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in loco parentis

A lovely documentary about a boarding school in Kells is on its way to Sundance

Headfort is “not unlike Hogwarts.”

HEADFORT BOARDING SCHOOL just outside Kells, Co Meath is the only primary-age boarding school in Ireland – and it’s also the subject of an interesting new documentary called In Loco Parentis.

The observational film by Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane follows veteran teachers John and Amanda Leyden as they navigate the ups and downs of running an old-fashioned primary school in the modern age.

And the trailer looks absolutely lovely

IDFA / YouTube

It’s been chosen in the Official Selection for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, with screenings beginning next week


The school has been around for over 200 years in the grand surroundings of Headfort House – a former mansion for the Earl of Bective, Thomas Taylour.

The synopsis hints at the topics the documentary will touch on:

Is the school an anachronism in this globalised world or a clever remake of the flawed British public school model? It’s certainly a contradiction: the epitome of establishment, it’s presided over by a leftward-leaning headmaster who eschews class in favour of achievement, but retains the links that connect Headfort to the levers of power.

Along with the Leydens, the stars of the show will be the kids themselves

inloco2 YouTube YouTube

As we get a behind-the-scenes look at this unique school – “not unlike Hogwarts”


The ultimate question though: Will the school live on after John and Amanda have retired?

Sundance, and soon plenty more people around the world, will be watching with interest.

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