Jamie’s Dream School Episode 5 Review: Progress (ish)

JAMIE’S DREAM SCHOOL: Wednesday 30th March, C4, 9pm

We’re nearing the end of Jamie’s Dream School now and it has to be said that the chef’s project actually seems to be making an impression on some of the kids. Yes, a lot of them are still hard to control and could do with a GCSE in “shut the fuck up!”, but they’re all engaging with things that they would previously have ridiculed.  “Just because they get an opportunity, doesn’t mean they know how to take it..â€? says Jamie at the start of the episode – just as well that the Dream School provides opportunities that are easier to grasp than the handles of the knives Jamie presents them with then, isn’t it?

Don’t worry, Jamie isn’t actually arming the disaffected youth of the nation, he’s teaching them cooking, and the knives are being used to prepare a dish. Bet you were already looking up Kevlar on eBay weren’t you? You cynical lot. He teaches the kids to cook by using a revolutionary new method of making them cook and, unbelievably, they liked it. Apparently learning to cook is much more fun than learning about cooking, better write that one down.

We also see Dr Robert Winston teaching what seems to be a combination of sex education and biology. Winston needs some semen and, after prolonged negotiation, finds a willing teenager who selflessly agrees to masturbate in order to produce a sample. Bless him; he clearly didn’t want to do it. Unsurprisingly, the kids jump at the chance to say ‘cum’ in a lesson without getting told off and don’t even complain when asked to perform what is basically masturbation on a group of poor, unsuspecting sea urchins. This lesson once again reinforces what seems to be the theme of the series – that learning through doing things is much more fun than having a teacher talk at you for half-an-hour straight. You don’t have to have ADD to find that boring.

Unfortunately, Simon Callow is still struggling and Chloe in particular isn’t helping. If she was reading from the pages, she could have finished the whole of Romeo and Juliet on her own with the amount she talks in one lesson. But Simon soldiers on and gets pretty much nothing done at all.

Basically, what you learn from Jamie’s Dream School is that kids find things much easier to take on board if they don’t seem really boring – which is one of those things that we pretty much all know but nobody has ever really done anything about. It’s not that Jamie has created a magical school where even the most unruly pupils suddenly want to learn, it’s that it’s a school where stuff actually happens in lessons and you don’t just get shunted from place to place until they eventually all become a monotonous blur. If more schools combined this sort of thing into their lesson plans, maybe some of these kids wouldn’t have ended up here in the first place?