The BAFTA-winning hit Channel 4 show Educating Greater Manchester is returning to screens for a brand new series tonight, but it’s been a bumpy ride to get here.
Harrop Fold School in Little Hulton is once again opening its doors to the British public.
The first series of the Greater Manchester instalment of the fly-on-the-wall documentary show aired back in 2017, which makes this new series the first time the Educating… programme has returned to the same facility more than once.
Despite the late-2020 air date, filming for this new series actually took place in the school back in 2018, but the episodes were put on hold from hitting screens during what was a tumultuous time for the institution and senior leadership staff.
The school was placed into ‘special measures’ by education standards board Ofsted, and was then being investigated over ‘off-rolling’ allegations suggesting children were removed from the register to make the institution appear like it was achieving better results than it was in reality.
Four members of senior staff were subsequently suspended amid investigations, with Headmaster and show figure-head Drew Povey eventually tendering his resignation shortly after.
Announcing his stepping down from the role formally via Twitter in 2018, Mr Povey said at the time: “It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing to tender my resignation as executive head of Harrop Fold School with immediate effect.
“As you are aware, there is an investigation under way.
He continued: “Despite the alleged need for swift action to be taken earlier in the year, the investigation process itself has been allowed to drag on, causing damage to the reputation of the school and to me personally. Parents and pupils are unsettled, and the media are speculating as to what has gone on that is so serious to warrant my suspension and that of three other members of staff.
“I am at a loss to understand the ‘heavy handed’ approach adopted by the council, which appears to have completely ignored the best interests of the students, staff and school.”
Harrop Fold School has since been taken under the wing of the United Learning Academy Trust.
The prospect of the pre-filmed episodes ever making it to screens was all very up in the air, but now, just over two years after the situation unfolded, Channel 4 has given the green light to begin showing the series from this evening.
So, what can viewers expect from the first episode hitting screens this evening?
According to the official Channel 4 preview, the series offers “a real but warm snapshot of life in a British school”.
“There is also a catch-up with some of the much-loved pupils from the previous series: cheeky Vincent, who’s now going into Year 10 and claims he’s a reformed character; and Katelyn, who struggled to focus last time but now wants to get her head down.
“The series also explore the ups and downs through the eyes of some of the teachers.”
“The school’s Year 7s already have a reputation among staff for being the naughtiest yet. There’s Jacob who opens up about his struggles with dyslexia [and] the school is on high alert after a member of the public calls in claiming to have seen a Harrop Fold pupil with a knife, forcing Mr Povey and his staff to instigate bag searches to find the culprit.
“Year 9 Katelyn is desperate to become a midwife but keeps bunking off lessons [and] Mr Povey worries that if she doesn’t knuckle down she will end up missing out on her dream.
“And the staff crack down on pupils at the centre of a lucrative black market at the school, selling chocolate sweets and drinks to their classmates.”
Educating Greater Manchester is airing on Channel 4 tonight at 9:15pm.
Incredible misty drone footage shows how Manchester earned its ‘Manctopia’ nickname
Drone footage captured from way above Manchester shows just how quickly the city has grown – and proves that our hometown is well on its way to earning its ‘Manctopia’ nickname.
Cast your mind back just a few years and you’ll remember that Beetham Tower stuck out like a sore thumb, towering many storeys above the next tallest building.
In fact, until just four years ago, the next-tallest building here was City Tower, which was a good 17 storeys shorter than Beetham Tower.
Then along came Renaker with visions for an entirely new skyscraper neighbourhood – Deansgate Square.
This group of skyscrapers now completely dominate the Manchester skyline, with the tallest building a massive 65 storeys tall.
South Tower is not only the tallest building in Greater Manchester, it’s also the 10th tallest in the entire UK, and the biggest outside of London.
It’s all led to Manchester being coined ‘Manctopia’, the name of a BBC documentary that followed property developers Capital & Centric as they redevelop buildings around the region.
One local photographer has managed to capture the unbelievable scale of our new, ultra-modern city skyline, with drone footage soaring among the skyscrapers.
Known on Instagram as @lef_tsotour, they shared a video taken on a misty Manchester morning.
It captures both Deansgate Square, with sun glinting off the many windows of the towers, and the now-dwarfed Beetham Tower.
You can also see the railway lines snaking through the city centre, cars nipping around the ring road, and the comparatively small apartment blocks around Castlefield.
Commenting on the video, one person said: “This is mint.”
Another wrote: “Fricken love this!!!!”
Featured image: @lef_tsotour
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.