Class of Mum and Dad - A class act of a documentary

According to my kids, they usually don't do anything at their primary school, and when they do get round to doing something, it's always boring.
Mark and his two sons, from Channel 4s Class of Mum and DadMark and his two sons, from Channel 4s Class of Mum and Dad
Mark and his two sons, from Channel 4s Class of Mum and Dad

If Ofsted were alerted to this, I’m sure they would have something to say, but judging by Class of Mum and Dad (Channel 4, Tuesdays, 8pm), I think the kids may have been exaggerating.

A group of parents have somehow been talked into going back to the classroom at their children’s primary school, Blackrod Primary, near Wigan.

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They have to do the same lessons, abide by the same rules, and most frighteningly, do the same tests, as their children.

As class teacher Mrs Mead says: “I don’t think a lot of parents understand what happens when we close those doors at 9 o’clock.”

It’s an illuminating hour, as the parents immediately regress to their old school selves, whether that’s the class rebel, the maths whizz, or the quiet one – the target of bullies.

In fact, many parents have to confront their fears, which increases their understanding of the challenges their children, and their teacher, are facing.

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It brings home how much has changed since I went to primary school 35 years ago, some things for the better – particularly the school environment, full of light and colour and space – and some for the worse – the incessant testing, and the emphasis on academic attainment.

The programme came to life when the kids got involved – a reminder of how amazing they are, how open they are to everything, and how their minds are formed by the adults in their lives, for good or ill.

The headteacher, Mr Drybrugh, says it best: “Every child has a value equal to the others, so we try to give them the opportunity to thrive.”

Living With the Brainy Bunch (BBC2, Thursday, 8pm) was an exploration of what happened when two apathetic teens were sent to live with, well, brainy people. No depth or wisdom. The show, not the teens.

So, Marcella (ITV, Mondays, 9pm) has ended. It answered some questions, swerved more, completely ignored another couple, and then asked a whole new set of posers. Bonkers, but deliciously so.