Working together: the film producer. Gary Palmer talks to Warwick Mansell about how he animates pupils to use IT to the full
Tell us about yourself and your work in schools
I'm a production manager for Studio 163, a film company based in Bradford, west Yorkshire. We make a range of commercial, corporate and independent films, and have been working with schools through the Creative Partnerships scheme for four years now.
How many schools are you currently working with and how have you helped them?
Two: Hothfield Junior School in Bradford and Nab Wood School, a secondary in Bingley.
The junior school already had a good range of IT equipment, but the teachers needed help pushing the boundaries of what it could do. We help the school use IT across the curriculum. We have very good Apple iMac and MacBook technology, which we have used, for example, to capture movement on film, then animate it on screen.
We helped the secondary school run a film production module for GCSE media studies, which gave pupils the chance of an A* grade, when previously they had been limited to C grades at best.
Does this cost the schools anything?
No. Our time is paid for by Creative Partnerships. The school's commitment comes in the form of freeing up staff to work with us.
Have there been any problems?
We are a commercial business and very structured in what we do. Sometimes working with freelance artists who also visit the schools can be a struggle. Also, it can be a challenge working within schools' tight timetables.
There is a lot of talk of "failing schools" and slipping standards. As a visitor, what's your impression of the quality of education on offer?
We are quite a young business - most of our employees are between 25 and 28 - so we've been out of school for the past 10 years and are often surprised by the resources available to some schools.
But we find that teachers are under so much pressure. We can see them itching to do more work with us, but they are held back by constraints, including a lack of time.
Gary Palmer, 26, is involved in the Creative Partnerships scheme, which sends creative professionals into schools to enliven the curriculum.