Teaching’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it - and luckily for headteacher Jonny Mitchell, he’s got a dedicated team of staff that are slowly pulling Thornhill Community Academy in Dewsbury up through the Ofsted rankings.
And why do we care so much about this particular school’s performance? Because last year, Educating Yorkshire left such a last impacting on TV viewers, thanks to the charismatic students and the enthusiastic teachers who persevered with them.
The format of show barely changed each week - cameras focused on one particularly badly behaved pupil, turned it into light entertainment, and had us rooting for said pupil by the end of the programme. In fact so rooting were we for the show, that in January of this year, the ’stars’ of Educating Yorkshire got a real taste of fame when they accepted the award for Best Documentary Programme at the National Television Awards.
But what became of political-leader-in-the-making Ryan, ’I shaved all my eyebrows off’ Bailey, or Musharaf, who managed to overcome his acute stammer in that tear-jerking final episode of the series?
As if those lovely people at Channel 4 have heard our ponderings, next week sees a special one-off programme air so that we can catch up with show favourites.
Cameras follow Musharaf who’s now at college and following his dream of becoming a teacher, while Sheridan is learning to drive and hoping to finally achieve that elusive C-grade in Maths, having re-sat the exam a year after leaving Thornhill. And Bailey is dreaming of enrolling on a singing course at Leeds College of Music.
Meanwhile, chatterbox Robbie Joe and latte-loving Ryan are still in school and continue to leave their mark.
The programme also catches up with the teachers, though, and as well as hearing from Mr Mitchell, teachers including Mr Burton and Mr Steer give their thoughts, as they prepare for the end of the school year, and those all-important exams.
And speaking of exams, the programme also follows a selection of students today, on August 21 - a date etched into their brains as being results day - as they find out how they did in their GCSEs.
For Mr Mitchell, it’s been a whirlwind year, but his new-found fame hasn’t in any way gone to his head. He knows he’s still got a long way to go with Thornhill, and we suspect he’ll be around for a while longer yet.
“I love working with children, and I love working with like-minded adults,” he explained last year. “I’m blessed that I’ve got a staff body here who are, to a man and a woman, highly professional, really engaged, want to see the best for the kids, work phenomenally hard, and make my life far easier than a lot of headteachers have it.
“I get paid to come to work and do a job that I love doing. The first day that I walk into school of a morning and think, ”I don’t want to be here today“ is the time that I think headteacher is not the role for me anymore.”
EDUCATING YORKSHIRE: ONE YEAR ON (Channel 4, August 21, 9pm)