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Britain's Biggest Primary School

S1-E1 In at the Deep End

S1-E1 In at the Deep End

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In 1997, when head teacher Bob Garton started at Gascoigne Primary School in Barking, around ten per cent of students had a first language other than English. Now, it’s 90 per cent. The school teaches 1,100 pupils from an incredibly wide range of backgrounds. We meet Victor from Bulgaria, who, like 30 per cent of the students, arrives at the school with essentially no spoken English at all.

Alice Mayhall’s series spells out the challenges involved for the teachers, and reaches some of the emotions involved. In the most moving scene, ten-year-old Lee is comforted by Miss Murphy on the anniversary of his mother’s death. As she tries to reassure him, he cuts across her words with the devastating, “But I’ll never see her again.”


Documentary chronicling life at Gascoigne Primary School in Barking, east London, following the pupils, parents and staff. The first episode looks at how the school manages with such a high turnover of often vulnerable pupils, including 10-year-old Viktor, who has just arrived from Bulgaria and cannot speak English. Lee, also 10, has moved from Norfolk after the death of his mother and is disrupting classes to get attention, while newly qualified teacher Kevin McNally has to cope with a class that is constantly changing.

Cast & Crew

Director Alice Mayhall
Executive Producer Liesel Evans
Producer Alice Mayhall
Series Producer Rob McCabe

Education Documentary

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