10 greats, but will any win?

5th December 2008 at 00:00

Dead Poet's Society (1989)

Robin Williams' poetry-loving English teacher taught a generation the meaning of the words "carpe diem", and continues to act as lure to teacher training. One teacher who voted for it said: "It stays with me in every classroom I enter."

Clockwise (1986)

The tale of an uncompromising head's disastrous journey to a conference gets mentioned at almost every gathering of headteachers. Scripted by Michael Frayn, it is the favourite of Mick Brookes, National Association of Head Teachers general secretary. "It makes me laugh and it's so accurate about school life," he said. In a curious case of life imitating art, the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference gained its first chairman who would run a state school this year - although that also ended in chaos.

Kes (1969)

Ken Loach's classic could be included just for Brian Glover's memorably sadistic PE teacher. Paul Ashton, Teachers TV commissioning editor, chose it because he began teaching when it came out in cinemas and it reflected his belief in the importance of comprehensives. "It showed how low expectations were for pupils like Billy Caspar and that we needed a different type of school," he said.

Half Nelson (2006)

A daring alternative to the hero-teacher-in-tough-school movie. Ryan Gosling's drug-addicted teacher might mean well, but is far from the role-model his pupils need - and viewers may even find themselves wishing his lessons stuck to the curriculum. Dangerous Minds this ain't.

To Sir, with Love (1967)

Sidney Poitier takes on a challenging class at a school in London's East End in this unsentimental drama. It was banned in South Africa, where it was considered "offensive to see a black male teaching a class of white children".

Etre et Avoir (2002)

The documentary that led many British primary teachers to wish they worked in a French village school, and could teach pupils at their own pace.

Goodbye, Mr Chips (1939)

The first, and best, screen version of the book about an inspirational teacher who recalls on his death bed how much he has given to his pupils.

The History Boys (2006)

Certain to get a vote from staff at Watford Grammar Schools for Boys and the neighbouring girls school, where it was filmed, despite being set in Sheffield. Stephen Hussey, director of music at the boys school, is among staff members who appeared several times in the background, dressed as teachers from the 1980s. Mr Hussey said the film's central clash between two history teachers showed that "there are two different natures of teaching, which are different sides of a coin, and are both valid".

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)

Headstrong eccentric broadens the minds of her "gels", but her troublesome penchant for fascism and love affairs leads to her comeuppance. Unforgettably performed by Maggie Smith.

Entre Les Murs (The Class) 2008

A curious inclusion on Teachers TV's long-list, as it will not be released in UK cinemas until February. But the film provides an extraordinarily realistic depiction of classroom life and - unlike nearly every other school film - largely consists of classroom scenes showing a teacher teaching. Its star, Francois Begaudeau, taught in schools in Paris and wrote the semi-autobiographical book on which it is based.

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