Film ID: YFA 706 Video of YFA 706 Launch LAUNCH 1970 Visitor TabsDescription This film from the Newfield School, located outside of Sheffield, documents some of the school year events, including a boat launch, fashions made by the students, camping in Wales, and a Walkabout on the school grounds. The film opens with a group of students, faculty, and parents gathered at the side of the water, and a few are getting ready to launch a small boat. They raise and secure the mast of the sailboat which has been brought to the water’s edge on a tractor bed. One of the teachers christens the boat with a bottle of wine while the boys gather around. The boat is launched, and a member of faculty navigates it through the waters. Some of the boys try their hand at sailing and can be seen in that and other boats. All of them are wearing life jackets. This boat launch most likely takes place in the reservoir region outside of Sheffield known for its boating. Title – Fashion Boys in school uniforms walk along the pavement and sit down on a grassy hill, most leaning back relaxing in the sun. Shots of the boys are intercut with film of the Girls’ School students modelling their final fashion projects on the school fields. Each girl does a turn and poses for the camera. In turn, the boys on the hill are obviously quite excited by this and gawk and cheer the girls on as they model their clothing. More of the girls pose by a car including girls who model bikinis. The boys’ excitement grows, and some comically exaggerate their cheers and even wipe their glasses for a clearer sight. In response to this, the girl in the bikini gets into the car and drives off the field. Desperate not to let her go, the boys chase after the car. Title – Camping in Wales There are a few tents set up on the campsite in the mountains of Wales including one that acts specifically as a kitchen. Some of the boys are seated at the table outside eating, and there is also a shot of the girls’ tent. A campfire has been built, and two of the boys play acoustic guitars while all the campers join in for a sing along. Next, the campers go swimming. The girls climb over rocks near a small waterfall, and the boys go swimming in the deeper part of the river. They also collect drinking water to take back to camp. On a rainy and foggy day, the campers hike into the mountains. After the hike they dry their clothing out on the campfire. The students also learn how to search for gold. One of the teachers shows how to sift through dirt collected from the bottom of the waterway inspecting the remains for anything of value. Title – Newfield School on the Move – Cast off September 18 – No Return Tickets There is a shot of the school and the surrounding grounds. Title – Y Walk – Walk to Ride – Walkabout The whole school is out for the event. The students and faculty walk around the school, and the students must register at different tents set up depending on their school year. The students and faculty take many laps around the school ground, and there are various check points along the way. As the whole school has turned out to participate in this event, evident is the diversity of the student population attending Newfield during this time period. The film and the Walkabout end with a scenic sunset. Context This film is one of nine films made by Newfield School in the 1960s and 70s. Newfield School is situated on the south side of Sheffield in the Heeley area near Woodseats. It was opened in 1958 and become comprehensive in 1969. The films were made by the School Film Unit. As well as the more usual film of school sports and trips out, the collection also includes some imaginative fictional films. They reveal a thriving school, and those involved in making the films show filmmaking skills together with creative flair and wit. In the early part of the 1960s, the school also produced plays performed in a local theatre, and this background is reflected in the films. It was not that unusual at this time for schools to film school events, and filming was even taught on some teaching training courses. The YFA has a significant number of films made by schools or teachers making films on their own. The name given to this film Launch is no doubt taken from its opening scene of the launching of a boat on one of the reservoirs outside of Sheffield. But the title could equally be taken in the metaphoric sense of the launch of the lives of young people into adulthood. The fashion show and the intimations of teenage sexual awakening might suggest this. In fact the boating, or sailing, on the reservoirs is also very much an adult activity. This sport was a big pastime in the 1960s, as can be seen from similar film of boating in the local reservoirs in Sheffield Lakeland(1963) and Water! The story of your local supply(1964). Both the sailing and the camping may well have been annual events as they feature in the film from the previous year also, just called Newfield School (1969). The fashion show was clearly an important part of the school as it also features in this film of the year before, and even more significantly In Needlecraft Exhibition at Grosvenor Hotel made in two years previously. This was a more serious fashion show for members of the public, and may have some of the same school students displaying their handiwork as can be seen in this film. The Context for this film has more information on the importance of fashion at this time. That this wasn’t just a feature of Newfield School though is evidenced from a film of another Sheffield school made in 1970, Ten Years On: Myers Grove School. This film also features school pupils modeling clothes they themselves had made. The Context for this film has some discussion on the educational policy at that time relating to comprehensive schools. The comical behaviour of the boy’s as they watch the girl students put on a fashion show for them – seen also in Newfield School (1969) – may well be something that could only have been legitimately filmed by a teacher during a relatively brief period from the late the 1960s into the 1970s. It was only as the 1960s developed that anything with any explicit sexual connotations could be openly displayed, especially in relation to school children. And although the behaviour of the boy’s is quite mild – becoming sweaty and ogling in a somewhat exaggerated way – prior to this period the filming of even this typical behaviour would probably have been seen as going too far. The court case over the publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960 has been considered to have been a turning point in bringing about a change of attitudes towards sex, as evidenced in the changing face of 1960s comedy: from the Carry On films to the Benny Hill Show and Monty Python’s Flying Circus, both beginning in 1969. As the witty opening of Philip Larkin’s Annus Mirabilis had it: 'Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen sixty-three/ (which was rather late for me)'. And then as the 1970s progressed, and feminist criticism of this kind of sexist behaviour began to take effect, it would have been less likely for teachers to encourage it – as it appears it was in this case. It has taken time for the insights into discrimination to filter through, and for a more enlightened policy of inclusion to become the norm in schools. But what was once considered to be just harmless fun has been revealed to be all too frequently far from this: that stereotyping and damaging behaviour can take the most subtle of forms, without there necessarily being any bad intent. The late 1960s and early 1970s was certainly a fascinating time to be a teenager. Jon Savage in his books on teenagers and pop culture provides an interesting background to this. The school students in the film would have been roughly the generation that was to produce the punk phenomena: Joe Strummer (The Clash) was born in 1952, Mick Jones (The Clash) in 1955, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten, Sex Pistols) in 1956. Sheffield had its own vibrant music scene in the late 1970s, with a different style to punk: Stephen Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire), Philip Oakey (Human League) and Stephen Fellows (Comsat Angels) were all born in 1955, making them about 15 when this film was made. Eve Wood's documentary film on the emergence of electro-pop in Sheffield in the late 1970s, Made in Sheffield (2001) shows just how innovative this generation was. References Jon Savage, England's Dreaming - Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, Faber and Faber, 2005.Jon Savage, Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Chatto & Windus, 2007. Peter Wigley, Shopaholics Guide to 1970s Sheffield, ACM Retro, 2009 Eve Wood, Made in Sheffield, DVD, 2001.