Schools are using plays with very offensive and explicit language.

(125 Posts)
Sherrie2 Fri 07-Feb-14 13:59:59

Parents may not be aware that whereas TV and films seek to protect children from inappropriate material using the watershed and film classifications, plays are not subject to any censorship and schools are using material for GCSE which would be viewed as for adults only. This is an issue for drama and English Literature. My daughter's play 'Mogadishu' contained about 400 expletives, including over 200 uses of the 'f' word and over 10 uses of the 'c' word, as well as sexually explicit language. She was 14 at the time and was made to feel very uncomfortable as she had to read the script out for drama. This particular play is being used all over the country in schools and pupils are being taken to see it, even though it is described as a 'gritty' adult drama and as 'ripely filthy'.

There are currently no limits on the use of this type of material. I have set up a government e-petition to ask for some regulations to be put in place in the use of school texts in order to bring some consistency with TV and Film ratings and to ensure that schools are more accountable for what they do.

Please sign it, as once it reaches 100,000 the government will debate it in the House of Commons. Thank you.

Here is the link to the petition. Hope you feel able to sign it.

TalkinPeace Fri 07-Feb-14 16:03:41

Which Exam board is using that Play?

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Fri 07-Feb-14 16:05:39

What did her school say when you raised it with them?

SolomanDaisy Fri 07-Feb-14 16:07:49

What, plays like umm, the taming of the shrew? Deeply offensive language in there. I for one am discusted.

TalkinPeace Fri 07-Feb-14 16:08:09

Looking at the Internet coverage, this is only Teddington School and its not a set text but an optional one.

ShatnersBassoon Fri 07-Feb-14 16:12:09

Which schools? Which examination board? Is it a set text?

Reincarnatedpig Fri 07-Feb-14 16:14:12

I saw it at the Lyric a few years ago and thought it was an interesting play for older teens. I think they had an age restriction of 14 - my children at the time were too young to see it.

If you or your daughter have a problem with swearing, tell the teacher, I am sure they will be understanding.

I think your reaction comes across as a bit hysterical sadly and under no circumstances would I support a petition to censor what sort of material should be used in schools. Your attitude is ridiculous. Teachers are professionals and I trust their judgement.

Reincarnatedpig Fri 07-Feb-14 16:16:22

I forgot to say that Shakespeare and Chaucer have some pretty ripe and filthy material too, would you seek to ban them?

Hullygully Fri 07-Feb-14 16:20:06

I agree!

I hate bad language, it is the last resort of the inarticulate.


zeeboo Fri 07-Feb-14 16:26:01

This is all I can muster in response to your op hmm
Thank God 99.9% of crap petitions on t'internet never go anywhere.

longingforsomesleep Fri 07-Feb-14 19:13:17

Oh for god's sake. OP - you need to teach your dd not to be frightened of words. They can't hurt her or you. If you feel that strongly about it you ought to take it up with the school. But PLEASE do not try to curtail my children's access to literature.

adoptmama Fri 07-Feb-14 19:19:52

"Where they have burned books, they will end up burning human beings."

It'll be a cold day in hell before I start a protest over a cunting play.

How about you direct your twisted gusset to something actually explicitly harmful like the proliferation of pornography?

ouryve Fri 07-Feb-14 19:24:37

Gosh, the pearl clutchers are out in force, this evening.

claraschu Fri 07-Feb-14 19:28:37

Are you suggesting that your GCSE aged daughter has never heard the fuck-word?

Blu Fri 07-Feb-14 19:30:44

Sherrie - if your dd was doing scenes from King Lear, would she feel uncomfortable theatricalising putting someone's eyes out?

Language in a play is fictional. The language of a fictional character.

But it does often reflect how real people talk in the real world. Your dd cannot have been sheltered from bad language, surely? Most teens swear a lot out of earshot of parents.

Talk to the school if you are unhappy.

Mogadishu is an excellent play.

bopoityboo3 Fri 07-Feb-14 19:31:05

there may not be set restrictions but I'm sure that isn't an exam board text for GCSE. If your daughters drama teacher is using a text you don't approve of raise it with the teacher. There are guide lines for drama teachers over what is appropriate to use with what age group and exam boards keep a strict eye on what pupils are being asked to perform for their practical pieces . I go with the rule of thumb that with GCSE pupils if I wouldn't hear it on the tv before the water shed then they can't perform it. With 6th form it's more to do with the pupils and what they want to perform (within reason).

What is the problem? What dramatically terrible thing is happening as a direct result of children reading the play? Believe me cunt and fuck are not words that any child is coming across for the first time at 14, so am struggling to see the dire consequences your op suggests.

I'm sorry your dd was made to feel uncomfortable but I can't get worked up about this I'm afraid.

JabberJabberJay Fri 07-Feb-14 19:37:04


No. I will not support your ridiculous petition. Fuck and even cunt are common words in the English language. They will not corrupt your daughter.

Stop being so hysterical.

Sherrie2 Fri 07-Feb-14 19:40:03

the school apologised for not consulting parents, but apart from that have no problem with doing the play as there is no censorship. They said they would ask parents what they think.

