Meet Timm Dadds, head teacher at Cwmrhydyceirw Primary School and winner of Teacher of the Year at the 2020 Into Film Awards.
After seeing the incredible transformation that Into Film's resources were making to the children in his school, Timm became a strong advocate for film in education. In 2020, for the very first time, film was recognised as a discipline in the school curriculum in Wales.
Film enriches every aspect of our learning and helps ensure our children are ready for a 21st-century workplace.Timm Dadds, head teacher at Cwmrhydyceirw Primary School
"Film has enabled us to move forward our whole school curriculum" says Timm Dadds, head teacher at Cwmrhydyceirw Primary School and winner of Teacher of the Year at the 2020 Into Film Awards. "It enriches every aspect of our learning and helps ensure our children are ready for a 21st-century workplace."
This thriving school in Swansea has come a long way since Timm and colleagues began working with Into Film in 2012. Back then, it all started with a few film screenings. "We saw the potential in running a small film club," says Timm. "But soon we realised how much potential there was to make a much bigger difference in the school."
Following a successful pilot project, where staff started using Into Film resources to help plan and deliver lessons, it was clear that this new way of learning was paying dividends. "We could all see the positive outcomes for children - not just in their academic work, but also in their engagement and confidence. It wasn't hard to win people over!"
What makes film so successful in the classroom?
"There are none of the barriers to engagement that you sometimes get with more traditional learning" explains Timm. "Discussing a film, understanding characters and talking about stories is accessible for everyone it breaks down barriers and motivates children to learn."
Today, Into Film's classroom resources are used across all subject areas, teachers at the school have even helped create new resources that other schools can access on the Into Film website. Cwmrhydyceirw Primary School is leading in other ways too.
Changing national policy
Alongside Into Film, Timm was asked by policymakers in Wales to share his knowledge of the positive impact of film on learning, and he subsequently helped advise on bringing film into the new national curriculum. Today, for the first time, film has been recognised as a discipline in the Welsh school curriculum.
This, he believes, could benefit all children across the country. Closer to home, he can already see the positive outcomes.
For pupils, the introduction of film into the classroom has boosted literacy, language and communication. "There are also huge possibilities to use film to help deal with emotional and mental wellbeing in school," says Timm. From internet safety to anti-bullying, he believes there is so much potential for film to make a positive impact on these children's lives.
Into Film have offered us so much, and made such a difference. It's raised our visibility as a school, and that has been wonderful for staff, for parents, and for our wider community.Timm Dadds, head teacher at Cwmrhydyceirw Primary School
Through Into Film, there has also been lots of trips, including visits to film studios to go behind the scenes, where we have seen the huge variety of jobs; from graphics to props, and editing and sound to costume design.
"Into Film have offered us so much, and made such a difference," says Timm. "It's raised our visibility as a school, and that has been wonderful for staff, for parents, and for our wider community. It has made us all feel proud."