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Comunicar Journal 35: Film Languages in the European Collective Memory (Vol. 18 - 2010)

Analogue sunset. The educational role of the British Film Institute, 1979-2007


Cary Bazalgette


This paper traces key features of the BFI’s evolving strategies for film education in UK schools during the final 25 years of the analogue era. Historically, the BFI did much to establish the characteristics of film study, but it also embodied tensions which have continued to preoccupy educators, such as the relationship between the instrumental use of film to support the curriculum, and learning about its intrinsic and distinctive qualities as a medium, or about its ideological function in society. The paper also addresses the question of whether «film» on its own constitutes a valid area of study, or whether it is more properly studied alongside television as part of «moving image media». The BFI has played a key role in exploring these issues and in exemplifying how film, or moving image media, can be taught to younger learners, but the internal vicissitudes it has constantly experienced have always pulled its educational activities in different directions. The central argument of this paper is that film education –and indeed media education in general– should be an entitlement for every learner, not something offered only to a minority or provided as an optional extra. The key projects described in this paper indicate some of the ways in which a publicly funded cultural institution can intervene in educational policy and practice.


Film, moving image, education, media literacy, entitlement, curriculum, schools

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1. Introduction

Until late in the 20th century, there was no centrally prescribed school curriculum in the UK. The idea of educating school children about film, therefore, was one that could be freely pursued by those who were interested in it and who could access and use the necessary 16mm equipment. Enthusiasts for «film appreciation» shared their ideas and developed their practice from the 1930s onwards without exciting shock, disapproval, or much in the way of public attention. But when I started work at the British Film Institute (BFI) in 1979, all this was about to change. A right-wing government led by Margaret Thatcher was elected in that year, and education became a focus for national policy-making and increasingly polarised public debate in the ensuing decades.

In parallel, access to moving image media also began to change. The arrival of the video cassette recorder in homes and schools meant that classroom study and discussion not only of films but also of television became a real possibility, and by the end of the 1980s the advent of relatively cheap camcorders meant that creative production activities could also become part of the process of learning about the moving image. By this time, personal computers and the «non-linear editing» of audio and visual material that was enabled by new systems such as Avid and Cubase were pointing the way to a post-analogue future in which the nature of everyone’s relationships with audio-visual media would change dramatically. And of course by the turn of the century the Internet was transforming our relationship to information as well as to each other.

In this context, the role of the BFI became potentially significant. Evolving attitudes to children, education, the media, and the unfolding digital revolution presented both threats and opportunities to all publicly funded cultural institutions, but particularly to one whose remit included both film and television. This paper describes some of the ways in which the BFI negotiated and re-negotiated this role over a 28-year period.

2. Background

The BFI was founded in 1933 following the publication of a report, «The Film in National Life» (Commission on Educational and Cultural Films, 1932), put together by a group of educators from the British Institute of Adult Education who were concerned both with the instrumental use of film in education and with the development of public taste1. Thus from its earliest beginnings there was a certain confusion about the Institute’s role, which is reflected in continuing debates within media literacy, not only about film but other media as well. By 1960, the BFI had taken on several more specific functions which emphasised and underpinned its mission to develop public taste in film. In the 1930s it had established the magazine Sight and Sound and set up the National Film Library (later the National Film and Television Archive); in 1952 it set up the National Film Theatre in London and the Experimental Film Fund (later the BFI Production Board); in 1957 it launched the London Film Festival. Its commitment to education was more tentative and slow to develop. It ran summer schools for adults interested in film, published pamphlets about film appreciation and, during World War II, seconded four teachers «to promote the use of the cinema for educational and other purposes» (Bolas 2009: 38). But its educational mission seems at first to have shifted uncomfortably between informal adult education and formal pedagogy in schools, and to have served different, potentially contradictory aspirations. Film viewing –especially of documentaries– was encouraged as a way of raising awareness of important social issues, but it was also seen as a way of educating audiences to make more adventurous choices in the films they watched. The BFI was also involved in debates about the potential ill-effects cinema-going might have on children, although it could not, of course, advocate abstinence as a solution: the answer had to lie in the development of children’s critical skills and their discernment in choosing to see films of higher quality, avoiding the vulgar and the meretricious.

