BAFTA works with Speakers for Schools to bring put Industry Leaders in Schools

2 July 2014

BAFTA-nominated producer Sarah ThorntonThe British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced that it is taking BAFTA members, award winners and nominees into schools and youth groups across the country to speak about their craft skills and career experiences. The activity, in partnership with education charities Into Film, Speakers for Schools and STEMNET, aims to inspire young people from all backgrounds to enter the film, television and games industries.

The speaker programme is part of BAFTA’s wider ‘Give Something Back’ campaign, launched by BAFTA President HRH The Duke of Cambridge in November, which calls on industry practitioners to contribute to the organisation’s charitable activities by sharing knowledge and expertise with new and emerging talent. The call was made following the findings of the BAFTA Career Pathways survey, which found that contact with people in the industry was a key factor in persuading and supporting young people from non-traditional backgrounds into a career in film, television or games.

BAFTA is working with Into Film to offer primary and secondary school students, as well as summer youth groups, the chance to hear from professionals from across the film industry. The first event took place at St Michael’s Catholic School in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire on Tuesday 24 June with Mark Solomon, editor of popular animated features including the BAFTA- and Oscar-nominated Frankenweenie and the BAFTA-nominated Chicken Run.

The partnership with Speakers for Schools will see leading industry figures from the television and games industries visiting secondary schools during the current and forthcoming academic years. BAFTA-nominated producer Sarah Thornton (Undercover Dads) – now Vice President, Lifestyle and Entertainment at Discovery Networks International – gave the first talk to students at Haringey Sixth Form Centre in London on Tuesday 17 June. Further confirmed talks include: game mechanics programmer Chris Payne (LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and LEGO Batman series), at Rose Bridge High School in Wigan, Greater Manchester, on Monday 7 July, and at Wigan UTC Academy on Friday 11 July; and VFX producer Mark Sherwood (Games of Thrones, Snow White and the Huntsman), who will speak at Gravesend Grammar School in Kent on Thursday 17 July.

BAFTA’s partnership with STEMNET focuses on inspiring young people about the roles and careers in the film and television industries that will be open to them if they study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). BAFTA’s STEM Ambassadors will share their expertise in areas such as sound, production finance and VFX.

John Willis, Chairman of BAFTA, said: “Through the BAFTA speaker programme, young people across the UK will get a chance to learn first-hand from some of the best in our industries. We hope that as many schools and youth groups as possible take up this free opportunity to introduce their young charges to an exciting range of practitioners and potential careers. The industry response to the BAFTA ‘Give Something Back’ campaign has been impressive, and we’re delighted by the breadth of craft specialists who have volunteered their time to speak.”

Schools and youth groups can request a BAFTA speaker directly from Into Film, Speakers for School and STEMNET.

Industry professionals can offer their support to the BAFTA ‘Give Something Back’ campaign.

Talks confirmed to date:

  • Tuesday 17 June
    Sarah Thornton, producer (Undercover Dads) and Vice President, Lifestyle and Entertainment at Discovery Networks International, – Haringey Sixth Form Centre in London**
  • Tuesday 24 June
    Mark Solomon, editor (Frankenweenie, Chicken Run) – St Michael’s Catholic School in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire*
  • Monday 7 July
    Chris Payne, game mechanics programmer (LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and LEGO Batman series) – Rose Bridge High School in Wigan, Greater Manchester**
  • Wednesday 9 July
    Paul Viragh, screenwriter (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) – Roding Valley School, Loughton, Essex**
    Tazeen Ahmad, presenter (NBC News, Channel 4 News) – Colchester Sixth Form College, Essex**
  • Friday 11 July
    Chris Payne, game mechanics programmer – Wigan UTC Academy, Greater Manchester**
    Jimmy Akingbola, actor (Rev., Holby City) – Shenfield High School, Essex**
    Matthew Bird, producer (Inspector George Gently, The Street) – Maidstone Grammar School for Girls, Kent**
  • Thursday 17 July
    Mark Sherwood, VFX producer (Games of Thrones, Snow White and the Huntsman) – Gravesend Grammar School, Kent**
  • Tuesday 22 July
    Spob O’Brien, hair and make-up artist (Rush, The King’s Speech) – The Swinton High School in Salford, Greater Manchester*
  • Monday 15 Sept
    Tazeen Ahmad, presenter – Alperton Community School in Wembley, London**
  • Thursday 25 Sept
    Tony Humphreys, producer (Test the Nation, Outside Bet) – King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, Essex**
  • Wednesday 1 Oct
    Richard Warlow, screenwriter (Ripper Street, Waking the Dead) – Brentside High School in Ealing, London**
  • Friday 10 October
    Richard Murrell, studio director (BBC News) – St John Payne School, Chelmsford, Essex**
  • Friday 24 October
    Richard Murrell, studio director – Shenfield High School, Essex**

In partnership with Into Film*
In partnership with Speakers for Schools**

For further information, please contact:

Rosie Mann
Tel: 020 7010 0843

Hollie Rendall
Tel: 020 7010 0829


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round Learning & Events programme that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, lectures, scholarships and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work.

Access the best creative minds in film, TV and games production

About Into Film

Into Film is an education charity that seeks to put film at the heart of children and young people’s learning and cultural experience. Our ambitious UK-wide programme will provide 5-19 year olds with unparalleled opportunities to see, think, make and imagine, contributing to their educational, cultural, creative and personal development. We will achieve this by:

  • Working with the education and informal youth sectors to support and promote learning through and about film
  • Partnering with industry to enhance the appreciation and understanding of film
  • Taking advantage of the learning solutions made possible by digital technology

Into Film incorporates the legacy of two leading film education charities, First Light and FILMCLUB, and will be working together with a range of partners in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Into Film is supported by the BFI with Lottery funding, together with funding from the film industry and a number of other sources.

Into Film is a trading name of Film Nation UK
Registered charity number 1154030
Registered Office: 31 Islington Green, London, N1 8DU

Into Film logo

About Speakers For Schools

Speakers For Schools is a charity that provides secondary state schools in the UK with access to inspirational speakers, free of charge. The organisation was founded by BBC Business Editor Robert Peston in 2011 and is now an independent charity funded by Andrew E. Law and Caxton. Speakers for Schools connects schools with Speakers from a wide range of fields, from business to science and arts to sports.

Speakers for Schools logo


STEMNET is an independent charity which creates opportunities to inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). We work with thousands of schools, colleges and STEM employers to enable young people from all backgrounds, all over the UK, to develop their creativity, problem-solving and employability skills, widens their choices and supports the UK’s future competitiveness. Together we enable children to meet inspiring role models, understand real-world applications of STEM and experience hands-on STEM activities that motivate and inspire.

Independent evaluation from the National Foundation For Educational Research has shown that pupils are 90% more interested in continuing to study STEM subjects after interacting with a STEM Ambassador and more than three quarters of teachers report that STEM Ambassadors have given students an increased awareness of STEM career and employment options.