12 October 2001
BBC One is to screen a new six-part series, starting on Monday, September 17, about trainee teachers.
'Class Act' is a fly-on-the-wall documentary about seven people who take to the 'chalk face' for the toughest challenge of their lives.
Starting the year on Manchester Metropolitan University's highly-rated PGCE course, we see them begin their course with high ideals and bags of enthusiasm and follow them on their first terrifying days in front of the class.
During the series we witness the highs and lows of their arduous year and find out who makes the grade and who, if anyone, falls by the wayside.
In programme one, on Sept 17, student teachers at the Institute for Education (MMU) are warned that "for every person who wants to teach, approximately 30 do not want to learn, and to avoid major scraps in the staff room by taking their own mug. Welcome to the real world… The BBC crew spent 50 days filming at the Didsbury campus and at schools around Manchester, including Lymm High, Droylsden High, Failsworth and Abraham Moss.
The Institute was initially approached in 1999 after the BBC team, led by Roger Courtiouer ('Vets in Practice') decided they wanted to raise the profile of teaching, having already dealt with other professions.
The team considered several leading teaching institutions and chose MMU for its quality and quantity - they had 300 volunteers out of the 600 trainees! (MMU is the major provider of teacher training and continuing professional development in the North West and one of the largest teacher training establishments in the country.)
The Institute's John Savin, said:
"The fact that the Institute is a high quality, confident provider of teacher training with nothing to hide, meant that there was no reason not to take part. And so the deal was born."
Vice Chancellor Alexandra Burslem said:
"Class Act is a wonderful opportunity to see the university doing what it does best and making a major contribution to teaching, education and the wider community."