Film ID:
YFA 1971



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This film is a record of activities of the students and facility at the Joseph Rowntree Senior in New Earswick, located just outside of York.  The film was made by the head master of the school, Mr Lightowler, and highlights the various aspects of this Secondary Modern School.

The film opens with the title – Just North of ancient York – romantic and lovely setting for much of England’s History – stands a 20th Century village.

There are many views of York and the Minster taken from the city walls near the railway station.  The hills leading up to the walls are covered with daffodils in full bloom.  A red double-decker bus, number 10, goes to New Earswick from the railway station via St. Leonard’s Place and Gillygate.  A few pedestrians can be seen waiting to cross at the intersection including a man in military uniform.  A map labelled North Riding of Yorkshire, shows the route to New Earswick.  Also labelled on the map are York and the Ouse and Foss rivers. 

The bus arrives in the village, and an elderly man disembarks from the bus.  He makes his way through a house and out to the back garden where he sits down with a woman and two children and begins to show them his book.  The front cover reads:  The Joseph Rowntree Senior School – New Earswick (York).  There is a brief view of the school, and the man turns the pages.

Title – open the 7th July 1942 by the Rt. Hon. R.A. Butler M.P..  President of the Board of Education and dedicated by His Grace the Archbishop of York.

Title – Chairman of the Governors Joseph Stephenson Rowntree
 Headmaster Edward Lightowler
Both these titles are accompanied of shots of these men.

Title – The School accommodates the older children of the village and of the surrounding countryside
There are views of the surrounding countryside as well as the Sand Hutton Post Office.  A wood-panelled car also pulls up to the main gate of the school.

Title – But from large village and tiny hamlet, on cycles, on foot, and by special buses, children over the age of eleven converge each morning on the Joseph Rowntree School.
There is a map showing the various routes the children journey to come to the school, and once they are there, some of them are in the playing field before classes begin.  A clock tower shows 8:50am, and many cars and buses full of children pull up to the school.

Title – The children’s outdoor activities reflect the rural background
Children are in the vegetable gardens working with shovels, and one boy carries a large cabbage.  In the large greenhouse, a few of the students pick and eat tomatoes off the vine.

Title – Father keeps livestock…
Brief shot of cows.

Title - … and his children have livestock at school.
The students play with some of the rabbits kept in the hutch, admire the many pigs in the pigpen, and watch the ducks and turkeys that roam the fields.

Title – In growing feeding stuffs boys learn to use and maintain mechanical appliances.
A boy is seen using a mower for hay while others gather the clippings into bunches. 

Title - The work of the parent is reflected again in the activities of his child.
A man on a tractor ploughs his field, and a child is using a mechanical push plough.  There is also a comparison with a man in a field using a horse-drawn grass cutter and students with a small motorized lawnmower. 

Title – Father brought his truck, but the School built its own from a wrecked car.
A few of the male students are looking at the engine with their teacher who then turns the crank to start the car.  The boys are standing in the back as the car drives away to the field.  Once there, they fill the flatbed at the back of the truck with dirt from the field.

Title – Some boys drive quite well.
Title – Some don’t!
There are brief scenes of two different boys driving the car, one quite skilfully, and the other not as well.

Title – “Now was there made, fast by the school's wall, A garden fair”
The film shows the gardens and flowers around the school walls, and the headmaster walks the grounds as well.  Some of the students are running around, and a few of the girls cut flowers for bouquets. They then carry them inside to make into lovely flower arrangements. 

Title – Closely linked with the work of the garden is that of the laboratory.
Bees are kept on the grounds, and a teacher and a few of the students take a honey comb out to examine the bees.  Inside the laboratory, students are conducting experiments.  They are testing various soils and plotting the results on a poster.

Title – The countryside, too, provides lessons in abundance.
A tame owl is handled by a boy who gives it a dead mouse.  Along the riverbank, a few boys catch fish in a jam jar and examine samples of the water under a microscope back in the lab.  Some of the girl students also study butterflies and other elements of botany. 

Title – The wonders of electricity receive their share of attention.
A girl repairs an iron, and another student makes a light.  Many of the students conduct electrical experiments involving magnets, wires, and cables.

Title – Most children are fascinated by the mechanical things.
In a lesson, a teacher is gathered with his students around a working model of a steam engine.  The children can also be seen sitting at their desk with open books.

Title – Through Domestic Science the home, garden, and laboratory are linked.

Title – While some girls cook, others wash, or preserve fruit.  All girls work from individual cards.
The female students are in class, all in hats and aprons, some measuring out ingredient quantities for different recipes and others washing the laundry.  The girls make biscuits, pies, and jar fruit to be preserved.

Title – Meanwhile, in the practice flat occupied by two members of the staff, girls in their final year are learning the art of home-making.
Girls make the beds in the room, clean and dust, decorate the rooms with flower arrangements, and are responsible for bringing tea into the lounge.

Title – Art and Craft offer to every child an opportunity for creative work.
Students are at their desks in art class, all drawing and painting.  The film shows their works of art from over the tops of their shoulders. 

Title – Art, Craft, and History combine in a piece of research.  A survey is made of the district.
Outside the local church, the students are sketching different aspects of its architecture.  The class walks around the remainder of the church grounds and then back to school.

