Pupils and their teachers have embarked on an extraordinary time-travelling adventure through seven eras of British history. Starting out in the age of Empire in 1895, they've lived lessons, life and dinners all the way through to the end of the 1990s, with their school as their time machine. Now they're returning for one last adventure. In this final episode of the series, the class and teachers return to school for their very own reunion party, where they'll be joined by presenter Sara Cox and social historian Polly Russell. As pupils, teachers and families celebrate together, they'll reflect on over 100 years of time travel, and explore how the legacy of the past lives on in the schools of today. But their journey isn't over yet, as our intrepid class of pupils set off to explore what the future of the classroom might look like. They'll experience the cutting-edge possibilities of virtual classrooms and contend with the unsettling notion of lessons run by artificial intelligence.
Our pupils and teachers arrive in their final time-travelling decade, the 1990s. Ready to embrace the decade that gave us girl power, Brit pop, Oasis, Blur and the Gladiators, our pupils arrive at their comprehensive school. Their first lesson taps into a moment of pop culture we all remember - Italia '90, and the pupils take the chance to trade football stickers. The canteen is still stocked sky-high with fast food and in this era they'll have potato smiley faces and turkey drummers added to the menu, along with cans of apple Tango and bottles of Panda Pops cherryade. In 1992, they have a treat in store, as a very special guest from the Gladiators joins them to kick-start the eliminator with a blow on her whistle. By the mid-'90s, it's time for the class to connect with the wider world and embrace the joys of fundraising. As the world becomes more accessible, their computer class gives them the chance to connect to the dial-up modem and access the very first world wide web.
Our pupils and teachers arrive in the 1980s. The focus of teaching is all about competition, entrepreneurialism and technology. Their first lesson embraces the technological revolution as the teacher unveils a cutting edge gadget, a 2XL robot. With the latest BBC microcomputers making their way into schools in 1982, this very 21st-century tech-addicted class try out a new math program. In 1983, with the arrival of affordable synthesisers, the class get the chance to embrace the booming synthpop industry in the UK in their music lesson. And there's a very special guest, Nik Kershaw, who listens to them playing some smash hits, before performing his own song especially for them. Inspired by their new love for synth, the kids, parents and teachers rock out to some of the most iconic tunes of the decade at their very '80s school disco. In 1985, the teachers go on strike, so the kids head to a local park where they get stuck in to a class '80s past-time, breakdancing to Run DMC.
Our time-travelling pupils and teachers arrive in the 1970s. It's out with the old and in with the new as they leave behind their 1960s Secondary Modern and embrace the experimental '70s and a comprehensive. In their first lesson, the boys and girls are finally mixed, as they learn about commerce and air travel; complete with a life-size model plane structure in the classroom. Role playing sees some of the class try their hand at being a pilot, air hostess or air traffic control, while others are confined to being the passengers and commenting on the service. In 1973, thanks to the bold demands of the Schools Action Union, this comprehensive becomes a free school and abandoning the rules has the teachers more than a little worried. Changing attitudes in the '70s mean that our class are taught progressive new ideas. Embracing diversity, dissecting the words of Pink Floyd, complete with incense burning, and digging up worms on the school playing field, are all part of the experience.
Our time-travelling class arrives in 1960. With a brand new decade, comes a new school for our pupils - the Secondary Modern. Leaving behind the rigidity and formality of the post-war grammar, they are now training for a more vocational future. For the girls this means an introduction to typewriting, and for the boys, bricklaying. There was no escaping the basics, as our class find out in maths. One of the few lessons in which boys and girls were mixed, there's widespread confusion as they try to master the complex art of the slide rule; no calculators here! In 1963, there's a rebellion brewing as the girls are told they'll be cooking a meal in their very own purpose-built flat. The boys have been learning a skill deemed crucial for school leavers. Behind the wheel of mini, they've been learning to drive for the first time. As the decade draws to a close, friends, families, pupils and teachers get together in the school hall for the end of era dance.
Their time-travels begin in 1945 and World War II has ended, and a revolution in education has begun. Our class are now the pupils' of a post-war grammar. The first lesson begins with English for the girls, and while they might consider themselves lucky to finally be taught an academic subject. The class are given free school milk as part of a government health drive. History sees them learning ancient dates and historical events by heart. Despite more high-brow learning, the girls find they are still being educated in more delicate subjects of the curriculum, without the boys. Taking part in a deportment and etiquette lesson, practising balancing books on their heads and enunciating social behaviours may not seem useful them now, but their next lesson of 1950s style sex-ed is an eye-opener. As the decade progresses, our class head out to embrace the rock and roll culture where it's all fashion, food, milkshakes and music.
Our time-travelling pupils and teachers return to their school as they prepare to enter the interwar wears. Starting in 1918, their lessons begin with the language of peace, Esperanto. As the pupils grapple with strange new words, the teacher struggles to master the latest teaching resource - a wind-up gramophone. In 1920, the pupils line up for a bizarre school medical, having their lung capacity and even head circumference measured as a sign of their intelligence. The headmaster announces a surprising treat, it's time for the class to take their compulsory nap. There's a mutiny in the classroom as its announced boys will learn science and make a model zeppelin, while the girls tend to dolls and fold nappies. The boys have a surprise in store when they start their PE lesson in 1937, with a routine inspired by the Hitler Youth. Military training in schools signals an impending war, and so the boys take part in a patriotic march.
Their experience begins in 1895. The smell of coal burners wafts down the corridor, and a portrait of Queen Victoria hangs proudly in the school hall. Our class discover what it was like for the lucky 4 percent of children able to attend school in this period, when education was still seen as a preserve for the rich, but a handful of schools offered affordable places to ordinary families for the first time. With the death of Queen Victoria in 1902, the pupils and teachers enter into the Edwardian era. Segregation is common place in schools at this time, so our pupils' are separated for gender-specific learning. In 1904, the class and teachers gather with friends and family to celebrate Empire Day, a pageant common in schools throughout the Edwardian era. As their time-travels draw to a close in 1914, and the pupils reflect on their Victorian experience, the school holds a prize-giving ceremony.
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