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Britain's Secondary Modern Schools

Reel History of Britain Episode 15 of 20

Melvyn Bragg, accompanied by a vintage mobile cinema, travels across the country, to show incredible footage preserved by the British Film Institute and other national and regional film archives, and tell the history of modern Britain.

This episode comes from the Francis Combe Academy in Watford and looks back to the 1960s, a time when passing or failing an exam - the eleven-plus - could map out a child's future.

Former Francis Combe pupil Bernie Batchelor comes face-to-face with his mischievous 12-year-old former self; former TV presenter Marylyn Mason explains how failing the eleven-plus drove her to work harder in later life, and pioneering film-maker John Krish, who made a documentary about this very school back in 1962, shares his memories of filming at the school.

Release date:

29 minutes

Last on

Wed 1 Mar 2017 19:30


Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Series ProducerDympna Jackson
Executive ProducerRuth Pitt