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Children of the City (clip 3)

Thought-provoking study of juvenile delinquency during World War II

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A dramatised study of child delinquency in Scotland during World War II. Filmed in Dundee this clip depicts the work of the Juvenile Courts, Child Guidance Clinic, educational psychologists and probation officers as they try to help the young boys of Dundee with their emotional and behaviour difficulties. It also depicts life in an Approved Schools for those boys who were deprived of their liberty.

Questions & Activities


  • Until what age were you considered a child?
  • What tone is the film trying to set? Is the narrator making a judgment on the children?
  • What do you think the boys have done?
  • Do you think the outcomes are going to help the boys?
  • What do they say every child needs and do you agree with this?
  • Why do you think the filmmaker chose to focus on boys?
  • This film was made in 1944 during the Second World War - why do you think it was made?
  • Why were approved schools located in the countryside?
  • What kinds of problems did the children in the film have and how do you think this would effect modern behaviour.
  • How do you think things have differed between then and now?
  • Why does the boy need a father figure?
  • How important do you think youth clubs were?
  • Why don't you have them anymore?


History / Modern Studies / English / Media Studies: Create a piece of writing/drama/film from the perspective of one of the children. Revisit the boys a year later - what has happened. Research how these boys would be treated now. How much has changed? Is it for the better - explain your answers. What kinds of needs does the first boy need to help him.

Media Studies: Storyboard the camera shots used in a particular sequence to see how the film tells its story.

Modern Studies / Media Studies: Research what organisations would help the boys today and find out what clubs are in your local area. Create a presentation to present your findings.

English: Debate - Robbie's criminal behaviour is said to be because he has nothing to occupy him. Discuss how this could be improved.

Media Studies: How accurate do you think this is as presentation of an approved school? Films like "Scum" portray this in a different light.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-045-C
Resource Rights Holder Crown Copyright licensed by National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0291
Date 1944
Genre Documentary, Drama Documentary, Educational, Sponsored, Women Filmmakers
School Subject Media Studies, English, Modern Studies, History
Subject Matter Crime
Who Budge Cooper (director), MOI for the Scottish Education Department (sponsor), Paul Rotha Productions (production company)
Where Dundee
Event World War II
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 10:44
Film Length 30:00