I shall show later how these themes have endured, in different guises, in the work of the BFI ever since. However, two significant developments in 1950 accelerated the development of film education in the UK and gave it an important focus. In April of that year the BFI appointed Stanley Reed as its first Film Appreciation Officer; in October, with Reed’s support, the Society of Film Teachers (SFT) was launched. The BFI and SFT (which later became the Society for Education in Film and television – SEFT) worked closely together on events, publications and journals which, although they addressed a relatively small audience, did important groundwork in developing accounts of film teaching and making the case for the value of film education, by now seen predominantly as learning how to analyse and critique films, understand something of film history and, for some, to make films as well. By the end of the 1970s the Institute combined functions that in many other countries are the responsibility of separate institutions: a national archive for both film and television; a national cinemathèque; a national library of material on film and television; a library of film and television stills and posters; the administration of State-funded film production; funding for a cinema network; funding for academic posts in higher education; distribution of non-mainstream and world cinema; an academic publishing house. From 1988 to 1999 it also housed a Museum of the Moving Image. However, all these functions had grown up piecemeal. Each expressed a different professional ethos, in many cases addressed different kinds of audience, had little in terms of a common vision or agenda and, like a dysfunctional family, were frequently at odds with one another.

3. Defining the subject

In this family, the BFI Education Department played the role of a vociferous teenager: always short of money, never able to do quite what it wanted, never commanding the attention it thought it deserved, and from time to time being punished for an inconvenient independence of spirit. In 1971 six members of the Department resigned in protest against an attempt by the BFI Governors to stop what was seen as an excessive attention to research and theory and to make the Department return to providing services to schools. But by the time I arrived in 1979, the research and theory dimension of the Department’s work was as strong as ever. A huge effort was expended on annual residential summer schools, each of which opened up a new area of cinema and critical theory, and was influential in helping to define what was researched, taught and published in film study in the UK and elsewhere for many years subsequently2.

However, I was appointed to develop classroom materials that would be relevant and accessible for school teachers. I was not new to this: in the early 1970s I had worked with a team convened by the Department to develop a course in film studies for sixth formers (16-18 year olds) which was jointly run by the BFI and the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) and continued for 13 years, providing screenings at the National Film Theatre and extensive resources for the classroom. (Bolas 2009, 210-212) I had also developed my own approaches to teaching film with younger students in two London secondary schools, using the library of 16mm extracts from feature films which the BFI had developed and the ILEA provided through a free loan service. I had attended the evening classes jointly run by the BFI and the University of London Extra-Mural Department, following courses in critical theory and film history. I had even attended a couple of the intellectually intimidating BFI summer schools.

I was thus, like others at this time, a beneficiary of the BFI Education Department’s efforts to support and disseminate film education, backed by academic theory, access to films, and opportunities to meet others with similar interests. What I had not had was any guidance on pedagogy. Exactly how should film be taught to schoolchildren? What kinds of films should they see? How could we make accessible to them the same kind of fascination and excitement that I and others like me had experienced when we first analysed a film sequence and understood something of the complexity and richness of this amazing medium? And how could we make the case to teachers about the value of studying it? As a new parent, I was learning how children start to engage with films and television from their earliest years, and I was starting to wonder why we couldn’t be developing film education for children in primary schools.

My BFI colleagues rejected this as impossible – understandably, since they were facing other challenges. At the same time as the BFI/ILEA Sixth Form Film Study course had been established another London teacher, David Lusted, set up a formal qualification in film study for 16 year olds. I have described elsewhere how the education system in England and Wales at that time allowed for the introduction of optional courses in new and unconventional subjects leading to a recognised qualification (Bazalgette, 2007: 37). Lusted convened a planning group to set up an «O» Level examination in Film Studies3, for which the first candidates were entered in 1972. Like the BFI/ILEA course, it included conventional critical approaches: authorship, genre and film history, but added «the film industry»: the study of «media institutions» has since remained an established feature of film and media study in the UK. The «O» Level in Film Study was a written examination with no film production work involved. Candidates’ ability to respond directly to films and to analyse them was demonstrated in a portfolio of coursework, assessed by the teacher, standards being maintained through a moderation process managed by the awarding body, the Associated Examining Board. The importance of this examination was that it established film as a legitimate area of study – albeit a minority option – which gave those teachers who were interested in teaching about film the opportunity to secure a permanent place for the subject within their own schools and colleges. Establishing such a qualification at «O» Level meant that film could be taught to the 14-16 year old age cohort, which was a significant breakthrough from the earlier, largely unexamined default view of film study as more suitable for older age groups. By the time I arrived at the BFI, Lusted was already a member of staff and was working to set up training courses for teachers to support what was by then a well-established qualification with growing candidate numbers.