Title – The sketches, having been made into lino-blocks, are handed, with the manuscript, to the “printers.”
Some of the students are carving the lino-blocks, and three boys take the materials to the printing office.  They line up the letters for the press and mark out the layout taking into account the text and illustrations.  The boys are using a printing press which is controlled by a step peddle to print the final copies for their book. 

Title – But Typography is challenged in popularity by an older craft.
This older craft is pottery.  Students can be seen kneading clay and throwing on the wheel.  One student demonstrates the whole process of making a vase on the pottery wheel. 

Title – Built in the workshops from a car – engine crankshaft.
The mechanics of the wheel are shown which allow the wheel to spin.  After, the newly formed pots are put into the kiln to be fired.

Title – Probably the oldest of all crafts.
Students are seen in another craft class weaving baskets of all different shapes and sizes. 

Title – Mens sana in Corpore - Sano is given a literal meaning.
At the dentist, a male student is sitting in the chair having his teeth examined.  There is also a close-up of the instruments used by the dentist.

In the next scene, girls hang up their coats and change for gym class.  There the main portion of their class involves dance.  The boys get to do gymnastics and rope-climb.  After class, the boys head to the showers.  Out in the fields, the girls play rounders and netball while the boys play football.  

Title – Sports Day is always a highlight.
The students participate in different track and field events including obstacle courses and egg and spoon races.  The students not involved in the races are around the sidelines cheering on their classmates.  A scoreboard and trophy table are also shown.

Title – And of course, most boys get physical exercise of a less formal kind.
Boys are in pile on the ground wrestling and rough-housing around.

Title – All these activities use much energy which has to be replaced.  Milk is available for every child.
The kids pick up milk and straws and take their drinks outside to enjoy them while sitting on the lawn.

Title – The dining-room and its kitchen form an entirely separate and self-contained block.
Older women are cooking in the kitchen and preparing a meal.  There are shelves full of jarred goods.  In the dining hall, the children are all standing at long tables saying grace before the meal.  Everyone sits to eat, and the meal also includes dessert.

Title – After the mid-day meal lessons begin again.  Even academic subjects are given a practical bias.
A teacher at the front of the classroom is pointing to a painting of a rural scene.  The students are raising their hands in anticipation of answering her questions.  Outside, other students are doing a survey which uses their maths skills.  Back in the classroom they plot their information on a graph while the teacher laces up a projector.

Title – Work in the Library
Title – Research by two fourth year Girls.
A girl checks out an English Costume book for her research and then compiles sketches to show the history of costume.  Different miniature versions of those costumes are made out of fabric and displayed on a board. 

There is a sign posted on the notice board for a summer excursion which will take place on 1 June 1947.  There are also other notices which advertise the Annual School Camp from July 23-30.

The campers arrive and pile their suitcases ready to be loaded on the bus.  A transition effect is used to show the very large campsite, at which there are numerous tents set up. 

Title – Speech training receives practical expression.
The students practice on the phone to work on their articulation.  Also, some of the students are on stage performing in a play.  All are wearing costumes associated with the Tudor period.

Title – Needlework is taught in a room equipped for that specific purpose.
Girls are doing needlework at desks surrounded by shelves of fabric.  They examine patterns and designs and cut the fabric accordingly.  They also have a book to teach them various types of stitches.

Title – Handicraft plays a vital part in the education of boys.
The boys try their hand at wood carving and carpentry.  There are many different machines to meet their design needs for many projects. 

Title – One boy makes his contribution to the erection of the glasshouse.
Title – This useful machine cost next to nothing.  The boys built it themselves from scrap.
It is a wood carving machine, and one of the boys is using it to whittle the handle to be attached to a garden tool.

Title – “For I am master of all That smiteth with hammer or mall, And so may’st thou me call, The Proud Smith.”
The boys also work in metal shop, and one of the boys shapes a piece of iron into a curved lighting fixture by hammering the hot iron on an anvil. 

Title – An ambitious project worked out by five boys in their third year.
A wrought iron fence is on display, and the boys are putting the finishing touches on the latch. 

Title – The modern equivalent of swords to ploughshares, aero-engine scrap into pulley wheels. 
The boys pour the melted scrap into wooden moulds to make the pulley wheels.  They show off the finished product.

Title – Older boys are taught to use power-driven tools confidently and safely.
Many of the boys use power saws or drills to cut the metal.  When doing so, they are wearing safety masks.

Title – When working to thousandths of an inch mathematics takes on a new and more vital importance.
Back in the metal shop, one of the boys is measuring the diameter of a piece of metal to make sure it has been cut precisely.  At the end, the students’ final projects are put on a display table. 

Title – Tall and short, brunette and blonde, These are your children.
The students are in an assembly hall praying together, saying the Lord’s Prayer for which intertitles come up in the film.  This is intercut with close-ups of different children.

At 4pm the school day has ended and the children make their way home in the same manner in which they arrived.  The classrooms are now empty, and the teachers make the rounds doing a final check before closing.

Title – The End

Title – These are your Children
 A record of the activities of ordinary children in an English Secondary Modern School
 There are no actors, no stars, just ordinary children and their teachers busily engaged in being themselves…
 … and sometimes, not even aware that the Headmaster, with his camera, was just as busily engaged in filming them doing it.
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These are Your Children