Educating the East End
About the Show
Playground high jinks, inspirational lessons and life-changing friendships and events, from Frederick Bremer School in East London
Series 1 Summary
Educating the East End captures every detail of life at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow, East London, from playground high jinks and inspirational lessons to life-changing friendships and events. The series follows the work of Head Teacher Jenny Smith, as she employs her vision and drive to lift the academic achievements at the school and the ambition of her students.
From Year 7 to Year 11, and from newly qualified teachers to old-hands, the series reveals what it's like to learn and teach in a hugely diverse school. Told with heart, honesty and humour, it celebrates the universally identifiable themes of adolescence and those pivotal pupil-teacher relationships that shape everyone's teenage years.
To kick off the series, viewers are introduced to new Head Teacher Jenny Smith, her stellar team of staff and some lively kids. The school's newest teacher, Mr Bispham, soon learns that teaching isn't always plain sailing, especially when it comes to educating Year 9 girls.
Tawny, one of the most vocal Year 9s, is focused on winning a place at the prestigious BRIT school for Performing Arts & Technology. Unfortunately, she's competing for a coveted place with her best friend Alice.
Being a teenager is hard enough, but 14-year-old Acacia has other things on her mind. With her mum sick in hospital it's up to the staff at Frederick Bremer to help her through.
This time at Frederick Bremer School in East London it's all about the boys, and Head Teacher Jenny Smith is determined to set two strong-minded pupils from either end of the school off on the right path.
Halil reckons he is the coolest kid in the school, and at 13 years old he likes the idea of being a bit of a player in the corridors. Despite his infectious laugh and loveable cheeky chappy persona, Halil finds it hard to stay out of trouble.
Lemar doesn't like the stereotype of London teenagers hanging around on the streets in big groups with their hoods up. It's pointless, a waste of time - plus, as it's England, it will undoubtedly be cold! His main ambition in life is to make it as a professional footballer, but staff are working hard to ensure he has other options available.
It's down to the school disciplinarians - Deputy Head Emma Hillman and Assistant Head Alex Palombo - to keep the boys on the right track, but when Halil keeps playing up, it looks as though they may have their work cut out...
Election fever hits Frederick Bremer School as the pupils get on the campaign trail before casting their votes for Head Boy and Head Girl.
Current Head Girl Maliaka isn't your conventional Head Girl. She isn't the best student in the school, she doesn't have the best disciplinary record and she struggles to abide by the school's dress code.
Many of the teaching staff describe her as a 'rough diamond'. Maliaka is bright, bubbly and enthusiastic, and, importantly, the younger pupils look up to her and follow her lead. Now her headgirlship is drawing to a close and it's time to find her successor.
Election fever is running high. There are posters, election videos and canvassing for votes, for a range of candidates offering very different qualities.
Will the students vote for confident, outgoing candidates Dike and Rashidah, or will self-confessed geek Sheneil and relatively unknown Joshua triumph?
Being a head teacher often keeps Ms Smith awake at night. She has 900 pupils in her care and feels responsible for every one of them.
Some of the students' family dramas can impact on school life, and in this episode, alongside Ms Smith, English teacher Mr Bispham and deputy head Miss Hillman have to find a multitude of ways of engaging with the kids to help them leave their sometimes unsettling troubles at the gates.
The programme also meets Hazel, an East-Ender born and bred, and a non-teaching pastoral support worker at Frederick Bremer. She's the first port of call when kids are sent out of the classroom, and can be found patrolling the corridor, walkie-talkie in hand, often notching up as many as five miles a day.
She was excluded from her own school when she was younger and talks to the pupils in an open and honest manner; and in return the pupils respond to her. Her own experience of a personal family tragedy means she feels particularly close to those hard-to-reach students she works with.
This episode meets three boys at different stages of their school life. Twelve-year-old Louie has just started secondary school at Frederick Bremer; he struggles to make friends and starts to bunk off.
With his attendance record steadily getting worse, it's time for home support worker Emma Austin to step in. She's a pastoral care worker who's always available as an emotional crutch for the students.
Devonté, who's also 12, is another of Mrs Austin's charges. He loves rap music and is constantly found playing songs through his phone in lesson time and rapping at inappropriate moments.
Due to his responsibilities at home, helping to care for his mother, Devonté relaxes at school instead, and often gets into trouble.
Charlie, who's 16, is one of the top students in his year group, but the pressure of exams is resulting in panic attacks. He finds that playing music helps him relax.
His band are going to play at the school concert, but will he get over his nerves and manage to perform on stage in front of 200 other pupils?
GCSEs are looming and the pressure is on for Year 11. But the girls in particular have other things playing on their minds: friendships, the prom, and, most prominently, boys.
Paige is one of the most popular girls in school; she and her group are some of the most well-known students. Paige, Georgia and Yasmine are loud and confident, and when you walk into a room you know that they are there.
The younger girls look up to them, the boys have crushes on them, they're set to do well in their GCSEs, and from the outside they seem to have it all.
But with the pressure building in the run-up to exams, cracks start to show in their friendship and threaten to derail everything they've been working towards.
GCSEs are fast approaching, and motivating the students to revise for exams is always a tall order for teachers, but there are two boys in particular at Frederick Bremer who urgently need to knuckle down.
Paris and Oscar, two very different Year 11 boys, are both at risk of failing to reach their potential. Can the teachers find out what's getting in the way of their studying?
The school year is drawing to a close. The staff at Frederick Bremer are preparing the students for life beyond the school gates, ensuring that they have the confidence to move on to pastures new.
This heart-warming episode explores the autism provision, meeting a team who help to create a diverse school community and work hard to ensure that their pupils are ready for life beyond the classroom.
Year 10 student Christopher is one of a handful of students at Frederick Bremer on the autism spectrum. He is constantly smiling and passing on his motto 'keep positive'.
Home support worker Mrs Austin defines the impact he has on the school perfectly: 'everyone needs a spoonful of Christopher.'
Educating the East End synopsis
Playground high jinks, inspirational lessons and life-changing friendships and events, from Frederick Bremer School in East LondonEpisode Guide >
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The school year is drawing to a close. The staff at Frederick Bremer are preparing the students for life beyond the school gates, ensuring that they have the…