This film is part of Free

Mr H Ramsbotham on the Use of Films in Schools

Calling all teachers! Give the blackboard a break - try running a film instead.

School programme and Educational film 1935 6 mins


Teachers! Give the blackboard a break - try running a film instead. This pep-talk to Britain’s schoolmasters and mistresses is quite the curio, combining a forward-thinking message with stunningly stuffy delivery. Nor is it 100% altruistic. Producers Gaumont-British Instructional were the leading makers of classroom film (a few clips are shown here). The G-B empire also flogged schools the 16mm projectors that could show them.

The splendidly named Herwald Ramsbotham sets a new bar for starchy screen presence. A government education minister (and former Governor General of Ceylon), the monocle-wearing Ramsbotham is filmed from several slightly odd angles reading from a script which carries more than a few echoes of Victorian moralism. But there’s a certain genuine idealism in the film too: a belief in its own medium as the most powerful knowledge transfer tool yet invented, able to be far more than just crowd-pleasing entertainment and ready to conquer all areas of the curriculum.