MelanieRavenswood Fri 07-Feb-14 19:41:04

I would have no problem with 14 year olds seeing or studying the play, but seeing as there are many grown women who have a problem with saying "cunt" ( I am not one of them, fwiw), then I do feel sorry for teenagers reading it out to their peers. Just needs to be handled sensitively by teachers, that's all.

SomewhatSilly Fri 07-Feb-14 19:42:33

Won't somebody think of the children?

Sherrie2 Fri 07-Feb-14 19:43:19

According to the Head Teacher of my daughter's school, there are schools doing the play all over the country. There is no set syllabus. Schools can choose what plays to do but they admit there is a wealth of plays they could use which isn't so offensive.

Morgause Fri 07-Feb-14 19:43:27

I doubt they'll hear any words that are new to them.

Bloodyteenagers Fri 07-Feb-14 19:44:10

Well these young actors don't seem to concerned about it.

takingthathometomomma Fri 07-Feb-14 19:47:29



Devora Fri 07-Feb-14 19:47:47

That is my local school and where my kids are headed. tbh I was rather cheered by this coverage - Mogadishu is supposed to be an excellent play, and provided the teachers handle it well I would be happy for them to do it.

It's ridiculous to petition the government to take action on this. Have you tried appealing to the governors, or mobilising other parents? If they are all with you, the school won't do it again. If they're not, your protest is sunk.

Sherrie2 Fri 07-Feb-14 19:48:47

There is no set text for GCSE drama. The school can choose what plays to do and admit there is a wealth of plays they could do which weren't so offensive. Whilst there will be some schools who take note of what is suitable for the age range, there are many who do not.f It is an inconsistency that standards of decency are maintained on TV and films, but this does not happen in school concerning plays and other literary texts.

CalamitouslyWrong Fri 07-Feb-14 19:57:36

Maybe we could start an (ironic) petition to try to stop people from trying to ban anything and everything they personally don't like and get their knickers in a twist about. grin

It would be just as sensible as 99.9% of online petitions.

HavantGuard Fri 07-Feb-14 19:59:01

I hadn't heard of the play. I had a quick Google. It looks like it would really engage teenagers.

MoominIsGoingToBeAMumWaitWHAT Fri 07-Feb-14 19:59:28

Can we please please please avoid bringing back censorship in theatre? Many contemporary playwrights who are considered pivotal to the development of British theatre would never have been discovered if censorship was still the way it used to be up until the 60s - Edward Bond, Sarah Kane etc.

Drama teachers can't win - if they aren't teaching texts, "Drama is a soft subject, they're just pretending to be trees". If they are teaching texts "Oh no heaven forbid plays should reflect real life and my 16 year old should be exposed to this". hmm

Studying plays like Mogadishu, Blasted, Saved (well... maybe leave Blasted until A Level; if you think Mogadishu is bad you should try reading Sarah Kane shock ) etc should be every bit as much a part of the curriculum as Shakespeare and Chekov. They're all vital parts of theatre.

Bloodyteenagers Fri 07-Feb-14 20:02:10

And so what?
Its a thought provoking play.
Either you are the parent whinging in the local rag or the reporter.
Gcse drama is meant to test the youngsters doing it. Its not all Disney fluffy shite. It's supposed to make them work and perform within a role.

straggle Fri 07-Feb-14 20:04:27

Excellent review of the play by the culture critic Mark Lawson, applauding the decision of one school to study this text.

I don't support your petition OP.

Sherrie2 Fri 07-Feb-14 20:04:39

I'm afraid you cannot trust the judgement of all teachers. They are fallible like the rest of us and that is why guidelines are helpful in maintaining certain standards.

Bloodyteenagers Fri 07-Feb-14 20:07:08

Isn't it rather telling that according to you it's played throughout schools in the country, but you are the only person not wanting it.

If you want censorship, home ed. Until then, let them have an education and yup this includes real life experiences.

But what are the "standards" is it just fuck and cunt that are beyond the pale or do you have a list that we could review?

I feel a bit sad for you that you only have 4 signatures.

However I think your petition is daft so won't be signing

Bloodyteenagers Fri 07-Feb-14 20:16:37

I feel sad for the op that only ONE parent complained to the school.

Like also the fact the op failed to mention that before they started studying the play, the teachers explained to the students what the play was about and they could opt out...

Ubik1 Fri 07-Feb-14 20:16:58

"They fuck you up, your mum and dad
They may not mean to but they do "

Loved that at school. And Tony Harrison's 'V'

Have you read Chaucer op?

CashmereHoodlum Fri 07-Feb-14 20:29:18

Which plays do you think the school should use instead, Sherrie? Do you have any particular playwrights in mind as being suitable for that age group?

ComfortablyGrumpy Fri 07-Feb-14 20:32:15

Sorry, nope, won't be supporting censorship.

Did you register with MN just to raise this issue OP? You can't be familiar with the site if you thought Mn would mobilise over a few cunts.

