Film ID:
NEFA 13206



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An educational film produced by Durham County Educational Authority that follows pupils from Tanfield Lea County Junior Mixed and Infants School over the period of a year as they learn rural studies. The films show pupils taking part in a husbandry project and looking after rabbits, pigeons and chickens in a field beside the school, and growing vegetables and flowers in their own garden. The final part of the film shows the younger pupils in the school being introduced to and learning about some of the animals the older children are taking care of.

Title: Rural Studies in the Primary School

Title: A Record of Activities in a Junior Mixed and Infants School

The film opens with a general view of Tanfield Lea below. A small housing estate and football fields can be seen.

A traveling shot records the road to Tanfield Lea and a road-side school sign. The car then passes a Victorian school building.

A sign hangs beside the entrance to a Victorian school that reads: 'Tanfield Lea County School'.

The film cuts to show a modern classroom built on brick stilts. Inside the classroom two boys sit at their desk looking down at a County of Durham Education Committee exercise books. On the front of one of the books is written 'Garden Diary 1967'. A boy underlines 'Diary of Events' inside the book. He is then seen writing details in the book about what took place between January and June. The cover of another County of Durham Education Committee exercise book reads 'Husbandry Project'.

Two boys walk through the school playground and together collect a rabbit hutch that has been stored underneath the classroom. They take the hutch into a field beside the school. The film cuts to them coming out of a small building in the playground carrying two rabbits. In the field the boys stroke the rabbits which are sitting on the roof of the hutches. Two girls join the boys and they are seen playing and feeding the rabbits before putting them into their hutches.

Back in the school playground two different boys come down the steps from the classroom. Each boy puts on a woolly hat. As they walk past a pigeon cree one of the boys opens the lock, goes inside and comes out with two small bottles of water. The other boy is seen in the field holding a large tin, the contents of which he pours onto a compost heap. Back in the playground the first boy is seen holding up another tin containing seed which he is using to attract and feed pigeons some of which can been seem walking beside the cree.

Inside the cree two chicks can be seen sitting in a nest. One of the chicks is removed from the nest from the nest and a ring is placed around its leg. Back in the playground one of the boys is talking enthusiastically about pigeons to a crowd of children standing around him. He holds up a bird and carefully unfurls its wing. Some of the other children are seen asking him questions.

The film cuts to a man in the playground sprinkling powder onto the unfurled wing of a pigeon which is being held by a boy. Another boy is then seen sprinkling the powder onto the wing of another bird. Inside the cree there is a view of two older chicks. This is followed by a female pigeon sitting on eggs.

Two boys come out of the school front entrance carrying a wooden box. They are seen sitting on a coach which passes Stanley Swimming Baths. They get off the bus, walk across a car park and release from the box a number of pigeons which fly up into the air. While one of the boys is seen releasing the birds the other stands beside him holding a stop-watch.

Back in the playground the pigeons are seen coming into land on the roof of the cree. The boy with the stop watch stands in the playground watching the birds land.

In the field beside the school another boy approaches a chicken coop holding a metal feeder. He opens the coop and places it inside. He opens the back of the coop and picks out an egg which he looks at intently. A chicken pecks seed from the boys hand. There are views inside the coop. The sequence ends with the boys stroking the chicken.

The film cuts to show a budgerigar in a cage.

There is a close-up of another County of Durham Education Committee jotting book which reads 'Gardening Diary 1967' and the names Malcolm and Geoffrey written at the bottom. A hand appears and opens the book to show a diary of work carried out between January and June.

The film cuts to show a boy coming down the steps of the classroom holding a number of pegs. A second boy comes out of a school building carrying a rake and makes his way towards the school field. Walking together the two boys approach a covered planter box which they open. After one of the boys takes out a smaller plant box  the boy begins preparing the earth inside using the rake before planting some seeds.

Using the rake one of boys creates a furrow in the soil. From his pocket the other boys takes out a packet of cabbage seeds. Working together they plant the seeds in the trench and cover them with earth. One of the boys places the seed packet over a peg and plants it in the earth. They finish their work by closing the planter lid. The film cuts to some weeks later and the boys weeding the growing seedlings in the planter.

Two boys wearing balaclavas and carrying garden forks come out of the school and into the field where they begin to turn over the compost heap. Compost is seen loaded into a wheelbarrow and unloaded onto a pile at another part of the school ground. Two other boys use spades to dig over an empty patch of ground into which the compost is spread.

