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A warm and humorous exploration of what it's like to grow up or work in a secondary school in the heart of a diverse northern community

About the Show

A warm and humorous exploration of what it's like to grow up or work in a secondary school in the heart of a diverse northern community

  • Educating Yorkshire: One Year On

    Educating Yorkshire: One Year On

    This special programme revisits the Thornhill teachers and students one year after they made such an impact on the nation, and follows a selection of the students on results day as they find out how they did in their GCSEs.

    A lot can happen in a year, particularly when you're a teenager. Where are the teachers and students now? Musharaf stole the hearts of the nation in 2013 by overcoming his stammer. Now that he's at college, is he on track to fulfil his ambition to become a teacher?

    Sheridan is learning to drive and is finally hoping to get that elusive grade C in Maths, having re-sat the exam a year after leaving Thornhill. Chatterbox Robbie Joe and latte-loving Ryan continue to make their mark at school.

    The documentary also catches up with head teacher Mr Mitchell and his influential staff, including Mr Burton and Mr Steer, as they prepare for the end of the school year and those important GCSE results.

  • Episode 8

    It's the final months of school and the Year 11 students are preparing for life beyond Thornhill.

    English teacher Mr Burton is one of a kind. He's an Assistant Head at just 30 years old, and music, fancy-dress and jumping on tables are all part of his teacher's toolkit. This year, he has his most challenging C/D borderline class so far, and two of his students pose very different challenges.

    Musharaf has a severe stammer, and anxiety about leaving Thornhill seems to have made it worse. As Musharaf prepares for his GCSE English oral exam, Mr Burton is prepared to try any tactic, no matter how unusual, to help improve his fluency.

    Meanwhile, Hannah would be capable of A grades, were it not for her aversion to staying in class. The school staff are concerned about her not achieving her potential, and wish she'd devote more energy to staying in lessons than finding excuses to escape them.

    Can Mr Burton's unique teaching style help his students make the grade?

  • Episode 7

    This episode demonstrates the lengths to which a school will go to keep a student in mainstream education. From the top down, from the head teacher to deputies, teachers and inclusion workers, the staff at Thornhill pull together to get the very best from their pupils.

    One such student is 13-year-old Jack, who is in Year 9 and full of contradictions. Angry but sensitive; threatening to lash out one minute, and hitting the high notes in the school choir the next.

    He's a boy with a big heart and sense of humour but a short memory when it comes to promises to turn around his behaviour.

    Despite his tendency to be disruptive in lessons, Jack has an enduring love for history and is hoping to take it as a GCSE, which may be difficult if he doesn't improve.

    As Jack's behaviour continues to slide, the staff are worried that, despite their best efforts, he may become Mr Mitchell's first ever permanent exclusion.

    Will Thornhill's committed team and Jack's fierce desire to change his ways be enough to keep him at the Academy?

  • Episode 6

    Exams are approaching at Thornhill and it's not just the students that are feeling the pressure. From highly experienced deputy head Mr Steer to newly qualified teachers, everyone is feeling the demands of the school's ever increasing targets.

    Mr Steer is in charge of the school's attainment and, as a rapidly improving academy, it's crucial that he makes sure that results are the very best they can be.

    Mr Steer is also a star maths teacher and this year he has a particularly tough challenge as he takes on a group of girls more interested in hair, make-up and parties than algebra and trigonometry.

    They're achieving U grades when he takes them on, and he's determined to get them that crucial C in maths that will ensure them places in college.

    Pretty and popular Sheridan, who's at the heart of the group, proudly tells her friends 'I love maths me; I'm just shit at it.'

    But while concentrating in maths is a real problem, it's nothing compared to how she behaves in geography. New teacher Miss Stephens, who's 24, is tasked with getting Sheridan through her geography GCSE, but engaging Sheridan in academic debate around the European Union is not easy.

    As the clock ticks down to the all-important exams, and stress levels soar, Mr Steer pushes himself to the limit...

  • Episode 5

    Everything changes in Year 9. It's full of hormonal 13-year-olds and is a critical academic turning point as the students choose their options for GCSE.

    It's a year when Thornhill's students, hopefully, do some dramatic growing up but it's also the year with the worst behaviour record in the school.

    Tasked with guiding his students through a perfect storm of adolescent pressures is Head of Year Mr Moses: an unlikely pacifier of teenage angst.

    His job, as a pastoral leader, is to keep every Year 9 student on the straight and narrow. This year, one student proves particularly testing and strikes a chord with Mr Moses.

    Meanwhile, not all is complete in the Head of Year's own life: Mr Moses is looking for love.

  • Episode 4

    This episode presents the unlikely friendship of Hadiqa and Safiyyah. As headteacher Mr Mitchell says, these are the last two children that you'd expect to be best mates.

    Irrepressibly chatty Safiyyah punctuates every sentence with 'innit'. She dreams of becoming an air hostess, while gifted student Hadiqa has her sights set on becoming prime minister.

    As pastoral year leader Mrs Crowther knows only too well, close friendships mean everything when you're a teenager.

    But as exams approach, a crisis in Hadiqa and Safiyyah's friendship threatens to derail the girls academically and cause major upset.

  • Episode 3

    This episode focuses on two strikingly similar boys: one nearing his final year and another who's starting out at secondary school. Both are exploding with energy and charm but, to their teachers' frustration, neither of them is particularly interested in learning.

    As Year 10 student Tom approaches his GCSEs, his failure to settle down is starting to cause concern. And although Year 7 Robbie-Joe's constant chatter seems harmless (and is often hilarious) his teachers are worried it's a sign of more serious things to come.

    The programme follows the school in their attempts to channel Tom and Robbie-Joe's boundless energies in the right direction, revealing how a chance, life-changing event radically alters the course of Tom's year and watching as the school do all they can to intervene early with Robbie-Joe.

    Ultimately, this is a film about two inspirational teachers guiding two lively lads through some of the toughest times they will face at school.

  • Episode 2

    Groups, cliques, tribes; call them what you like, they have always been at the centre of school life.

    This programme follows the fallout from a chance clash between the queen bee of the 'cool group' and a member of the quieter crowd.

    In their quest to prepare every student for life beyond the school gates, Headteacher Mr Mitchell and his team are left with difficult decisions about who needs to be dealt with and how.

    The students anxiously wait to learn their fates - for one, this means seeing if she will suffer the ultimate punishment of not being allowed to go to the end of school prom.

  • Episode 1

    Located at the heart of a diverse northern community, and with a student population that is almost exactly half white-British and half British-Asian, Thornhill Academy near Dewsbury offers a fascinating insight into modern school life in the UK.

    This episode follows new headteacher Mr Mitchell on his mission to improve the school's fortunes. He's 18 months into his first ever headship and wants to revolutionise the school's ethos, results and reputation. But every day his vision is challenged by the trickiest of adversaries: teenagers.

    Alongside more typical problems such as habitual smokers and snowball fights, Mr Mitchell and his team have to deal with a more sensitive issue, as allegations of racist name calling are brought to his attention, and Mr Mitchell is torn between dealing with troublesome teens and fulfilling his plans for the school.

Educating Yorkshire synopsis

A warm and humorous exploration of what it's like to grow up or work in a secondary school in the heart of a diverse northern community

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