As the autumn term hits its stride two very different schools are the focus of fly-on-the-wall TV documentaries this week.
The first is Thornhill Community Academy near Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, which features in Channel 4’s eight-part Educating Yorkshire.
The series, which begins at 9pm tonight (Thursday, September 5), captures every detail of life at the school, from inspirational lessons to life-changing events.
It also follows the work of headteacher Jonny Mitchell, who was born and brought up in Dewsbury, as he strives to drive up standards and build on successive years of improving exam results.
Asked why he decided to take part in the project, Mr Mitchell said: “I thought the school had an awful lot to shout about – and that it was on an upward trajectory. I thought we could present ourselves as a really positive role-model for others in education and outside.
“The other reason was our location. Dewsbury has suffered quite a lot in the last 10 or 15 years with some adverse press. I thought this was an opportunity for us to show the positive side of the town as well. And the third reason is – I think the kids are brilliant. I think they deserve to experience something a little bit different.”
The other school in the TV spotlight is Harrow School, the all-boys’ boarding school in Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex.
The £33,000 a year school, which boasts Lord Byron, Sir Winston Churchill and actor Benedict Cumberbatch among its former pupils, agreed to let TV cameras film staff and students during the 2012/13 academic year.
The resulting eight-part series, Harrow: A Very British School, began on Sky 1 last night (Wednesday, September 4). It focused on West Acre, one of the school’s boarding houses, and showed new boys attending a welcome speech from head Jim Hawkins, learning Harrow’s quirky slang and wearing the school’s famous straw boaters. Inside schools: Thornhill Community Academy (top) and Harrow School (above) are to star in two new TV documentaries