Film ID: YFA 5721 Video of YFA_5721 Baking Day 1965 BAKING DAY 1965 Visitor TabsDescription This is a film Doug and Norah Brear of Wakefield Cine Club, which shows a class of infants learning maths and literacy though baking buns and having a party. Title – Baking Day Infant children are playing in a school classroom. As a commentary states, a child coming home from their first day at school will say that they have been playing. But that this film will show that although children appear to be only playing, they are in fact also learning and finding things out for themselves. And that if they are unable to do something for themselves someone else will help. The teacher checks the hands of the children before they start baking buns, with some of the children washing their hands. The go through the whole process of measuring, weighing, shifting flower and mixing the ingredients, with the commentary explaining that the children are learning about all these things as they go along, including manual dexterity. While waiting for the buns to bake, the children make fancy plate mats, while the teacher writes the ingredients on the blackboard. They then copy from the blackboard a short sentence about the day’s activities. The buns are taken out of the oven and the shop keeper takes over, and they buy the buns, using real money, pennies and threepenny bits. At the end of the day the go outside into the playground, and organise for themselves a party. Jeremy counts everyone, and children make squash drinks and hand out the cakes. The commentary explains that the children have had a reading lesson, a writing lesson and a number lesson. In addition, they have learnt something about working together and doing things for other people, although they only see it as playing. The End Context The progressiveness of the 1960s finds its way into the classroom of a Wakefield infants’ school. Amateur filmmakers Doug and Norah Brear have made an excellent documentary of five year olds baking themselves some cakes and organising a party, with the teacher making it also into a maths and literacy lesson. In the process the Brears extoll the virtues of practical learning, of children discovering things for themselves, and working in co-operation with others. Doug and Norah Brear of Wakefield made over 60 films between 1960 and 1985. The ideas exemplified in this film were already mainstream since the Hadow Report on Infant and Nursery Schools of 1933. Here, already, can be found the ideas of children self-learning, activity- based learning, having freedom to discover, and the importance of collaborative work. All incorporated into the 1967 Plowden Report on Children and their Primary Schools. Yet this was also influenced by Cyril Burt and Percy Nunn and their ideas of hereditary intelligence. Hence the 1959 Ministry of Education handbook on Primary Education saw primary schools as a 'sorting, classifying, selective mechanism', i.e. streaming for the 11 Plus.