Plus what lauriefairycake said.

HamletsSister Fri 07-Feb-14 20:39:45

This really, really pisses me off. Not you OP but I teach and have had half arsed complaints from parents on occasion. One was about a novel, "I'm Not Scared" by Nicholas Ammanti - a wonderful and chilling book about a conspiracy involving child kidnap.

Said parent hadn't actually read the play but on page 11 or something some children torture and kill a chicken. The novel condemns this. The central character is appalled and, indeed, stands against the conspiracy that leads to a child being kidnapped. However, the parent wanted the book "banned" on the grounds that it had cruelty to animals in it.

What really boils my piss is people having opinions about things they haven't even read and certainly don't understand. Censorship borne of ignorance.

LeBearPolar Fri 07-Feb-14 20:47:26

It's all right, OP - if your petition is successful, it'll provide inspiration for Carol Ann Duffy.

Her scathing put down of the last woefully ill-read person to clutch her pearls over the shocking stuff they study in schools these days is here

LeBearPolar Fri 07-Feb-14 20:49:49

Sherrie - when you read Mogadishu, what did you think of it, swearing aside?

EvilTwins Fri 07-Feb-14 21:04:50

I'm a drama teacher. I teach plays with swearing in. Just last week, my Yr 10s were doing a play called "45 minutes". That has swearing in it. Earlier in the term, we looked at "Citizenship" and "DNA". I always talk to them about language. Decent playwrights (of which there are many) use language for effect, and so there are loads that students can learn from it. Incidentally, all three of those plays were written specifically for teenagers.

I will not be signing your petition OP. Luckily for me, the parents of the children I teach are far more sensible than you. I've only ever had one complaint, and that was when I showed the trailer of a 12 film to a Year 8 class (where everyone was at least 12) because it was a bit scary and one girl had nightmares.

BrandNewIggi Fri 07-Feb-14 23:27:44

We loved doing 'Philadelphia here I come' with its talk of "a bugeroo and a buggerette". I remember that despite it being about 600 years ago.

adoptmama Sat 08-Feb-14 07:51:33

"I'm afraid you cannot trust the judgement of all teachers. They are fallible like the rest of us and that is why guidelines are helpful in maintaining certain standards."

You don't want guidelines though, do you. You want censorship and control. You want to win and score points and say how much more moral and right you are than the teacher. You want the teacher to be wrong so you can be right. You want someone, not to agree there are other plays, but 'admit' there are, as if this somehow means the school agree the play was a poor choice.

You want to ban something because YOU don't approve of it. A quick google of your name from the petition brings up some interesting other links of fb etc. You may not mind making yourself so easily identifiable on the internet but I expect the teacher minds. I expect other parents of children in the class might mind just a little too. As a professional - albeit 'fallible' - teacher I mind on their behalf.

Censorship. That's what you want. So you can impose your middle-England, white, middle class values on a world that no longer exists.

As a teacher, I will say very bluntly how sick and fucking tired I am of parents like you who think they are experts on all fucking areas of the curriculum, educational theory, examination technique, classroom discipline etc because they once went to school. You don't want a partnership with a school. You want a lord-and-master relationship.

Because YOU don't like this play you have essentially made identifiable not only the school your daughter attends, but her teacher too.

Her teacher who - like every other teacher I know - works their arse off every fucking day to make the curriculum as interesting, engaging as relevant as possible.

Her teacher - who doesn't deserve to be made identifiable on a public forum on the internet.

Her teacher - silently professional on the whole issue.

Unlike you.

Ohwhatfuckeryisthis Sat 08-Feb-14 08:05:47

adopt well said.
Op biscuit yours, I believe, Mrs Whitehouse.

chosenone Sat 08-Feb-14 08:06:36

What about Godber? 'Bouncers' has a number of swear words and sexual references. Edexcel exam board always use the play as an example of good practice. Youtube is full of exam pieces from the play.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 08-Feb-14 08:10:42

Schools round here use Sarah Kane. I personally would leave that stuff until a level but I'm against censorship.

Kids who "choose" GCSE drama need to accept it's a subject that will challenge them & their preconceptions.

NaffOrf Sat 08-Feb-14 08:14:42

And a huge round of applause for Adopt

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 08-Feb-14 08:21:13

Can I start a petition to have adoptmama take over from Gove?

flowers (for adoptmama clearly, not the OP)

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 08-Feb-14 08:21:54

OP- is your daughter very mortified that you are doing this?

On a level of one to eleventy billion, where would you put her embarrassment?

LeBearPolar Sat 08-Feb-14 08:42:22

Just looked at the petition. Being badly worded and only having four signatures so far, I'm not panicking yet that Gove is going to storm into my classroom and confiscate my copy of Educating Rita.

OP, maybe you should have concentrated more carefully in English lessons instead of spending so much time like this shock about the use of language!

Hope you are objecting to the teaching of Shakespeare in your lovely petition-

After all, he described someone as thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch...

