Set in 1939, Song for a Raggy Boy tells the powerful story of what happens when William Franklin (Aidan Quinn), is appointed by principal of St. Jude’s Reformatory School as the only lay teacher, amongst a staff of Catholic Brothers. Franklin’s teaching methods are diametrically opposed to those of the Brothers’, who revert to the usage of verbal and physical abuse.
Franklin tries to build up a relationship based on trust with the boys, unlocking their hidden talents and recruiting an exceptionally talented boy Liam (John Travers) to help him take on the challenge. Franklin has flashbacks from his past life, discovering the same kind of repression and tyranny he fought against in Spain at St. Jude’s. Battling to come to terms with the demons of his past, amongst the cruellest of punishment, abuse and neglect, it shows how one man can make a difference.