Switch on the telly for extra dose of Barking school

Headmaster Bob Garton with his whole school staff and pupils

Headmaster Bob Garton with his whole school staff and pupils - Credit: Archant

How does a school with more than 1,100 young children manage playtime?

That, apparently, is what Channel 5 bosses wondered too – as they’re about to air a series on Barking’s Gascoigne Primary School, the largest in Britain.

The Gascoigne Road school will be on the small screen tomorrow for the first episode of Britain’s Biggest Primary School, filmed over the past two school terms.

Series producer Rob McCabe, of Century Films, said: “Gascoigne is an incredibly inspiring primary school that has to cope with a huge intake of children from a myriad different backgrounds. This is a fascinating insight into how such a huge ship is kept afloat by its army of teachers and staff.”

The series will show how head Bob Garton and the rest of the 160 staff navigate issues like integration, bullying and general primary school mayhem.

It will also touch on the pupils’ own stories, both in and outside the classroom. Mr McCabe added: “The series tells a compelling story of childhood through the eyes of its pupils, the friendships, fallouts and classroom dramas that play such a big part in shaping their young lives.”

Other challenges include overseeing eight mobile classrooms and four playgrounds with different playtime shifts, the steady stream of new arrivals throughout the term and having 90 minutes to feed more than a thousand hungry children. It’s also one of the most ethnically diverse schools in the country with children speaking more than 60 languages at home.