The film cuts to show a section of vegetable garden dug alongside a high wall. A number of boys using spades and rakes to weed the earth. Two different boys use hoes to weed the soil in a flower bed.

The film cuts to the middle of the field where the boys all sit cleaning their spades, hoes and rakes.

Back inside the classroom there are views of girls watering and looking after tomato and courgette plants. Some of the girls are seen examining the small tomatoes growing on the vine.

The film cuts to the 'Garden Diary' exercise book and shows the page being turned from April to May and June.

Back in the field the boys seen previously planting seeds are now working to collect seedlings. In the vegetable garden the two other boys work with rakes to prepare the ground for the seedlings. Working together all four boys layout the ground and plant the seedlings in the earth.

In another part of the field two other boys use spades to dig a new section of garden.

Back in the vegetable garden two boys use hoes to weed the ground. One of the boys uses his hands to dig up one of the cabbage seedlings and shows it to the camera.

In the classroom the tomatoes and courgette plants have grown considerably and the girls are seen watering them and looking at the fruits.

The diary page turns to September.

Out in the garden a boy looks over a crop of cabbages growing beside a hedge. He digs one out and takes it back into the field and feeds the leaves to the rabbits.

The film cuts to the cover of another exercise book with the words 'Nature Study' written in red.

The class of children walk along the road beside the school and into a field. In a wood the teacher speaks to the class before they head off to and explore. There are various views of the children writing and drawing the flora in the woods. One boy holds a frog which he put back into a stream. Written on a sheet by one of the girls can be read 'A Small Fir Tree'.

The film cuts back to the field beside the school where three girls put food onto a large covered bird table. A line of bird boxes can be seen attached to a wall.

There is the cover of another exercise book that reads 'English'. A hand turn over the cover to show a child's hand writing. The bottom part of the page refers to 'The Daffodils' by William Wordsworth. At a desk a girl writes in an exercise book while another girl sitting next to her draws a picture.

On the blackboard is written 'Home for Stray Pigeon'.

In the field a group of children stand around a small cage containing baby rabbits. The cage is opened and kits are handed to the children standing around.

Another exercise book reads: 'Janet Harrison, Arithmetic'. The book opens to show a number of sums.

The film cuts to the field where a boy uses a measuring wheel to count out a length. He places a flag at his chosen spot. Two boys lead out a whippet and they are seen patting it. The dog races across the field towards the boy by the flag who is now holding a stop watch.

Back in the classroom a male teacher writes the calculation on the blackboard to work out the speed of the whippet. The children watch on intently. Other statistical information gathered by the children over the year are also recorded on other parts of the board. The film cuts to show drawing of pigeons on the blackboard.

Two children carry a small cage containing two pigeons into a classroom. There is a view of a chicken in another cage.In the classroom  children paint pictures of various animals. The film cuts to show their work hanging on the wall.

There is a view of the cover for an exercise book with the words 'Infant Class' in red.

In a classroom a group of younger children look at and pat a chicken that is standing on the table. A female teacher is seen speaking to the class while the children continue to pat the chicken.

The film cuts to the cover of a biology exercise book with a picture of a pigeon on the front. The book is opened and shows a number of drawings of a pigeon wing and other body parts.

The film cuts to a class where a teacher is speaking to her children. Flowers and smaller potted plants grow on a table by the window. The teacher picks up a number of these flowers and plants and shows them to the class.

In another class a second female teacher watches over a group of younger children who are stroking a rabbit which is sitting on the table. A girl walks over to a small library of books on nature, takes one and begins reading.

The cover on another exercise book  reads; 'Woodwork'.

The film ends with views inside the pigeon cree.

End Credit: Produced by Durham County Education Authority.

End Credit: Director of Education Mr G.H. Metcalfe

End Credit: County Organiser for Rural Science Mr J.L. Graham

End Credit: County Organiser for Audio Visual Aids Mr J.S. Sweeney

End Credit: With assistance from Bede College Mr G.K. Collier

End Credit: Messrs R. Knight, D. Williams and E. Wallace

End Credit: Grateful acknowledgement is given to the Head Teacher Mr I. Graham, Deputy Head Teacher and Teacher in charge of Rural Studies Mr. W.W. Wells, staff and pupils of Tanfield Lea County Junior Mixed and Infants School and all who have assisted in making this film.