4. Film (and television) pedagogy in the analogue age

Until 1980 film study in school depended on the use of feature films, short films or film extracts, hired on big reels of 16mm stock, delivered by courier in steel cans. Classrooms required blackout, a heavy 16mm projector, a projector stand, a screen, extension cables and, preferably, external speakers. Anecdotes from this period abound in tales of film screenings in science labs with students turning on gas taps in the dark, of CinemaScope prints arriving without an anamorphic lens, of film falling off the take-up spool and piling up on the floor. It is not surprising that film teaching was a minority pursuit. One of the many innovations of the BFI/ILEA course was the introduction of frame stills in the form of slides which could be shown on a carousel projector and enabled classroom study of mise en scène. The BFI started to publish sets of slides from a wide range of feature films, which were sold to teachers by mail order, unmounted, together with often extensive and detailed sets of notes, suggested questions and pedagogic approaches to the whole film. It was the eager response to these publications that alerted BFI Education to the potential of publishing more material for schools, and led to my appointment.

The focus of film study at this time was thus primarily on the visual elements, insofar as these could be accessed through the study of frame stills. Thus camera movement, focus pulling and the key elements of filmic expression that are created in the editing process, such as duration, transitions, juxtaposition, sequence, and all the dimensions of sound, were effectively eliminated from this approach to film study. Semiotics was the theoretical field that underpinned this work, as explored for example by Guy Gauthier, whose study «The Semiology of the Image» was published by the BFI as a slide set, and led to an interest in photographic images in general, the history of visual culture, and the role of the visual media in maintaining particular ideological positions. My first tasks at the BFI therefore involved the production of classroom resources for the 11-14 and, later, the 7-11 age range, which dealt entirely with photographic images taken from advertising and news.

The development of these resources took place alongside a major technological breakthrough that transformed access to moving images: the video cassette recorder and the stabilisation of VHS as the standard format for educational and domestic use. The importance of this technology for the classroom was not only that teachers now began to have much easier access to films, but also that they could now, at last, record television programmes off air for use in the classroom. Finally, thirty years of debate about the influence of television on the young (generally assumed to be pernicious) could be countered by classroom practice aimed at developing young people’s critical skills in relation to this important medium. The terms «media education» and «media studies» began to be used much more widely than «film studies»: although «media» was intended to include film, it was television that attracted teachers’ attention. The dominance of television in UK media teaching in the 1980s was clinched by Len Masterman’s influential book, «Teaching About Television», in which he claimed «an increasing awareness by teachers of the problems associated with the use of film material in the classroom, an awareness which has led to a growing feeling that television might be a more appropriate and important medium for study» (Masterman, 1980: 7). Film study began to be associated with esoteric, high cultural attitudes and attempts to wean learners off Hollywood and on to European art cinema. Some film teachers undoubtedly did take this line; however the Sixth Form course, the BFI slide sets and the summer schools all gave as much, if not more, attention to contemporary popular film and television culture.

5. Options vs entitlement

In the early 1980s the UK Government went through one of its periodic paroxysms of anxiety about media influences on the young, and commissioned a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools (HMI) about the relationship between popular television and schoolchildren, which concluded with the important observation that «specialist courses in media are not enough: all teachers should be involved in examining and discussing television programmes with young people» (Department of Education and Science, 1983). This implied that media education should be a far more ambitious project: something that everyone is entitled to, not as an option or an extra. This would mean trying to engage with the educational mainstream: with the inspectorate, local education authorities, teacher trainers and government. Having started to work with primary school teachers, I now saw the primary phase as the key sector in which to start to realise the goal of media education as an entitlement for all children.

In 1986 I set up a «Primary Working Group» consisting of 20 teachers and academics, whose task was to try and define and describe media education for younger children. Trying to define the key concepts that made media education distinctive and worthwhile, we came up with six «key areas of knowledge and understanding»: agencies, categories, technologies, languages, audiences and representations. Perhaps naively, we did not intend these as theory to be mastered, but as a way of generating investigative questions of media texts (Bazalgette, 1989: 8).

