is spoiled for choice with her excellent-rated local state comprehensive schools.

Cameras follow their hopes and dreams as they confront the reality of choice in education and make their selections, listing six schools in order of preference, but knowing they may not get their first choice ... with a tense six-month wait to find out.

Julie Newbold is Head of Admissions and Appeals at Birmingham Education Authority. She has the job of managing all these choices and seeking out those who she thinks might not be playing by the rules.

It is a difficult job and, with fierce competition for Birmingham's best comprehensives, some parents will do anything to get their child in. Julie is dedicated to allocating places fairly, so can be found knocking on doors early in the morning to ensure parents are telling the truth about their address.

Part two can be seen tomorrow (Thursday 9 September) and the series concludes with a documentary special later in the month, filmed as term starts and using multiple cameras to follow the children's first day as they enter their big school for the first time.

This series is part of BBC Two's School Season – a range of programming on air throughout September encompassing documentary, drama and debate. This major season on education focuses on Britain's schools, the tough choices parents have to make and whether people could do better. More information can be found on the dedicated website at bbc.co.uk/schoolseason.

KA

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SCHOOL SEASON
The Big School Lottery – The Decision Ep 2/3

Wednesday 8 September
9.00-10.00pm BBC TWO

BBC Two continues to offer an insight into one of the most important and stressful decisions a family can make – which secondary school to send their child to. Following several children and their parents through the process, the series also has unprecedented access to the work of Birmingham Education Authority, the largest in Europe, as it allocates its school places.

Having made their preferred six choices of school, there is a six-month wait before parents and pupils discover their fate. Julie Newbold, Head of Admissions and Appeals at Birmingham Education Authority, handles all the school preferences via a computer algorithm which creates the results in just a few minutes – 90,000 preferences from 15,000 children are entered and one school for each child is offered.

On national offers day cameras capture the families' reactions as they discover the verdict.

Sports-mad Ethan, who lives only streets away from his dream comprehensive, is stunned to be given his fourth choice. After an agonising wait for their daughter to finish her school day till they can open the letter, Saffiyah's parents finally discover that their year of hard work giving extra tuition has been worth it as she gains a place at the grammar school they wanted.

Thomas is elated to learn he's got into a comprehensive that is more ethnically mixed so he'll no longer stand out. The film also introduces Miles, who is thrilled to learn he's got his first choice where he can pursue his love of art and drama.

Harry is undecided even though he's made it into the best grammar school in Birmingham. And Mohsin and his family, who would have done anything to get him into Harry's school, are disappointed he's only got his fourth choice.

Jamiah's mum, Simone, is crushed when she finds out he has been given the school at the top of his selection – having changed her mind at the last minute, she now wants his second choice. And Phoebe gets her first choice and her dream of walking to school is now a reality.

For Julie and her team, the weeks that follow offers day are spent fielding thousands of calls from parents unhappy with their allocation, with an expected 700 appeals to be heard through the summer.

The series concludes with a documentary special later in the month, filmed as term starts and using multiple cameras to follow the children's first day as they enter their big school for the first time.

This series is part of BBC Two's School Season – a range of programming on air throughout September encompassing documentary, drama and debate. This major season on education focuses on Britain's schools, the tough choices parents have to make and whether people could do better. More information can be found on the dedicated website at bbc.co.uk/schoolseason.

KA

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BBC THREE Unplaced
www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree

Him And Her – The Toast Ep 1/6

New series
Monday 6 September
10.30-11.00pm BBC THREE

Sarah Solemani and Russell Tovey star in Him And Her, a new comedy for BBC Three
Sarah Solemani and Russell Tovey star in Him And Her, a new comedy for BBC Three

Stefan Golaszewski's new six-part comedy for BBC Three reveals the hilarious and often shocking truth of what really goes on behind the bedroom doors of today's 20-somethings.

Russell Tovey plays Steve, a laddish, unemployed man with no dreams or goals, who survives on benefits; he has no apparent interest in any issues wider than eating, sleeping, drinking and having sex. Sarah Solemani plays Becky, his unemployed ladette girlfriend, who is able to see straight through Steve, though sometimes completely unable to understand the weird self-obsession of men.

In the first episode, Steve and Becky are doing their usual thing – staying in bed and just about to have sex.

Their plans are scuppered, however, when Laura turns up panicking because her fiancé, Paul, has stayed out all night. Steve just wants Laura to leave but has to cover for Paul ... and neighbour Dan wants to get melons and eat them with spoons.

This acutely observed, forensically honest, warts-and-all comedy looks at a working-class couple in their mid-twenties and the minutiae of their relationship. The hub of Him And Her is the couple's unmade bed and their rather-too-lived-in bedsit.

Russell Tovey plays Steve, Sarah Solemani plays Becky, Kerry Howard plays Laura, Ricky Champ plays Paul and Joe Wilkinson plays Dan.

RC

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