LeBearPolar Sat 08-Feb-14 08:46:30

Ah - have just googled further. I take it all back now that I know there's an article about it in The Daily Express! That's almost The Daily Mail, which as we know, is a paper revered by MNetters. Make it to the Daily Mail, OP, and your work here is done.

But you do seem to have disappeared...

WeAreDetective Sat 08-Feb-14 08:58:59

Adaoptamania, that is the best post I have read here in a very long time. I have nothing I can add to that except my whole hearted support for everything you said

Theincidental Sat 08-Feb-14 09:40:34

Ach! What a "mewling quim" as Chaucer might have said.

Lilka Sat 08-Feb-14 11:06:54

<applauds adoptmama >

SanityClause Sat 08-Feb-14 11:25:43

I would ask you this, OP.

How are our children to get to the stage where, as adults, they are capable of handling such "explicit" material, if it is not introduced to them in a safe environment, as they mature.

Are they expected to be able to "handle" this sort of material on their 18th birthday, without any kind of introduction to it?

sashh Sat 08-Feb-14 11:55:34

Language, like anything else is different in an educational context. The difference being there is EDUCATION surrounding the text used in a school.

Children learn about various forms of torture and slavery in history, they are not exposed to gratuitous torture in a film such as they might be at an 18 certificate film, they may see films of concentration camps and pictures of slavery but these are in the context of history and part of education. Children are asked to understand and make judgements about these things.

If we trust teachers to discuss torture / slavery in an age appropriate way, then surely we can do the same for a play that involves words we may not want to hear in everyday life?

They are not being encouraged to just use those words but to understand the effect they have both on an audience watching a play and on their use in the educational environment and the actors reading the words.

That is what education is about, stretching horizons, making people think just that bit further than they can on their own not just teaching children words (or arithmetic, or cooking or whatever), but teaching them how what they learn can fit in to the outside world, to influence it and to change it.

Nojustalurker Sat 08-Feb-14 12:12:01

Complete agree with adopt.

Film ratings only apply to licensed cinemas therefore you can and I have shown a year 11 class an 18 rated film as I believe it would enhance their learning.

cory Sat 08-Feb-14 14:10:51

why does this remind me of the Shakespeare character whose urine is congealed ice?

CashmereHoodlum Sat 08-Feb-14 14:26:01

As the OP has not come back to answer my very reasonable questions I am forced to assume she hasn't suggested any alternatives because she doesn't know any alternatives, because she never reads anything. Otherwise surely she would be clamouring to ban Chaucer with all his queyntes, and Shakespeare, and pretty much everything else too.

pointythings Sat 08-Feb-14 16:51:09

<waves pompoms and does not-very-high-kicks>

Go, adoptmama!!!

No to censorship.

Innogen Sat 08-Feb-14 16:54:02

I am 100% against censoring the written and spoken word.

cory Sat 08-Feb-14 16:58:04

wondering idly why exactly the OP thought she would find her spiritual home in ye website of the penis beakers...

MrsDeVere Sat 08-Feb-14 17:03:10

I have just gone and had a google.
I think the play sounds excellent, relevant and a a useful way of encouraging discussion.

You want to petition against that?

TalkinPeace Sat 08-Feb-14 17:05:07

another vote for adoptmama as Education Secretary .... maybe we should start an e-petition wink

They're just words... :/ I swear - though I do not openly swear in front of my children, but I am guilty of the of the occasional 'Ah, fuck me' if I stub my toe and I can't making any promises about not being over-heard when I'm having a rant on the phone to parent or friend when I've thought I was out of ear-shot..

BUT, my children are going to hear it regardless.. and they're just words! It honestly would not bother me.. Would I want my 3 or 4 year old, or even my 11 year, having this taught to them? No, not right now... However, once they're in their teens (perhaps moreso their late teens..?) would I mind? Nope.

adoptmama Sat 08-Feb-14 18:00:12

.... used word 'fucking' 3 times in last post. Suspects she could have used it many more..... fuckety, fuckety, fuckety boo.....

.... takes flowers and nods thanks and appreciation

.... accepts nominate as Ed. Sec. on basis she can't be any worse at the job that that fucking idiot Gove

... determines first policy in the job will be to abolish all statutory testing in primary schools, especially that stupid bastard proposal to test 4 year olds.

.... wanders off with nice, chilled bottle of wine singing Pink Floyd.....

fuckety, fuckety, fuckety boo
I can swear often
and you can swear too

fuckety, fuckety, fuckety boo
But don't swear in Drama
the pearl-clutchers hunt you

fuckety, fuckety, fuckety boo
they'll petition the government
and try to sack you

fuckety, fuckety, fuckety boo
wank, pig, shit, arse, fuck
shout it out too

Adoptmama - you are a hero! I agree with every single, impassioned word from your earlier post.

I am beyond grateful that there are dedicated, passionate people out there who want to teach my child, and who gave my older two dses the education that enabled them to get unconditional offers to read law and maths.

I could not do what you do. You are amazing.

