Posted on October 4, 2022

Award winning film director and Kes star visit College

Barnsley Sixth Form College and Barnsley College students were treated to a fascinating insight into the world of film and literature by award winning film director Ken Loach and Kes star David ‘Dai’ Bradley.

Ken and David visited the College to speak to the diverse group who are studying a range of subjects, including A Level Film and Media; Level 3 Film and TV; and GCSE English alongside Sport, Esport, Travel and Tourism or Public Services, about their studies of the novel A Kestrel for a Knave by local author Barry Hines, which was written more than 50 years ago and turned into the iconic Barnsley-based film Kes.

The students explored the topic of education and examined how the themes of the film are timeless and still relevant today. Ken also spoke about ‘wasted talent’ and how the main character in Kes, Billy, was seen as an unskilled person who wouldn’t go very far in life, but the audience sees Billy has a talent.

Organised by English tutor Dawn Wright, the visit allowed students to listen to Ken speak about his life in both film and politics, before answering questions posed by the students. David supported Ken in answering some of the questions that related to acting and life on set.

Dawn said: “This event has been an amazing opportunity for our students to enhance their English skills whilst hearing from two iconic figures. The students heard how Ken used his skills to write a script and bring it to life in a film and developed their research and summary skills to learn about Ken’s life, his political beliefs and why he uses social realism in his work.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Ken and David into College and speak to the students about their experiences. Ken’s words were profound and I’m hoping some of the students could see themselves in the character of Billy in so much as everyone has a talent and can achieve. As a College, we all work together to encourage our students to see their potential and achieve their aspirations.”

Ken Loach added: “I really enjoyed visiting Barnsley College. The great thing about film is it can be a communication between people and it’s really encouraging when you meet people and you find the communication is being seen as you intended.”

David Bradley commented: “It was lovely to be at the College, with my dear friend Ken, to hear how socialism and ordinary stories are told. There are some wonderful stories that never get out there; funny, poignant, moving and those with difficult endings. Like in Kes, it’s very difficult to showcase social issues in a drama, but Ken brings them to life so beautifully. For Ken to come to the College and speak with the students was wonderful and it was great to see him.”

Visit the Courses page for more information about any of the courses available to study at Barnsley Sixth Form College.

Barnsley College offers a range of English and Maths qualifications. If you want to improve your job prospects, improve your reading, writing, numeracy and English speaking skills, or simply help your children with their homework, then our range of Maths and English qualifications are designed to help your reading, writing and numeracy skills. Courses are offered from entry level to GCSE and many are free, subject to eligibility. For more information visit the English and Maths departmental page or contact our Information Team by emailing or call 01226 216 123.