CJZ produces landmark series on Australian schooling

ABC TV, 8.30pm – May 31, June 7, 14, 21

In an Australian TV first, CJZ has produced a landmark series for the ABC that was filmed over an entire year inside a public secondary school in Victoria.

REVOLUTION SCHOOL, a four-part documentary series that investigates how to improve education in Australia, starts Tuesday May 31 at 8.30pm on the ABC.

The series follows Kambrya College, a typical high school in the outer Melbourne suburb of Berwick, and gives unprecedented insight into the challenges and complexities of improving outcomes for Australian school children.

The series was filmed with roving cameras, as well as two fixed rig cameras in the offices of senior members of the teaching staff.

The CJZ crew of four, who were at Kambrya every day of the 2015 school year, were allowed extraordinary access by Kambrya College principal Michael Muscat and became embedded in the school community.

The series gives an honest, raw portrayal of life in an Australian school and captures the daily dramas and triumphs in a way not seen before.

The series is timely, screening over four weeks during the Federal election campaign where education policy is a major issue.

Overall, Australian school children are falling behind their overseas counterparts on international testing scores, so Kambrya’s story holds lessons for schools and teachers, parents and students, across the nation.

CJZ was commissioned to make the series after winning a tender process conducted by the ABC in 2014. The ABC wanted a nationally significant series on the state of Australian education as seen through the prism of a typical Australian school.

Executive producer Michael Cordell says CJZ is proud to have made a series that illustrates in graphic detail how hard teachers work to improve the lives and educational outcomes of students.

“We hope it will spark a national debate about the best way to educate our children,’’ Cordell says.

“It was a privilege to be allowed such unprecedented access into a school and we’re thankful to Kambrya College, its teachers and students, for trusting us to make this film about their journey of improvement.’’

Series producer Alex West says it was a challenging but rewarding series to make. “As filmmakers our job was to begin as outsiders, and maintain that sense of distance and objectivity, whilst becoming a very familiar and intimate part of the school community,’’ West says.

“That meant a huge focus on building and maintaining trusting relationships with students and teachers alike.’’

Kambrya is a large school, with more than 1100 students from 42 different nationalities. There are high achievers who aim to get into the toughest university courses, but also kids at risk of dropping out and others with serious behavioural and learning difficulties.

Kambrya College was chosen because, under the leadership of Michael Muscat, it has been working hard for several years to transform itself from a school that was at the bottom of the academic rung in 2008.

In 2015 the school received support from leading education academics from the University of Melbourne, including internationally renowned Professor John Hattie, who understand what works best to improve student outcomes.

Production credits: Executive Producer, Michael Cordell; Series Producer, Alex West; CJZ Director of Production, Toni Malone; ABC Commissioning Editor, Anita Brown. Produced with the assistance of Film Victoria and Screen Australia.

For further information and interviews contact Jenny McAsey on Ph 0413 678 299 or [email protected]

Preview episodes are available for viewing on request.

For images visit abc.net.au/tvpublicity.