OP - your child will have heard far worse language in the playground. If you feel really deeply about this, sit down with her and have a discussion about the use of swear words in literature, and whether the author could have achieved the same effect without those words. I don't know the play concerned, but in some situations 'bother' just does not cut the mustard!

delbee Sat 08-Feb-14 18:17:37

Maybe some of you need to censor your spelling. I think the word you are looking for is " disgusted".

adoptmama Sat 08-Feb-14 18:27:08


I've been called many things as a teacher

including on one memorable occasion

'you fucking whore bitch motherfucking cow' by a 14 year old.

In mitigation I will admit I had confiscated her Benson & Hedges.

I have never been called a hero.

With humble and genuine sincerity,

thank you

Discusted is an ironic use of a misspelling of disgusted, delbee. The poster who originally used it was displaying Daily Mail-esque levels of pearl-clutching horror, and I think its use here means the users think the OP is displaying a similar attitude.

They know it is not actually spelled that way.


thankswinebiscuit for Adoptmama and all her colleagues!

Ps - I hope you pointed out to her that repetition of the word 'fucking' was very poor construction!

EvilTwins Sat 08-Feb-14 18:31:48

Adoptamama - I love you! If there was an epetition to make you ed secretary, I guarantee it would get more signatures than the OP's ridiculous effort. As a drama teacher who is gearing up to spend all day tomorrow in school rehearsing for the school play, I'm glad there are lots of parents out there who support what we do.

By the by, one of my absolute favourite plays to do at school (admittedly with KS5) is Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker. It has cunt on the first page. I

ravenAK Sat 08-Feb-14 18:37:27

<more applause for adoptmama> grin

AmIGoingMad Sat 08-Feb-14 18:48:01

So well said adopt!thanks

WeAreDetective Sat 08-Feb-14 21:09:43

Way to go missing the point, delbee grin

calmb4storm Sun 09-Feb-14 07:39:29

OP, I think the school was right to apologise to parents for not consulting them about this. It may be in the list of recommended texts for the course, but I suspect most schools steer clear of it in order to avoid exactly this situation. Its inclusion on the list should have been tailored with a warning and some advice about consultation, and I'd suggest that's where your efforts should be directed.

In the circumstances, the school has responded with dignity, and the Acting Head's points about the maturity of his pupils in handling the material are reassuring and heartwarming.

But (and it's a big but), to me there is an issue here about inclusion. If there had been a consultation beforehand, and one or two students had said they felt uncomfortable about studying the play, what then? Would they have all studied something different? Would the students who objected have been given an alternative text, and taught separately? Would there have been some who kept their feelings hidden in order to avoid being singled out? If this was an issue about a protected characteristic such as race/disability/homosexuality/religion, rather than sensitivity to expletives, would it be acceptable to put students in a position of opting out? Schools sometimes seem a little behind some workplaces when it comes to thinking about these sorts of issues.

The status quo is uncomfortable to watch. The OP has made a very public protest, and there are lots of people, in this thread at least, hurling rocks at her. Is her DD facing the same sort of victimisation from her fellow students? I hope not.

CalamitouslyWrong Sun 09-Feb-14 09:49:07

I think it's extremely over the top to compare being a bit pearl clutchy about swearing to protected characteristics like disability and race. Swearing is something the OP's daughter will come across in the course of her everyday life, and not in a context where there will be discussions about the effects of language.

It isn't the case that the OP just feels a bit uncomfortable and has raised the issue. She's started a petition to have something banned and is trying to publicly humiliate the school. She could have suggested that her daughter discuss it with the teacher, but from her own actions it seems unlikely that the OP herself has the maturity to even think of such a thing.

And many of us feel quite strongly that the most conservative elements in any population shouldn't get to dictate and censor everything. This is just the secondary school equivalent of the threads we get clutching pearls that their primary aged child got a book that had divorced parents in it and they don't want their previous flowers exposed to such awful things as the simple fact that families are often composed differently.

calmb4storm Sun 09-Feb-14 10:07:49

"I think it's extremely over the top ..."

You may think so, but in many workplace scenarios inclusivity issues in relation to the use of expletives would be taken very seriously.

Any HR types out there, who work for large, modern employers, probably know what I mean.

calmb4storm Sun 09-Feb-14 10:13:53

"She's started a petition to have something banned"

Yes, but not many people have signed it have they? It's unlikely to happen. She's over-reacted, but so have many of the other contributers to this thread.

"... and is trying to publicly humiliate the school"

No, she's making a stand on something she feels strongly about. The school has behaved with dignity, and won't be humiliated by it. Also, she didn't name the school - others did. People are trying to humiliate the OP into backing down. I also think she should back down, but for different reasons.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 09-Feb-14 11:02:08

calmb4storm- If her daughter's schoolmates are aware that her mother is doing this, then, sadly, I suspect she would be the victim of some ridicule yes.

Maybe the OP should have considered that element too, before going all Mary Whitehouse.

Meanwhile, could you explain "the status quo is uncomfortable to watch". I don't understand what you are trying to say. The status quo of what?

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 09-Feb-14 11:03:27

Also, seriously rofling at any teenager not wanting to study something with - shock horror- swear words in.

