Review: Educating Essex, Channel 4

EDUCATING Essex has been a real eye-opener — looking at how secondary school teachers manage with teenagers in your average comprehensive.

Passmores School and Technology College in Harlow — labelled ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted — was chosen for the four-part series, which follows staff and pupils in a fly-on-the-wall documentary.

One man who has captured the attention of viewers is deputy head Mr Drew, known to colleagues as Steven. His passion for work and his students is inspiring and, although he is popular with the kids, there are still obstacles that could put his career on the line. We have seen an accusation of assault which threatened to derail his career but, fortunately, he was in the clear.

Dealing with emotional teenagers, enforcing detention and maintaining the school’s high standards — as well as teaching history — is a daily job for him.

Last night’s programme featured something that every school faces — bullying. From cyber harassment to old-fashioned playground fights, the programme showed how youngsters combine studying for their GCSEs with becoming a young adult.

With future episodes showing teenage pregnancy and a pupil taken into care when his parents’ marriage breaks down, I suspect it won’t just be me who has a new-found respect for teachers.

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