Features / Articles
“Shines a light on a scarcely believable fact: that in the 21st century, in one of the most developed countries in the world, one in five children leave primary school unable to read or write properly” - Harriet Sherwood, The Observer / Guardian
“An unusually intimate insight not only into the daily life of a contemporary classroom but also into a national problem that’s provoking increasing alarm: the underperformance of white working class boys in this country.” - Rosa Silverman, The Telegraph
“Casting a spotlight on one of the biggest education scandals in Britain...heartbreaking” - Sian Griffiths, The Sunday Times
“It is a national scandal that the life chances of so many children are being doomed by their inability to read.” - Joanna Trollope, Author The Sunday Times - Letter to the Editor
“An energetic and urgent documentary, highlighting an important issue that receives far less attention than it warrants” - Talha Burki, The Lancet Journal
Blogs / Websites
Open City Documentary Festival: ‘Insights from Ed Owles on Impact and Engagement’
The Beanstalk Charity Blog: ‘Why ‘H is for Harry’ will be shedding the light on illiteracy this World Book Day’
HOUSE Magazine / Politics Home: ‘Seema Malhotra: World Book Day should renew the debate about early intervention’
TES Article: ‘Harry's story shows the challenge of illiteracy’
NBA's All-Time Leading Scorer, NY Times best-selling author, Columnist:
“I’ve been heavily involved in education reform in the U.S. for many years, through articles and books I’ve written, school visits around the country, and my own Skyhook Camp, which brings inner-city kids to the woods for a week of hands-on STEM education. Watching the brilliant and moving documentary H is for Harry about the struggles of one young boy in the English educational system has re-inspired my commitment to advocate even more for the kind of inclusive education this country—and every country—needs for children caught in the lower economic spectrum.
Directors Ed Owles and Jaime Taylor capture the challenges that the well-meaning teachers face with each student—and the terrible tragedy when some of those students slip away. The film is not a polemic, but a heartfelt journey that highlights the commitment we all need to make to help each child have a fair shot at success and happiness. This film should be mandatory for every teacher, administrator, parent, student, and concerned citizen.”
Dame Sue Robb
“A powerful and emotive film that made me smile and cry. The education world needs more thought provoking films like this”
Director of the National Literacy Trust:
“It is a national scandal that the life chances of so many children are being determined by their inability to read and where they are born. The national picture is stark but, as the film highlights, inequalities in literacy and social mobility are deeply entrenched within local communities. To give every child the best possible start in life, regardless of their background, we must take urgent and coordinated action at a local level give children child the literacy skills they need to succeed at school, at work and in life. It is never too late to change a child’s life story.”
Director of World Book Day:
“Harry is the embodiment of the children and young people we are trying to reach with this year’s World Book Day Share a Story campaign. We know that a love of reading, instilled at an early age, by reading together, can transform life chances. That’s why we’re putting out a nationwide call for action for World Book Day (7 March), asking parents, carers and siblings everywhere to sit with children and young people for ten minutes on World Book Day, and every day – and share a story. With high-profile public figures championing our message on social media, and events across the country, especially where low levels of literacy are seriously impacting people’s lives, we’ll be putting the spotlight on shared reading this week, because it can do so much to improve our children’s future.”
Professor Sonia Blandford
Founder and CEO, Achievement for All, Visiting Professor, Institute of Education, UCL, ‘Born to Fail? Social Mobility: A Working Class View’”:
“H is for Harry presents the shocking situation faced by Harry, living in educational poverty, unable to learn.
I connect with Harry and his Dad. Born into poverty in the late 1950s, my family was living in two rooms above a sweet shop in the same town as Harry. My mother was illiterate, my father learnt his skills in the army, I read my first book aged 15. Following a long career as a teacher, pro vice - chancellor and charity leader, I am now Associate Professor of Education at UCL Institute of Education, and Founder and CEO of the award-winning educational charity Achievement for All. I believe that social mobility is about changing the way people think, act and engage, and understanding there is an alternative way to live to ensure everyone can succeed.
H is for Harry is a vivid portrayal of the many thousands of children from across the UK, who like him need to develop their ‘inner core’, building the core strength needed to facilitate learning. We need to act fast to galvanise society to act against what is ultimately the social injustice of our time.”
Kiran is the CEO and Founder of The Difference, a programme to improve the outcomes of vulnerable children by raising the status and expertise of those who educate them
H for Harry is an incredibly poignant film, highlighting educational inequality and the power of inclusive leadership.
This subtle documentary captures the reality which many schools face in the current climate. Harry’s story shows us that behind every statistic is a real child, with hopes and dreams and the right to achieve those.
Highlighted in this touching - and at times, humorous - story, we see the power of dedicated teachers and leaders, committed to changing outcomes for children. Yet, all too clearly, we are also confronted with the challenges which render schools and staff struggling to know how best to help. It is vital that as a country we invest properly in developing, implementing and sharing the evidence base of what works with our most vulnerable learners. Only by doing this will we truly rewrite the story for the many Harrys nationwide.
Sam Butters is the CEO of the Fair Education Alliance.
Education in the UK is not fair. Almost every week there is a new report out about the entrenched inequality that plagues our education system. We hear that disadvantaged pupils are more than 8 months behind their peers in reading, writing and maths by age 11, and four times as likely to be permanently excluded from school. We hear about the teacher retention crisis and ever-deepening funding issues worsening this situation. But this endless stream of statistics begins to lose its power as it becomes disconnected from real children in real classrooms.
H is for Harry puts a face on those figures. As we follow Harry as he navigates secondary school, we get an insight into thousands of similar stories up and down the country. We see a real 11 year old struggling with this reading and writing, and much more than 8 months behind his peers. We see a troubled boy trying to keep his temper in check and avoid becoming one of an increasing number of excluded students. We see teachers fighting to make a difference in difficult circumstances with stretched resources.
Read the full article here.
British Labour Party politician, former transport minister and education minister who served in the Labour Government for five years, academic and journalist:
“When you see H is for Harry, you will see how far we’ve come and how much further we’ve got to go”