School Life



Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

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720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
953.61 MB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 43 min
P/S 6 / 43
1.91 GB
English 5.1
24 fps
1 hr 43 min
P/S 7 / 46

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by / 10

Reviewed by janburn0078 / 10

A very interesting film

What struck me most about this school is that it was supposedly an elite school in Ireland (& presumably charging quite high fees),located in an old stately home. Yet the actual "physical school facilities" that they had (on the inside of the building) were not very impressive by the standards of most modern schools.

I thought their facilities & classrooms looked somewhat old & decrepit & run-down, & very much below standard, when you compare it with any other modern-day school. However, it looked like their class sizes were very small, & it seems that the quality of the teaching must have made up for a lot of the good facilities which they lacked, because some of them obviously managed to get into the British schools of their choice such as Eton & Harrow.

You don't ever see either of the 2 main featured teachers do any really serious "subject teaching", though they do seem to have a unique way of getting across to their students in a lot of areas. The casual-ness of John's classroom attire as a teacher seemed a bit below par to me -often wearing just a sweat shirt & an old pair of jeans. I think in most countries, a certain standard of dress would normally be required of teachers, especially in a school which is quite elite, & therefore also one assumes, quite expensive in terms of school fees. John's standard of dress did make me wonder how well these teachers are paid. Perhaps teachers are not very well paid in Ireland, even in very elite schools which charge very high school fees. John came across as being a little bit eccentric.

The school's boarding facilities also looked rather cramped to me. In most modern boarding schools these days, students could normally expect to have their own small study-bedroom cubicle or room & a bit more privacy than these children had. It looked like there were at least 4 students per room/study-bedroom, & the students were all in bunk/double-decker beds (I guess they must have been short on space). The secondary school I attended back in the 1970's was also a boarding school, but there were no bunk beds in the dormitories even then, & the older-style cubicles/rooms (if one could call them that) were very large, with about 6 beds - 3 on each side of the room, alongside each other, with plenty of space in between for a wardrobe etc for each person. But by 1975, most students had their own small cubicle/study-bedroom.

I don't know how many students this particular boarding school in Ireland (called Headfort School) catered for, but it looked like possibly only a few hundred at most - which is quite small by most school standards these days. Often these days, schools claim they need to have at least 1,000 pupils to make it viable, & they are always trying to "grow" the student numbers. It looks like Headfort School does not have much capacity to increase its student numbers.

The 2 featured teachers at this particular school were obviously very devoted to the school & its students, & had been there for almost 50 years. They are both approaching retirement & are wondering what they will do once they don't have to come to the school each day to teach. It looks like they live in a house provided for them by the school, & just a short distance away from the school. But even the inside of their house, like the school, also looks rather old & somewhat run-down. Once they retire, they'll no longer be able to live in school-provided housing.

I definitely think this is a documentary well worth seeing, even if just to see how the other half lives. And I do wonder how the 2 featured teachers (a husband & wife) will enjoy their retirement & what they end up doing in their retirement years. I can well imagine it might be something to do with helping children...

Reviewed by ferguson-68 / 10

past meets present

Greetings again from the darkness. With all the talk about statues these days, maybe it's career teachers like John and Amanda Leyden who deserve their bronzed images displayed in public so that we may all pay proper respect. The film follows the married couple during their 46th and final year as educators at Headfort School, the only remaining primary boarding school in Ireland. These two have been inspirational and influential to so many students over the years, and now they find themselves in a quandary about how to leave the only life they've known since becoming adults.

Co-writers and co-directors Neasa Ni Chianain and David Rane, along with script consultant Etienne Essery, use a loose structure in documenting the daily activities, and the blending of traditions with modernity, within the somewhat imposing walls of Headfort. We find it pleasurable to focus on passionate, dedicated teachers rather than on what's broken with today's education system.

John's hard line stance and frequent use of sarcasm ("That wasn't entirely bad") effectively masks his caring nature and desire to help students learn and improve. He teaches Latin, Math and coaches the student band that plays many familiar rock songs. He considers this just as important as any class. Amanda takes a more traditional approach in teaching Literature. She uses a well-refined mixture of encouragement and books to facilitate the lessons and motivate students to read more.

The past and present are always on display here … with both the institution and this couple. School and home are blurred lines for the students as well as for John and Amanda. "If we don't come here, what'll we do all day?" This line speaks to the uncertainty and wariness that are weighing on the couple as their career end approaches.

As viewers, we must keep in mind that these are privileged children, all of whom are likely to move on to elite secondary schools. In fact, the arrival of selection letters plays a role near year end. When alone at home, we hear John and Amanda complain about students, not unlike you probably complain about your co-workers. The difference here is that this man and woman are truly dedicated to helping each student become their best self.

The film style allows the day-to-day challenges to appear as they may, and while little is learned about individual students, it's clear that John and Amanda are lost about leaving the only working life they've experienced … a devotion to helping kids develop. In fact, the Headmaster, Dermot Dix, is a former student of the Leyden's. The film's original title, In Loco Parentis, translates to "in place of parents" … we wish these pseudo-parents nothing but the best in the biggest transition of their life. They certainly have earned happiness, and maybe even a statue.

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