Comments on Our Educational Films By Educationists in this Country as to their Suitability

BW4/2



- Contains a number of notes of standard format acknowledging the receipt/posting of films.

- Some unfortunately illegible handwritten notes, only a few largely readable:
"9.3.44 - A new minute of mine(?) on this subject has crossed(?) yours. Prof. Ifor Evans is meeting with Mr Richardson on the 16th. He will mention the film business and try and find out what Mr Richardson's ideas are. He will inform you and me of the result. I suggest therefore that we let Mr R. alone until Prof. Ifor Evans has had a crack at him.
2. I think that your idea that the Council should weigh in on the distribution abroad of films made by (or for) the Boaw(?) is an excellent one. The films will be made by the MOI [Ministry of Information?] as an 'Allied service' - which means in effect that they will belong to the B. of Education rather than to the MOI when made. What we ought to do, I suggest, is to persuade this board at the
appropriate moment to appoint the Council overseas distribution of the films, when made, on the grounds of the Council's special responsibilities in connection with education abroad.
It is largely a matter of tactics whether
a)We ask Prof. Ifor Evans to throw out the suggestion unofficially to
Mr Richarson on the 16th; or
b) We wait and see what that interview produces, and then decide how best to approach the matter.
On the whole, I favour course (b).
[signature looks like @]
9.3.44”

“X. So do I. It is unlikely the B of E will make any arrangements for overseas distribution. -- -- is that when tn.qs.(?) have made the films for HOME use they will then, on this --, -- sending them abroad. -- -- be when we come in [signature] 10/3"
[see photos]

- Notes mentioning the showing of various films in schools and such.
Many of the note are embossed with a Board of Education stamp.

- Office politics: (07.11.1943)
"...Frankly, we are not very happy about any of these geography films
and feel strongly that they are not really good enough to be sent overseas without some risk of damage to British prestige.
I shall be travelling to town on Tuesday by a train which, if punctual,
arrives about 2p.m. In all probability, however, it will be late and I
may come into the meeting a few minutes late. Yours sincerely, J.P.
Scothorne."

- Mention of showing of 'School Broadcasting', 'Looking Through Glass', and ‘Invention of the Steam Engine' (a collaboration with Mr Lauwerys) on Tues 27th July 1943, 2.30-4pm, in the cinema at Filmicity House, 2-6 West St, Upper St Martin's Lane.

- Primrose > Woolfe (GB Instructional)
"The Board of Education has appointed a sub-committee of H.M. Inspectors of Schools to advise the Council's Film Department with its educational films, and last week we showed them out [sic] Biology and Human Geography films, also 'PACICIC' [sic] and 'THE HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE'; all made for the Council by G-B Instructional. They were most appreciative.
Afterwards we discussed the Biology films and I explained that, in addition to one on the Onion, the Council proposed that there should be one on the Mammal. The H.M.Is agreed that a film on this subject was essential, but that it MUST be in the 'Eleven Plus' age group.
When asked their advice as to what animal should be chosen, they were in favour of the Junior Rabbit in preference to the Cat or the Horse.
As there has been some confusion on this subject I think we should make an entirely fresh start and I am now writing to say we should be glad if you could have a treatment prepared for an educational film on the Mammal in the Junior Series which included Pin Mould, Maize and Newt.”

Interesting response from GB Instructional Ltd, 28.05.1943:
"Dear Primrose,
I was pleased to get your letter of the 26th and gather that the Board of Education have taken your efforts in the field of education films seriously.
We have been endeavouring for a long time to bring this about and I must congratulate you on your success. It was also very interesting to hear from you that they were appreciative of our past efforts.
I note your remarks re Junior Rabbit, this is already in hand and Miss Munro has supplied us with the data which Miss Field is getting together in script form.
I will let you have this in the near future.
Yours sincerely, H. Bruce Woolfe."

- Mr Primrose is the secretary in the film department at the BC.

- Minutes of meeting between representatives of the British Council and HM Inspectors of Schools, held on Wednesday, 12th May, 1943, at Filmicity House, West Street, at 11am and at 3 Hanover Street, at 2.30pm [See Photos]
Points of Interest:
- Discussion on merits of showing films in the UK, when are specifically designed to go abroad.
- Suggestion of showing films in the UK classrooms and getting feedback from teachers to improve upon future films [evidence of which can be seen in the file ‘Education Films General - BW4/1?]
- ‘Mr Scothorne said that he thought that as regards teaching films the intelligence of children was liable to be overrated.’
- Discussion of Latin terms in books [that accompany the films?]
- Lack of village names in geography films raised. Was discussed as to whether title cards could be inserted, or the names put in the teaching notes. Could not happen for overseas distribution of course.
- Mr Jenkins unhappy that films will give foreigners a rather narrow view of typical settlements in Britain. ‘There was no country in the world, he said, which is so varied as the British Isles and to send out these films... would seriously hinder the development of an overseas’ understanding of England.’ Rebuttal from Mr Bell observing that the Council was not trying to teach English Geography, but about types of settlement; it only happens that they were made in England, 'not Chile or Greece’.
- Discussion on production of a film that does aim to teach the Geography of England and maps to use.

- Restaurant lunch booking - by letter! For 10 on Weds 12th May 1943, Kettner’s Restaurant, Romilly St.

- Mention of plan to get the BFI to distribute educational films. Issues surrounding this. Proposal to keep copies at Central Film Library on behalf of the Board of Education, but is apparently a lack of funds for this.

- For the benefit of a curious S.H. Wood, a reply to his questions, comprising a document detailing the Council’s aims and motivations, and how the Board of Education could play a role in this.
POI: “Although the Council have neither the power nor funds to make educational films primarily for use in this country, they have the right and funds to make them for distribution overseas. If, however, they can be so designed as to be suitable for use here as well as overseas, the whole of their production cost could be properly borne by the Council and copies of them could be made available for home distribution also if needed. Admittedly the Council could not provide funds for the distribution...”

- Documents leading to the establishment of the aforementioned panel from the Board of Education.

- A telegram about a meeting from Cons in Burton Joyce.

- A very negative criticism of ‘Market Town’ by one Dr R.R. Reid (member of BFI education panel?), and a plethora of comments of her opinions, mostly defensive, and arguing that she has missed the point (with some validity).