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Students and parents backed us, say makers

CREATORS of The School say their intention was to discover what keeps teens in school.

As secondary school dropout rates are on the rise, director Liam McGrath and producer Tony Deegan set out to investigate the day to day workings of a 'normal' school.

Filming began in September 2008 and follows staff and students over the course of one academic year. The three-part documentary deals with an array of issues, including basic study struggles to a revolving door of students refusing to comply to the dress code, along with others coping with dyslexia and behavioural problems.

"We initially approached Mr Gaffney in April 2008 to discuss the idea with him.

"He was initially very reluctant to be involved, but after shooting for two weeks, we did a little pilot with a 10-minute cut to present to him," Liam told the Herald.

"After one month of filming in September, we presented a second pilot to the teachers and school board, who voted whether or not to allow the cameras in.

"The response was very, very positive from both students and parents.

"We then sent out a letter to every student's parents outlining exactly what it wanted to do, then when they approved, the cameras were rolled in.

"Students in general were quite receptive to filming, but there were one or two that didn't want to be filmed.

"It was mostly the girls who didn't want to be seen without any make up."

hnews@herald.ie