The school is falling apart’: New BBC2 documentary series School reveals classroom cuts crisis

The scene is captured by a BBC camera crew, which has been granted unique access to a Multi-Academy Trust of four secondary schools in South Gloucestershire, at a time when the education system is buckling under the pressure of an unprecedented budget squeeze.School, a six-part BBC2 series filmed across an entire academic year, demonstrates exactly how years of financial restraint are having a devastating impact at the sharp end – on the staff, pupils and parents struggling to do more, with less resources.

The fate of the three schools’ 5,000 pupils lies in the hands of Will Roberts, the CSET Chief Executive, a former Procter & Gamble employee who left the City to become a teacher.

“If we were going to do this series, we had to show everything. There are things in the programmes I wish hadn’t happened,” admitted Roberts, who is filmed wrestling with Castle school’s £1.5m deficit.

At the mutinous staff meeting, the Trust management, and the salary the chief executive earns, is itself questioned by Science teacher Andy Street, who gives the cameras a guided tour of the blocked sinks and faulty heating in his lab.

“There is a general feeling the school is falling apart,” warns the head of year 7. Ms Browne fears faculty leaders will simply leave, or “we will internally combust, turning that anger in on each other.”

School has very different ambitions to Educating…said Simon Dickson, executive producer who helped commission the Channel 4 show when he was a commissioner at the broadcaster. 

“It’s primarily a series about children coming of age. They have to put the cameras away when things get too difficult with the school leadership. I’m proud with this series that when reality bites, that’s when we get the cameras out.”