While we were involved in this task, the Thatcher Government announced that, after 13 years of what Prime Minister Callaghan had introduced as a Great Debate about education, they would bring in legislation to create a National Curriculum for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We hastily formulated our ideas into a curriculum statement for primary media education, in which we expanded our account of each of the «key areas» by describing «attainment targets» showing what learning in each area would look like (Bazalgette, 1989: 22-27). This statement was circulated to many people, including the working party appointed by the Government to develop a statement about English for the new National Curriculum – since we knew that there would be absolutely no point in asking for media education as a separate subject, and that most of those already teaching it were English teachers. We were gratified to read, in the working party’s first report, that «television and film and video form substantial elements of children’s experience out of school which teachers must take into account. Our assumption is that children should have the opportunity to apply their critical faculties to these major parts of contemporary culture» (Proposals of the Secretary of State 1989, 14.3). The report also quoted the Curriculum Statement’s own definition of media education (ibid. 9). It is notable that the working party selected the three moving image media as the main focus of media education, as opposed to the much wider range of media cited in our statement.


The 1990s were an unhappy decade for media educators in the UK. Having demolished the nation’s traditional industrial base and its unionised workforces, the Conservative government turned its attention to culture and education, setting a centralising, authoritarian agenda that was to be continued by the Blair government that followed in 1997. The power of local authorities, the Inspectorate and teachers themselves to initiate and foster curricular change was drastically curtailed: teachers got used to a «tick-box» culture of centrally-determined targets and testing. Media Studies examinations were now also available at Advanced Level (A Level) and thus contributing to University-entrance qualifications for 18-year-olds. Candidate numbers were rapidly increasing, but the courses became an object of derision for politicians and for the media themselves.

With the departure of Anthony Smith in 1989, the BFI’s sense of direction became more diffused, and internal power struggles intensified. After 1993 I became the manager of those education staff who dealt with schools and colleges, while the BFI set up its own Master’s degree course, seen as a deliberate snub by those universities who felt they might have benefited from collaboration with a publicly-funded cultural institution. It was assumed by the senior management that because media education had gained a mention in the National Curriculum, there was no further need to develop it at school level, so attention could be turned to higher education and to intellectual leadership. While it was true that the BFI had diminished its engagement with critical theory –cost-cutting finished off the summer schools and the grant to SEFT at the end of the 1980s– the foothold in the National Curriculum was the beginning, not the end, of the real struggle to establish media education as an entitlement for all. My view was that this should be our main focus, because the expanding numbers of university media and film departments now had the capacity to take on the intellectual high ground, and if they did not, it should not be the role of the BFI to compete with them. The mission to establish media education in schools was a huge challenge and one that was unlikely to be led by any other agency.

There was another complicating factor. In 1985, designated by the industry as British Film Year, film distributors and exhibitors in the UK started to fund their own educational venture. Film Education, led by an entrepreneurial ex-media teacher, Ian Wall, began to produce and distribute free educational resources to schools, each based on new cinema releases, and to run screenings and events for schoolchildren. BFI education staff reacted with disdain. Film Education was working to a different agenda: promoting film but not television; concentrating on mainstream, contemporary product; encouraging the use of film as a support to other curriculum subjects, rather than as an object of study in its own right; maintaining the popular perception of film as glamorous and exotic. BFI senior management, on the other hand, berated us for being «less successful» than Film Education, which was doubly exasperating given that we were not trying to do the same thing, and were certainly not being so generously funded.

From 1989 to 1998 the BFI management remained uncertain about just what it did want from its education team. After the departure of Manuel Alvarado in 1993, no one was really in charge of BFI Education, and there was a steady leakage of intellectual talent as people who rejected the Institute’s increasingly macho, bullying culture left to work elsewhere. Working as the effective head of the schools team, I continued to pursue the «entitlement» agenda, working with partners that included HMI, the BBC, Channel 4 and the Open University. This last involved developing a distance-learning course for teachers, but when the OU reneged on their promise to build the course into a degree-level qualification, it lost much of its potential to lead and promote teacher training for media education. However, the course materials and the Course Reader in particular remain a milestone in the development of the subject and an important account of best practice at that time (Alvarado & Boyd-Barrett, 1992).