In which parallel universe?

calmb4storm Sun 09-Feb-14 11:42:23

Drank, I meant its uncomfortable to watch everyone rounding on the OP, and rubbing her nose in it.

Many teenagers are uncomfortable about swearing. Perhaps it's a class issue, but issues of inclusivity in relation to social class are taken seriously by many employers.

Of course, if social class were to become a protected characteristic in law it would have huge implications (not least here on Mumsnet smile). It will probably never happen, but some employers still include it in their policies.

Sherrie2 Mon 10-Feb-14 13:19:38

Sadly, this discussion needs to end as it is not constructive nor respectful so I have asked for mumsnet to remove it.

Feenie Tue 18-Mar-14 17:51:38

Sadly, this discussion needs to end as it is not constructive nor respectful so I have asked for mumsnet to remove it.

However, I will ensure that I make a copy of the thread first then run off to the Sunday papers with it, enabling me to both quote people out of context and hideously embarrass my dd in the process. hmm

DameFanny Tue 18-Mar-14 18:05:30

Ha ha ha! There's a whole 10 signatures now - clickable link for pearl clutchers or fellow mockers

Feenie Tue 18-Mar-14 18:11:01

Seriously? Just ten - even after all the media coverage?

Says it all.

Youarejustwordsonascreenpeople Tue 18-Mar-14 18:22:54

It's times like this that that I am proud to be a MNer. Well done all on your replies to the OP and well done HQ for not deleting it.

MN at its best.

maillotjaune Tue 18-Mar-14 19:05:40

All it needs is 100,000 signatures...

Only 99,990 to go blush

maillotjaune Tue 18-Mar-14 19:05:57

All it needs is 100,000 signatures...

Only 99,990 to go blush

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 18-Mar-14 19:22:05
ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 18-Mar-14 19:26:25

Sorry - didn't realise it was such an old thread

Roseformeplease Tue 18-Mar-14 19:32:04

Ooh. I was quoted (under another name). My first ever quote in a National Comic. I would have preferred the Dandy or Bunty but....


maillotjaune Tue 18-Mar-14 19:42:10

Itsallgoingtobefine don't worry it's an old thread that was deleted but has been reinstated today (there's a thread in Secondary Education about it).

VoyageDeVerity Tue 18-Mar-14 20:19:22

Wow that play looks great.

adoptmama Tue 18-Mar-14 21:36:46

Thanks MNHQ for reinstating it.

ferrar Tue 18-Mar-14 22:06:06

Sherrie2. You may want to post or repost in chat after this thread has run its course?
You may get more signatures, and unfortunately more abuse.

Feenie Tue 18-Mar-14 22:21:28

Are you kidding? It has headlined in the Mail on Sunday, The Times and received prime news time on Radio 5. Added to that, it has also been covered by Loose Women and Matthew Wright.

And after all that, 10 people had signed.

You think Chat is going to change that how?

Feenie Tue 18-Mar-14 22:23:02

Besides, petitions aren't allowed on Chat - suppose it might squeeze in one signature before it was deleted?

Dinosaursareextinct Tue 18-Mar-14 22:32:47

There was a fuss in South Africa because a public exam (GCSE type I think) required children to read an extract from a play describing the rape of a baby, and to discuss how they would act out the scene (using what props to portray the rape). How would people here feel about that?

adoptmama Wed 19-Mar-14 05:20:18

dinosaur it's interesting you raise this particular issue regarding Lara Foot's play Tshepang. Interesting, because rather like this case, there was a lot of mis-reporting and sensationalising.

Tshepang has been performed in South African schools for a long time, and performed around the world to great reviews. In Ireland for example one newspaper review said 'it does exactly what one hopes theatre will do'. It is a play based on real events in SA - the 2001 incident of the rape of a baby known in the media as 'baby Tshepang'.

Students in the exam were not required to read a scene describing the rape of a baby, that is one of the ways it was misreported. Students were required to read a 14 line extract in which the incident of the rape is dealt with and the line reads 'Simon acts out the rape with a broomstick and a loaf of bread'. Still harrowing stuff but not what was reported around the world.

What caused the outcry in South Africa was not the fact that the play was on a Matrix examination but the fact it was a unseeen, compulsory question. In other words students had no opportunity to avoid the question if they wanted. The author of the play even described the question as 'insensitive'. There has not actually been any outcry over the fact students study the play at all - but the fact the 'rape question' was a compulsory element of the exam.

So the outcry over the exam question is not the same as the issue regarding Mogadishu that has led to the parent's objection - which is only about the use of bad language. She had the option of her child withdrawing from the class and studying a different task. Not giving the option to avoid the question, but insisting students write on it, was wrong as it is a safeguarding issue at that point (by UK requirements) because, for example, you would be causing a triggering event for children whose lives had been touched by rape or child abuse. Therefore such a question could not appear in an exam here in the way it did in SA and the two 'incidents' are not, therefore comparable.

