Original English version with Italian subtitles
Arguably the most moving of the five Small Axe films, Education is the coming of age story of 12-year-old Kingsley, a boy with a fascination for astronauts and rockets. When Kingsley is called to the Headmaster’s office for disruptive behaviour in class, he is shocked to discover his transfer to a school for those with “special needs.” Distracted by working two jobs, his parents are unaware of what was an unofficial segregation policy at play, preventing many Black children from having the education they deserve until a group of West Indian women take matters into their own hands.
Education centers on the Smith family, Agnes (Sharlene Whyte) and Esmond (Daniel Francis) and their two children, 12-year-old Kingsley (Kenyah Sandy) and his teenage sister Stephanie (Tamara Lawrance). Initially, we find a family facing the consequences of parents having to work long hours and in the case of Agnes, a registered nurse, taking on cleaning jobs to makes ends meet. Education is vitally important to the hardworking parents as they know it will provide the futures they strive for and want for their children. But Agnes’ long hours and Esmond’s night shifts for the London Underground create a sense that they are passing each other by, unaware that they’ve stopped genuinely coming together as a family unit. When Kingsley is abruptly transferred from school and placed in an “Educationally Sub-Normal” (ESN) school by his headmaster, Agnes is led to believe by the same headmaster that Kingsley will receive more focused instruction in a smaller school. However, when a woman from an organization for parents of children sent to ESN schools visits Agnes, she comes to realize what has happened to her son and that it is part of a deeply rooted cultural bias against West Indian children.