Another intervention was the BFI’s 1993 Commission of Inquiry into English, which sought to challenge the Government’s increasingly hostile attitude to media education. Held over two days in London, a distinguished but politically middle-of-the-road team of Commissioners heard evidence from a range of witnesses making the case both for and against the idea of including media, alongside literature and language, in the mother tongue curriculum. Based on their independent evaluation of this evidence, the Commissioners’ conclusion was «that the idea of learning about the media as a general entitlement is now a widely-accepted principle, which we would endorse» (Bazalgette, 1994: 16). They advised caution, and recognised many of the tensions that we were to continue to negotiate over subsequent years. They wondered whether media education should be confined to «audiovisual forms» or extended to include «computer software, visual arts and music»; they wondered why media education’s attention to popular culture seemed to lead to an exclusion of «significant works of cinema or television – which might well be regarded as worthy additions to our cultural heritage»; they worried about the lack of resources and training, and about curriculum overload in the secondary curriculum. Interestingly, they saw little problem in integrating media education into the primary curriculum. Finally, they anticipated that the continued development of information technologies would eventually mean that the word «English» could no longer represent the full range of human communication that children would need to learn about.

While the Government did not take up the commissioners’ recommendations, they did at least decide not to remove the references to media education in their revision of the National Curriculum.

During these years of constant advocacy for media education, it became apparent to me that our case was weakened by its complexity, and by media educators’ failure decisively to resolve the tensions that the Commissioners had identified. Media educators presented a discordant clamour: some claimed that any foot in any door presented an advantage, and so were prepared to present media education merely as a way of helping to raise standards in reading and writing, as a means of protecting children from offensive media content, or simply as an opportunity to use technologies or be creative. Others (like me) predicted that such partial and opportunistic arguments were unhelpful. Different advocates selected different aspects of the media to argue their case: some included film and some did not. Many Media Studies teachers were indifferent to the larger picture: struggling to win the resources they needed to teach their courses, and to make the case in their own schools for the value of what they were teaching, most were unaware that in fact such courses were taken by fewer than 3% of the 14-18 age group. As an officer in a national, publicly-owned Institute, I felt that we could not ignore the interests of the UK’s nine million children and young people, whose opportunities to learn about the media in school were severely limited. In 1998, we commissioned a study to find out the nature and extent of media teaching within English in secondary schools. Although this revealed considerable enthusiasm for media education in principle, the commonest form of media work was getting students to make an advertisement, leaflet or poster. Students did watch films and television, but these would usually be versions of the book or play they were studying. (Barratt, 1998). The study of moving image media in their own right was, for a majority, something the teachers would have liked to do, but lacked the skill and confidence to try.

7. New millennium, old problems

In 1997, as everybody knows, the Labour Party won a general election and Tony Blair became the UK Prime Minister. One of the new Government’s first actions was to commission a study of the ever-ailing British Film Industry. The report recommended, amongst many other things, that audience taste could be broadened and that education might make people more «cineliterate» (Film Policy Review Group, 2008). Accordingly the BFI was charged with setting up a working group to figure out how this might be done. I acted as Secretary to this group and our report’s 22 strategic proposals (Film Education Working Group, 1999) were aimed at specific agencies who had the capacity –though not, as it turned out, the will– to make key changes that would support education about the moving image (we were instructed to consider only film, but several members felt that much of what we said applied to television as well).

This work was done in the context of more changes at the BFI. A new Director, John Woodward, started in the beginning of 1998 to restructure the Institute and to establish more coherent and purposeful policies. I was appointed to lead the education team which now reached a «critical mass» of 20 staff. I was able to create the five interlocking functions that I knew we needed if we were to have any impact on the development of media education in the UK: teacher training, publishing, research, events and advocacy. Despite having virtually no budget and daunting revenue targets to meet, we set up a Master’s level distance learning course to train teachers, in partnership with the Open University; we won research funding to collect evidence about media learning; we commissioned classroom resources for teaching about film and television at all levels of education, and we ran an ambitious programme of events for both teachers and learners at the National Film Theatre.

For the entitlement agenda it seemed to me that our advocacy had to focus on the study of moving image media rather than insisting on the orthodox view that media education always had to deal with all forms of media. Specialist courses for older students were able to do this: teachers of the 5-14 age group clearly were not. In any case, studying words on a page –or even on a screen– was only an extension of traditional literacy teaching. Enabling children in this age-group to study films and television, and create video in the classroom, would be the big breakthrough that would fundamentally challenge traditional approaches to literacy. I was savagely criticised by a minority of «old school» media educators (Masterman, 2002) for allegedly attempting to return to what was, bizarrely, seen as an old-fashioned and even elitist attempt to undermine the radical tradition of media education; my reply provides a more extensive account and rationale for the BFI’s work at that stage than can be offered here (Bazalgette, 2002).

