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ET is TES readers' top film choice

A vote by teachers to find the children's film with greatest appeal revealed some surprises, says Dorothy Lepkowska.

When asked to choose the film their pupils absolutely had to see, TES readers had few doubts.

ET polled 232 votes, almost a hundred more than the second favourite, Billy Elliot, on 145. Teachers were asked to send in their top five choices after the British Film Institute published an exemplary list of 10 films every child should see by the age of 14.

The institute's list will be launched at a debate at London's Barbican Centre on Wednesday.

The two movies, together with Kes, The Princess Bride and Spirited Away featured on both lists. But teachers also remembered their own childhood favourites.

The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book were all in the top 10, as were Shrek and the original Star Wars film released in 1977.

Falling just outside the top 10 list were The Lion King, The Sound of Music, Toy Story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Railway Children.

Surprisingly perhaps, the Harry Potter films came in 23rd with combined votes of just 26.

Kirikou et la Sorci re, the joint venture from France, Belgium and Luxembourg listed by the BFI in its top 10, did not impress our readers, polling just 11 votes.

Other BFI favourites, the Swedish film My Life as a Dog and the Iranian production Where is my Friend's House, polled 23 and 16 votes respectively and were way down the readers' list.

Ray Wilkinson, head of performing and media arts at St Edmund's RC school in Dover, who teaches film studies, said that visual arts were crucial to children's development. He said the curriculum tended to categorise literature and drama in terms of high and low status, with little acknowledgment of the merits in non-classical arts.

"There is a tendency to believe that the classics are high status, but young people also need to see how their own cultural heritage is being depicted because that is what they relate to," he said.

"Visual arts aid transferable life skills. They can make children more analytical and more sensitive, and it allows them to access different ideas and cultures in a way other art forms never could.

"As such, therefore, film has colossal merit in its own right."

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The TES poll included a competition to win vouchers to spend on DVDs or videos at Movie Mail,

First prize of pound;100 in vouchers goes to Claire Mooney, of East Kirkby, Liverpool.

Runners-up prizes of pound;50 vouchers go to: Lynne Pratt Edinburgh; J Bamber Glossop; Hannah Lake Northlands junior school, Basildon, Essex; Zea Wilkins Ridgeway school, Plymouth, Devon; Sai'da Thompson Ilford, Essex; Liam Fitzpatrick Burntwood, Staffs; Tracey Crossland Calverley, Leeds; Mariam Dunlop Gateshead; Deborah Thompson South Norwood, London; Kristina Howells Chatham, Kent.

The list of top 50 films as voted by TES readers can be seen on For tickets to the Barbican debate, call 0845 1207527

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