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Episode 3

Episode 3 of 6

Following pupils, teachers, parents and school leaders across an academic year. The pressure on Marlwood School increases when Ofsted announces an inspection in two days.

Documentary series following the intimately connected experiences of pupils, teachers, parents and school leaders across an academic year, in all their complexity.

More public money is being spent on education than ever before, but financial pressures and the number of teachers quitting the profession continue to rise. The series unpicks the connections between key decisions and their human impact, right across the system. At stake is the future of Britain's next generation - what should we expect of our teachers, our children and ourselves?

At Marlwood School, the Education Trust's chief executive Will Roberts is confronted by a parent who is angry that her child is being taught maths by a member of the PE department. The school not only faces a national shortage of certain specialist teachers but their own recruitment challenges too. Marlwood has been put into special measures by the government's education inspectors, Ofsted. Applications for new teaching posts at the school are at an all-time low, with no applicants for some subjects. Marlwood is forced to rely on supply staff and teachers on temporary contracts and with increasing funding issues the head teacher has few options but to consider raising class sizes.

The pressure increases on staff and pupils when Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, announces that it will be conducting a monitoring inspection in two days' time. Labelled inadequate by Ofsted in July 2017, this is Marlwood's chance to demonstrate it is making the changes needed to turn the school around. A poor inspection is potentially disastrous, as the school seeks to prove its progress to the local community and attract enough students to maintain a workable budget. With unprecedented access to the leader of the Ofsted team and the teachers facing scrutiny, this film documents the deeply personal fallout of a school in special measures and the consequences of an inspection that could decide the long term future of the school and those working within it.

School is a co-production with the Open University.

School is set in three secondary schools: Marlwood, The Castle and Mangotsfield. Together they form part of Castle School Education Trust (CSET), a large multi-academy trust in south Gloucestershire, where their budgets and fortunes are intertwined. Each of the head teachers answers to trust CEO William Roberts, who retrained to be a teacher after starting his career at a multinational corporation. Two thirds of all secondary state schools in England have academy status. Academies are funded and managed independently of Local Education Authorities and are increasingly grouping together to form multi-academy trusts (MATs), each managed by a single board of directors and CEO. The number of MATs in England has tripled in the past five years.

59 minutes

Last on

Thu 13 Dec 2018 00:30


Role Contributor
Executive Producer Lorraine Charker-Phillips
Executive Producer Simon Dickson
Series Editor Hamish Fergusson
Series Producer Beatrice Smith
Director Tim Lawton
Production Company Label1 Television Ltd


  • Tue 20 Nov 2018 21:00
  • Tue 20 Nov 2018 23:15
  • Thu 13 Dec 2018 00:30