• Entertainment
  • Documentary
  • Reality television
Created byTwofour
Directed by
  • David Clews
  • Nicola Brown
  • Alex Kohler
StarringVarious students and teachers
Voices ofDavid Clews
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series6
No. of episodes47 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Andrew MacKenzie-Betty
  • Peter Moore
  • David Clews
  • Jonno
  • Paul
Camera setup
  • Multi camera
  • Dual cameras
Running time60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production companyTwofour
Original release
NetworkChannel 4
Release22 September 2011 (2011-09-22) –
17 November 2020 (2020-11-17)
Our School

Educating... is a British documentary reality television programme airing on Channel 4 which first aired on 22 September 2011, the show has been running for five series. It uses a fly-on-the-wall format to show the everyday lives of the staff and pupils of secondary schools all over the UK.

Series overview

Main article: List of Educating episodes

SeriesTitleEpisodesOriginally airedAverage viewers
First airedLast aired
1Essex722 September 2011 (2011-09-22)3 November 2011 (2011-11-03)1.99
2Yorkshire105 September 2013 (2013-09-05)21 August 2014 (2014-08-21)3.46
3The East End84 September 2014 (2014-09-04)23 October 2014 (2014-10-23)1.44
4Cardiff825 August 2015 (2015-08-25)13 October 2015 (2015-10-13)1.71
5Greater Manchester831 August 2017 (2017-08-31)19 October 2017 (2017-10-19)2.54
6Greater Manchester 243 November 2020 (2020-11-03)17 November 2020 (2020-11-17)1.81

Series 1 (2011)

Main article: Educating Essex

Educating Essex was commissioned by Channel 4's commissioning editor for documentaries, Mark Raphael,[1] after the channel pledged an extra £6.7 million to documentary programming in 2011.[2] It is similar to other fly-on-the-wall series broadcast by Channel 4 such as One Born Every Minute, 24 Hours in A&E, The Hotel and The Family, the last of which both director David Clews and series producer Beejal-Maya Patel had previously worked on.[3]

Series 2 (2013–14)

Main article: Educating Yorkshire

Educating Yorkshire was commissioned by Channel 4 after the success of Educating Essex two years previously. There was interest from about 100 schools in starring in the new series. David Brindley, producer and director of the series, said "it was undoubtedly easier to find a school this time around". In January 2012, Jonny Mitchell, the headmaster of Thornhill Community Academy in Dewsbury accepted an offer to be a part of a new series based in his school.[4] The school had had a bad reputation, ranking in the sixth percentile of English schools.[5] Mitchell became headmaster in September 2011; in 2012 it reached the 94th percentile. This improvement was one of the reasons it was chosen for the series with Mitchell saying "I was proud of what we'd achieved and felt we had a story to tell".[4] Mitchell also said "Dewsbury has suffered quite a lot in the last ten or 15 years with some adverse press. I thought this was an opportunity for us to show the positive side of the town as well".[6]

Series 3 (2014)

Main article: Educating the East End

Educating the East End was commissioned by Channel 4 after the success of Educating Yorkshire in 2013 and Educating Essex in 2011. The documentary followed a school in East London's Walthamstow.[7] Ten sixty-minute episodes were commissioned;[7] the first eight were shown from September to October 2014 with the other two episodes acting as specials. The original title for the series was Educating Walthamstow but shortly before transmission the title was changed to Educating the East End.[8]

Series 4 (2015)

Main article: Educating Cardiff

The follow-up to Educating the East End was announced by Channel 4 on 9 December 2014.[9] Producers had looked to schools in Scotland, Ireland and Wales for the new series before settling on Willows High School in Cardiff. Executive producer David Clews revealed "you can really feel the charm and character of the place as soon as you walk through the gates and start talking to the students". Joy Ballard initially declined TwoFour's invitation before changing her mind a month later. In preparation for the programme she took advice from Johnny Mitchell, head of Thornhill Community Academy in Educating Yorkshire. The first six weeks of production saw the documentary makers observing the school and "picking up stories". Filming began in October and lasted until Christmas.[10]

Series 5 (2017)

Main article: Educating Greater Manchester

After the fourth series of the Educating series ended it was announced that the series would be shelved till 2017 to give the show a break and a rest.[11] It was announced on 22 December 2016 by Channel 4 that the Educating series would be returning in 2017 with a fifth series after a two-year break. The series was again filmed using fly-on-the-wall cameras and filmed the lives of teachers and students. The fifth series was filmed in Salford, Greater Manchester. The first trailer was released on 30 August 2017 with the series premiering on 31 August 2017 on Channel 4.

Series 6 (2020)

Main article: Educating Greater Manchester 2

Channel 4 confirmed in January 2018 that the Educating programme was renewed for two further series. For the first time, the series would return to the same school for the sixth and seventh series, in Manchester.[12] The sixth and seventh series were set to be filmed back to back, with the sixth series set to comprise 16 hour-long episodes.[13] However, after the school was placed into special measures by Ofsted in 2018 following reports of headmaster Drew Povey off-rolling students, Channel 4 later confirmed that the episodes would not be aired in light of the findings.[14] In 2020, it was revealed that Channel 4 would air the unaired episodes, beginning at 9:15pm on 3 November. The unaired episodes have been promoted as being a second series of Educating Greater Manchester.[15]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Result
2012 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Television Craft and Director Factual Won
2014 National Television Awards Documentary Won

Spin-off series

A spin-off series was made after the second series titled Educating: What I Wish I'd Known.... Each episode features a student from either series one or series two of Educating.... The series was made up of six seven-minute episodes. The tagline was "What is the advice you wish you could have given your teenage self?" Filmed in 2014, this series asks students from Educating Essex and Educating Yorkshire what they would have told their younger selves. However, the series was cancelled after one series.[16]


  1. ^ "Educating Essex". Twofour. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  2. ^ "C4 pledges extra £6.7m to docs". 18 February 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  3. ^ Dowell, Ben. "Educating Essex, Channel 4". In Focus. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b Manzoor, Sarfraz (15 August 2013). "Educating Yorkshire, Channel 4 Restoring our faith in education, The Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Educating Yorkshire, reality tv goes back to school, The Guardian". 26 August 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Educating Yorkshire airs Thursdays at 9 pm on Channel 4…". Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Educating Yorkshire producers plan next series in London school". The Guardian. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Channel 4's "Educating..." heads to East London – Channel 4 – Info – Press". Channel 4. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Educating Cardiff: Channel 4 heads to Wales for its next series". Radio Times. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  10. ^ "'We hope Educating Cardiff will change the perception some people have of our school". Wales Online. 14 June 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  11. ^ "C4's Educating series reportedly shelved until 2017". Digital Spy. 6 July 2016.
  12. ^ Gill, Emma (24 January 2018). "New series of Channel 4's Educating Greater Manchester to be filmed at Harrop Fold School". Manchester Evening News.
  13. ^ "Channel 4 Documentaries commissions brand new series Educating w/t - Channel 4 - Info - Press".
  14. ^ Dobson, Charlotte (24 October 2019). "There's a strict new regime at Harrop Fold school - and some parents aren't happy". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  15. ^ Darvill, Josh (21 October 2020). "Educating Manchester 2020 new series - start date and school revealed". TellyMix.
  16. ^ "Educating: What I Wish I'd Known...: Educating: What I Wish I'd Known..." Channel 4.