But the impetus to return to moving image as a central focus came from other sources too. In 1999 the director of the Government’s new National Literacy Strategy for primary schools4 asked us how we thought film might relate to print media. Perhaps surprisingly, they were not interested in films being used as a stimulus to discussion or to writing, and they were particularly irritated by the widespread practice of using clips from feature films for this purpose. Rather, they thought it would be helpful for children to engage with films as films, and to watch and discuss complete films, in order to grapple with concepts like narrative or genre. They weren’t at all interested in the idea of film as a stimulus for writing or to help teach traditional literacy. Like us, they were interested in films as texts: to be viewed and discussed in a classroom context, so that they could be re-viewed and analysed in order to deepen children’s understanding. As the Literacy Strategy stipulated an hour of literacy teaching each day, the obvious answer was to use films that were short enough to show repeatedly in that hour, appropriate for children in terms of subject-matter and language, but also rich and complex enough to reward repeated viewing and analysis. Most short films do not meet these criteria, so finding them –let alone clearing the rights– was a considerable challenge. But over the period 2001 to 2007 we published seven film anthologies for schools, each supported by teaching notes and each aimed at one phase of the 3-14 age range. We switched from video to DVD after the first two, and from print to online support materials for teachers, and in the end we provided a total of 55 films, mostly not made for children, and sourced from around the world. Conventional marketing was impossible with no budget: so we offered intensive training courses for people who could lead the development of moving image education at local authority level, rather than by appealing directly to teachers in schools. Between 2005 and 2007, we trained over 150 people from 61 local authorities who between them by 2007 had invested over £1,200,000 in our training and resources (BFI, 2008).

8. Where next?

Unfortunately the new start initiated by Woodward in 1999 started to unravel after only four years, and BFI Education once more had to endure successive internal power struggles and policy reverses. Policy currently takes the form of a UK Film Council-led strategy for film education5, within which the various agencies with a responsibility for film education are meant to cooperate more systematically. These include the BFI, Film Education, nine Regional and National Screen Agencies, the First Light fund which supports filmmaking by children and youth, and Film Club, which provides free DVD loans to schools for after-school screenings. An estimated £7 million per annum of state money is currently going into film education, while media education (or media literacy as it is called in the 2003 Communications Act), is the responsibility of the regulator for broadcasting and telecoms and is fast being swallowed up in the new excitement about «digital inclusion». But all this could change again after the 2010 general election and a possible UK Film Council-BFI merger.

The current arrangements contain a built-in tendency to pull film education and media education apart. What is lacking is a coherent policy centred on learners rather than on providers. Learners experience media as a continuum from books to YouTube, and are entitled not just to exciting glimpses behind the scenes and having fun with the latest software, but also to accessing a breadth of media products and developing the critical skills they need to analyse, evaluate and if necessary challenge the media representations they encounter. Such a policy is unlikely to be generated by a small cultural body like the BFI, whose quixotic efforts were probably always doomed to be partial and inadequate, and it certainly isn’t the media industries themselves, whose attitude to education that encourages critical analysis of their own products is always going to be ambivalent at best. The proper champion for such an agenda would be the Department for Children, Schools and Families (i.e. the education ministry). It is in fact starting to show an interest in adding «media literacy» to its remit, although whether this will survive a General Election in 2010 remains to be seen.

So as the sun goes down on the analogue age, our understanding of the media themselves, and how people use them, let alone how we ought to learn about them, looks set to change all over again. We are still at the dawn of the digital age: technological predictions abound, but it is what people do with the technologies that will make all the difference.


1 Here and elsewhere in this paper I am indebted to Terry Bolas’ (2009) unique and invaluable account of the development of film appreciation in the UK.

2 For a list of summer schools in this key period see Cook & North (1981).

3 «O» Level meant Ordinary Level and was the general title of the General Certificate of Education (GCE) examinations taken by 16 year olds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland until the mid-1980s.

4 For more information about the Strategies (at least in their present form) see the National Strategies at www.nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/primary/primaryframework/literacyframework (03-12-09).

5 See www.21stcenturyliteracy.org.uk (03-12-09).


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