This film is part of Free

Baking Day

What better way to spend one’s first days at school than baking cakes and organising a party? Being independent, co-operating and eating.

School programme and Educational film 1965 9 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


The progressiveness of the 1960s finds its way into the classroom of a Wakefield infants’ school. Amateur filmmakers Doug and Norah Brear have made an excellent documentary of five year olds baking themselves some cakes and organising a party, with the teacher making it also into a maths and literacy lesson. In the process the Brears extoll the virtues of practical learning, of children discovering things for themselves, and working in co-operation with others.

Doug and Norah Brear of Wakefield made over 60 films between 1960 and 1985. The ideas exemplified in this film were already mainstream since the Hadow Report on Infant and Nursery Schools of 1933. Here, already, can be found the ideas of children self-learning, activity- based learning, having freedom to discover, and the importance of collaborative work. All incorporated into the 1967 Plowden Report on Children and their Primary Schools. Yet this was also influenced by Cyril Burt and Percy Nunn and their ideas of hereditary intelligence. Hence the 1959 Ministry of Education handbook on Primary Education saw primary schools as a 'sorting, classifying, selective mechanism', ie streaming for the 11 Plus.