Irish Film Institute -International Film Directory – Film Listing

School Life

    • Director

      Neasa Ní Chianáin

    • Credits

      Angelo Orlando,
      Montse Portabella,
      David Rane,
      Efthymia Zymvragaki.

    • Principal Cast

      John Leyden,
      Amanda Leyden

  • Category


Hidden just outside the town of Kells in County Meath is an enchanting, worn and weathered country house now home to Headfort, Ireland’s only boarding school for primary school children.

At its heart is a bemused elderly couple, John and Amanda Leyden, who have been teaching Maths, Literature, Latin and rock music with equal parts seriousness and silliness, for almost half a century. Although they pretend to dread their boisterous charges, the truth is they cannot go a day without them. Their kindness and inventiveness usher primary school–age children, hailing from around the world, through patches of loneliness and homesickness.

In this feature-length documentary Neasa Ní Chianáin (Fairytale of KathmanduThe Stranger) quietly observes the eccentricities of the pair as they conduct their relaxed pedagogical rituals and engage with their bright young pupils in an environment of great mutual affection and respect.

100 minutes, Ireland, 2017, Colour

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