World’s largest school film fest comes to Newham

Schools in Newham plan to move their lessons from the classroom to the cinema this month for National Schools Film Week, taking students to free screenings in Stratford and Beckton.

Stratford Picturehouse, on Gerry Raffles Square, and the Newham Showcase, on Jenkins Lane, invite primary and secondary school children from around the borough to watch films for free from October 13 to 21.

So far, students from Carpenters Primary, NewVIc, St Angela’s Ursuline, Kensington Primary, Cumberland, Godwin Junior, Grange Primary, Hartley Primary, St Antony’s Catholic Primary and Roman Road Primary schools are weaving films as diverse as The King’s Speech, Kung Fu Panda and Gnomeo and Juliet into their curriculum.

Dominic Voyce, general manager of Stratford Picturehouse, said: “Film Week offers children the opportunity to gain a greater awareness of different types of films.

“It also gets parents involved with the school trip and see how film can help as a part of education.”

Stratford Picturehouse are kicking off the festival showing a short called “Africa United” followed by panel discussion with UK HIV representatives issues raised in the film.

The festival, which is in its 16th year, is the largest film festivals for schools in the world hosting 2,500 screenings at 570 cinemas across the UK.

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Nick Walker, festival director of National Schools Film Week, said: “Our hope is for teachers and students to feel massively engaged in the Festiva, as it is an incredible opportunity not only to build the adventurous, film-loving audience of the future but also to develop the kinds of passion in young people more llikely to make them more receptive to this collectively experienced art form.”

To book for your school and to use the online teaching resources, visit