Very interestingly one of the most rational comments on the case - by Brook Spector the former CEO of J'burgs Market Theatre - is that studying the play (as has been done for years in SA high schools) and watching the play being performed is not an issue (and hasn't really ever been considered one by SA schools). As Spector says “It is an extraordinary play, a work that always had a major impact on student groups when they came to see it at the Market,” Spector said. “But, and here’s the but, it was part of a process of discussion with the students when they came to see it." This is exactly what has been said here by many a drama teacher - using material in a safe, educational setting is a process which enables disturbing events to be safely examined. The SA department of education said 'grade 12 students are young adults and fully aware of the social issues confronting our country. The dramatic arts are powerful vehicles for creating social awareness and education to societal issues that need to be addressed to bring about societal change.'

FWIW the two questions in the Matrix on the exam, which were designed to assess understanding of action metaphor, which were felt to be inappropriate were “Why did the playwright choose to use the symbols of a loaf of bread to represent the baby and the broomstick as the ‘rapist’?” (the rape is not acted out with body parts in the play but with the props just mentioned) and, more problematically, “Describe how you would get the actor portraying Simon to perform line 9 to maximise the horror of the rape for the audience”.

In full, the questions, which accompanied the 14 line extract, were "Explain to what extent the character Simon can be called a narrator (2 marks)"; "As the only speaking role in the play Simon's speaking performance is crucial to the success of the play. Describe how you would use tone, pace and volume in lines 1-8 to build to the point of climax in this exatract. (5 marks)". The last 2 sections of the question, detailed above, were worth 3 and 4 marks respectively. Line 9 reads 'He acts out the rape using a broomstick and a loaf of bread'.

Clearly students did not read a scene 'describing' the rape of a baby. Never-the-less that is the media story which was carried around the world and gets repeated over and over again.

To suggest that the two 'issues' - Mogadishu and Tshepang - are the same is a fallacious argument. Tshepang was one of the set works for the 2012-13 school year, a fact which did not cause complaint. It is the compulsory nature of a badly thought through question which was the issue.

Youarejustwordsonascreenpeople Wed 19-Mar-14 10:00:50

Adopt mama, you are officially my new hero. I think I love you :-). As the young 'uns say 'owned' :-D

adoptmama Wed 19-Mar-14 13:25:53

BTW, Grade 12 - or Matric - students in SA are 17 or 18 years old.

Hardly 'children' dinosaur

ferrar Wed 19-Mar-14 13:29:59

I dont know if you realise that swearing is against God? That it is a sin? I dont think that some people are aware of this?
Yes, I realise that that will not bother some people smile

treaclesoda Wed 19-Mar-14 13:34:29

Well, blasphemy is certainly against God, but general swearing? Not so much. It's just language, and language evolves.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 19-Mar-14 13:45:08

Believe me, in this country (maybe not South Africa) a huge huge deal is made about under 18s being classified as children. Eg child protection is a big issue for a 17 and 11 month year old, and then falls away completely on their birthday.
Ferrar - maybe we should go with the assumption that swearing is not a sin, based on that being the view taken by the vast majority of people in this country? I doubt that even many Christians believe that using the F word is a sin? You should probably home educate, as do like thinking parents in the US.

donnie Wed 19-Mar-14 13:57:21

" Keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny"

This is one line from Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' which I have taught so many times I have lost count and which hundreds of schools do for their lit GCSE . It's a great book, in so many ways. I'd be interested in whether or not the OP thinks that ought to be banned as well. And incidentally, To Kill A Mockingbird has the term 'Nigger' in it dozens and dozens of times. That's because it's a book about, among other things, racism. Maybe the OP would prefer the term 'Persons of colour' to be 'strung up and lynched'. There are rapes in Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare, child murders in Lord of the Flies - are these more acceptable because they don't have the word 'fuck' in them ? (although to be fair LOtF does say 'bollocks')

Personally I find the racist language above more shocking than the words 'fuck', or 'cunt '(which Chaucer says all the time btw). the problem is, if we expunged all the racist language in the book, it would lose its meaning and power.

Where good, meaningful literature is concerned we censor at our collective peril. I have been teaching GCSE and A level lit for over 20 years now so I know what I am talking about.

ferrar Wed 19-Mar-14 13:58:44

Lots of verses about not using swear words here. I wouldn't normally link to bible verses, but even the first 4 examples on it are enough to see I think?

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 19-Mar-14 14:14:01

Yes, I find the emphasis some people put on swearwords quite bizarre. Also the emphasis on any degree of sexual conduct. I read MN views on the suitability for pre-teens of "Noughts and Crosses". Everyone talked about the one (consensual and not very graphic) sex scene. They didn't think it even worth mentioning the fact that the book contains 2 public execution scenes, including one in which the hero is hanged (on trumped up charges). I found the book traumatic enough as an adult, but apparently the sex scene was the issue for most people.

maillotjaune Wed 19-Mar-14 14:14:35

Ferrar have skimmed through your link.

1. Most of the references are to OT - AFAIK there are many Christians who read the OT bearing in mind where / when it was written I.e. not taking it literally.

