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Our Day Out and social deprivation.

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OUR DAY OUT by Willy Russell THEME "Our Day Out" deals with the issue of social deprivation - the lack of opportunity among young people in socially deprived areas. Russell wants the audience to realise that not all young people get the same chances in life. The pupils in the Progress Class have little hope for the future. Their lack of basic literacy and numeracy skills means they have little chance of passing any exams in a world where the prospect of getting a job increasingly depends on qualifications. Added to this, their difficult home circumstances make it difficult for them to learn: they live in homes where there is little money or parental support for education. For some of the children, there is no male role model to teach them how to take their place in society. The man with whom they have the most contact is Mr. Briggs, someone whose attitudes and experience is so far removed from theirs, they cannot relate to him. For the pupils of the Progress Class, growing up in Liverpool in the 1970s, options are very limited and they are generally destined for long-term unemployment. SUMMARY "Our Day Out" tells the story of a group of pupils from the Progress Class in a school in Liverpool, spending a day out, to visit Conway Castle in Wales. ...read more.


His day out would be planned like a military operation, with no chance to change the arrangements and no opportunity for the pupils to have some responsibility. Unlike Mrs. Kay, Mr. Briggs makes no allowances for the pupils', ability or background. He does not consider the home life these children have, telling Digga and Reilly about the docks and ignoring the information that Reilly's father hates his job. Carol Chandler notices the way he looks at her and the other less able pupils in the school. He seems to dislike the children who do not conform to what he sees as his expectations of behaviour and academic success. In scene thirty five, when Carol is on the cliff top, it is clear that Mr. Briggs is totally out of touch with Carol and children like her, telling her he'll not put up with "a pile of silliness from the likes of you." He is not used to being challenged by children like Carol whom he simply expects will do as he says. Mr. Briggs is an idealist, believing that a day out must be totally planned and organised in terms of what the children learn. ...read more.


COLIN and SUSAN Colin and Susan are two young teachers who are full of enthusiasm for the job. They represent the future of education and offer some hope for the pupils of the Progress Class. Like Mrs. Kay, they seem to be on the side of the pupils and try to relate to them as people. Although they can relate to the children because they are probably not much older than them, their lives and experiences are very different. They are educated professionals with job security and this is something that the Progress Class will not achieve. They are also supporters of Mrs. Kay, so it seems clear that Russell wants us to sympathise with their view of teaching. PUPILS IN THE PROGRESS CLASS All the children come from deprived backgrounds - most have fathers who have left home and money is a problem. Pupils like Brian Reilly have learned to read and write but have few prospects of getting a job. Reilly also knows that he could never offer anything to someone like Susan, just as Linda knows "Sir" is unobtainable. Some pupils are lively, outspoken and cheeky, able to speak up for themselves but generally their future prospects are limited. Their attitudes, experiences and backgrounds help to reveal Willy Russell's central concern. ...read more.

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