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Why class star isn't watching himself on TV

The principal of RTE's The School, Eamon Gaffney, may be the star of the new show, but he has still only seen one episode.

Mr Gaffney said that due to a school trip last week, he missed the second episode of the documentary.

"I actually haven't seen the second episode yet because I was away on a school trip. It's great when you're on holidays and can just sit around watching TV, but the only reason I didn't catch it was because of previous commitments," he said.

"I'm happy enough with it though, I couldn't fault the production company, they did a very good job," he told the Herald.

Although Mr Gaffney said he is happy with the end result of the show, he was "disappointed" that the show focused on some of the more exciting issues rather than some of the mundane, day-to-day goings-on.

"I was slightly disappointed with the fact that they seemed to focus on a certain number of stories, particularly in the first episode. One side is slightly emphasised a bit too much, but that's the nature of the programme. It was intended to deal with issues.

"The show picks out a number of stories and follows those, but I'm sure most people would be disappointed to know that life goes on quite boringly here most of the time.

"Within the community, most parents are probably thinking, 'My children go there and they've never been in any trouble or bother'," he said.

"Most of the kids have said they think it's pretty cool. No doubt the people in the community and those outside see very different aspects of the show."

Various cameras were set up in the classrooms in order for the students to have 'diary sessions', where they could express their feelings about school or life in general.

"Most of the students are quite mature and it seemed that they appreciated having a voice to actually say what they think. I've spoken to a number of students since and they're all quite happy.

"The cameras were able to move around no big deal, they were very unobtrusive. We worked very well together, there was a good mutual respect.

Insight

"The primary aim is to encourage students to reach their full potential, at the end of the day."

Mr Gaffney said he was pleased that the series will offer a rare insight into school life today.

"A lot of people who have been out of school for a long time see changes in the system and really seem to have taken a keen interest in the show," he said.

"School has changed a lot in recent years. Most young people like school today, where as they didn't like it when I went. As a rule, the vast majority actually enjoy it, they enjoy mixing with others," he said.

Read Pat Stacey's TV review in tomorrow's Herald