2. There are 3 references to gospels.

2 from Matthew - the first is about swearing falsely i.e.lying, not swearing as in swear words. If i tell someone to fuck off and i mean it, I am not swearing a false oath am I? The second is not obviously about swearing either.

1 from John which reads to me as a general 'don't sin'.

So I don't see gospel references supporting the need to avoid swearing completely. I confess I am no theologian and good though my RE teacher was that's many years back.

Going on your link though, that's what I think.

adoptmama Wed 19-Mar-14 14:47:20

yes but this isn't a child protection issue is it.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 19-Mar-14 14:59:50

Whatever - first, I assumed 16 year olds (as GCSE here) but obviously wrong, second, they are called children at that age, so your comment "hardly children" is technically incorrect.

ferrar Wed 19-Mar-14 15:24:25

I am impressed mailliotjaune! I often wonder how often anyone bothers to read anyones' links, never mind comment on them.

I will be back to comment later.

Weegiemum Wed 19-Mar-14 15:45:17


As a fellow teacher, I salute you!

ferrar Wed 19-Mar-14 15:51:38

Of the first 20, 17 are New Testament. Including the first 3 which are quite clear on the non use of swear words.
But I appreciate you thinking about the issue.

maillotjaune Wed 19-Mar-14 16:10:44

My mistake - I was looking specifically for gospel references as these are the ones that a Christian would hold to be reporting the acts / word of Christ.

Actually the second extract from Mathew is the sane as the last line as the first extract but I'd missed a second one from John.

Apologies for the slight thread derail as this is not the core of the issue but my reading of the link is that I still don't see any reference to the gospels referring to swear words specifically. It might not be 'nice' but...

ferrar Wed 19-Mar-14 17:35:59

As far as I know, christians take most notice of all the New Testament including the gospels, and bear in mind the Old Testament.
But as you say, we are in derailment terroritory to an exten,t so I will back away. Thanks maillotjaune for the conversation.

adoptmama Wed 19-Mar-14 18:20:03

The matric exam in SA is more the equivalent of A level/IB etc. It is a school leaving exam.

haveyougotanyleechesforthis Tue 25-Mar-14 09:43:20

Im sorry i havent read the whole thread but i just wanted to add that this is happening to younger children too

we got a permission slip asking if my 10 year old could go to the cinema to see Micheal Morprgu (sp?) firl , Private Peaceful. the children would get to meet the author and get a free book.

what they didnt tell us was that the film is 12A, and culminates with the hero they have identified being shot for cowardice, when he didnt follow orders and stayed with a wounded friend in no mans land.

he is shot by firing squad .... i think its 12 of them..... while his comrades look on. they then disobey orders by refusing to depart...implying they will all be shot too.

he is singing his favourite childhood song as he is shot.

now im not squeamish or middle class at all... i watched 12 years a slave and cried all the way through at the horror of what actually happened all those years ago.

But my dd is 10. she cried when marley died... and it continues to worry her. this is a film unsuitable for my dd.

BUT i'm horrified that the notification from the school did not mention that it was a 12a or gave any indication that, as a parent, i should be concerned with the content...merley asking my permission for her to leave school in school hours.

My dd wont be going and she isnt the only one. my problem is though, that she is now missing out on CURRICULAR activities. it shouldnt be in the curriculum at all! yes to incuding the war, yes into interalising what happened, yes to trying to prevent it happening again.

BUT dont traumatise my child with stuff that is classified too old for her, and NO to trying to minimise the information given to parents

adoptmama Sun 06-Apr-14 11:23:31

All a 12a means is that a child under 12 cannot see the film without an accompanying adult. Therefore the film is not 'classified as too old for her' and I sincerely doubt the school was 'trying to traumatise' your child. More likely they were giving them the opportunity to see a well regarded film, the ending of which they already will know if they have been reading the book in school, and meet and talk to the author. I'd jump at the chance for my child to attend an event like this.

If you are concerned the letter from the school did not give enough detail, why not simply contact the school and ask that, in future, they give a little more detail to parents about the film, classification, content and curriculum links? She is not missing out on a curricular activity because of something the school has done; she is missing out on an extra-curricular activity because you have chosen not to send her. The school informed you of the activity, you exercised your right for her not to participate (which is the same choice the OP of this thread was given, and she chose to allow her child to participate and then complained). The book is generally used with Year 5 up (so age 10) and is considered entirely appropriate. You are saying 'it shouldn't be in the curriculum at all!' which I find really quite odd. Why on earth shouldn't it be used in schools? It is a book aimed at children of this age, considered suitable for children of this age and viewed as a very good book for children of this age. It also has a far lower body count that Harry Potter. Have you read Carrie's War? Goodnight Mr. Tom? The Diary of Ann Frank? There are dozens of excellent books for young readers out there - with accompanying films - which do not 'traumatise' children because they are dealt with in school in a way which allows children to understand, talk about and deal with the issues raised.

Youarejustwordsonascreenpeople Sun 06-Apr-14 11:52:55

Hear! bloody hear! Adoptmama

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