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Showing a 15 film to 11 year olds in school

(65 Posts)
chocolateflapjack Mon 15-Oct-12 13:26:41

Now, do please tell me if you think IABU

As part of a history lesson, year 7s (many barely 11) were shown an extract from a cerificate 15 film. (The Life of Brian). This extract was inocuous.

For homework they are ancouraged to access this extract for themselves on youtube.

The response from the head of history is this:
We have shown the clip in class for a number of years and it is always received well by students; they enjoy the comedy and it is a good introduction to the topic, and for this reason we will continue to use it next year.

My concerns are
1. A child is being introduced to something potentially unsuitable, which they wouldn't have come across otherwise, and it would be easy to view other (less suitable) clips from this film on youtube.
2. A 15 film classification decision is reached by trained film classifiers, so it's not really the teacher's job to decide whether this is OK or not.
3. I have the right to expect that the classroom at least will be a safe place, and that my child will not be exposed to unsuitable material BY THE TEACHER.
4. The fact that a film clip is "received well" doesn't justify it.

Does anyone know what the law says about this and has anyone any suggestions for taking this further? I am not quite angry enough for the Daily Mail. Yet.

SamSmalaidh Mon 15-Oct-12 13:29:47

If the clip itself is suitable for the age group I'm not sure of the problem. Children could view anything on YouTube, at 11 I would expect parents to be supervising their internet usage.

donnie Mon 15-Oct-12 13:34:16

I agree with you Op. Plus if a history teacher feels compelled to show clips from a film like that, I am inclined to take a rather dim view of their teaching capabilities. And I am a secondary school teacher myself. Since when did the Life of Brian become an historically accurate depiction of events?

seeker Mon 15-Oct-12 13:36:00

It depends what th history topic was.

chocolateflapjack Mon 15-Oct-12 13:39:16

But they wouldn't think to type in "Life of Brian" would they?

I personally don't stand over each of my children constantly while they are on the internet. I can't imagine anyone with more than one child / dinner to cook / normally functioning bladder could say they are watching internet usage 100% of the time. I think if children really wanted to view something they thought was 'naughty' they would find an opportunity.

chocolateflapjack Mon 15-Oct-12 13:40:11

The topic is "What the Romans did for us".

I think Adam Hart-Davies covers it pretty well myself!

MaryZed Mon 15-Oct-12 13:41:36

If the clip itself was innocuous, I don't see the problem.

Just don't let him watch any more at home.

As far as I am concerned branching away from traditional "book-learning", into methods that encourage children to participate and be enthusiastic and interested in a topic is a good thing.

blackteaplease Mon 15-Oct-12 13:42:08

They should be showing age appropriate clips or seeking your consent first.

WereTricksPotter Mon 15-Oct-12 13:42:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryZed Mon 15-Oct-12 13:43:10

Added to which Life of Brian (the whole thing) is pretty harmless compared to what most unsupervised 11 year olds will find on the internet.

Life of Brian's take on the Romans and Christianity is rather like a Horrible History book.

When I was a kid it was banned, because of it's irreverent attitude to Christianity hmm, I'm not sure why it is a 15s now.

WereTricksPotter Mon 15-Oct-12 13:44:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Mon 15-Oct-12 13:44:25

Then I think it's perfect!

I do think it is a bit odd that L of B is a 15- I wonder why? Blasphemy, I suppose.

WereTricksPotter Mon 15-Oct-12 13:44:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

donnie Mon 15-Oct-12 13:45:45

I loathe Horrible Histories but that is another story.

There are many better sources of information about the Romans than the Life of Brian FGS. Sounds like the teacher is lazy IMO.

chocolateflapjack Mon 15-Oct-12 13:46:20

This is the clip

EdithWeston Mon 15-Oct-12 13:48:43

If it was just a clip of "What the Romans Did for us" then IIRC it is innocuous, and I can see why a teacher might want to use it.

But I agree that films with a BBFC classification 4 years ahead of the age of the children does require care, and should be with parental consent. I think the school could have handled this better by informing parents beforehand that they were planning to use the innocuous clip, sending YouTube link then so parents could check the content, and giving a contact point for any who object. That would take the same effort as responding to complaints afterwards, but achieves vastly more positive communication.

MaryZed Mon 15-Oct-12 13:50:16

I don't remember that BeerTricks, it must have gone over my head grin.

I think that is a very good clip, btw.

SecretSquirrels Mon 15-Oct-12 13:52:25

This is Secondary Ed not AIBU but yes, you are BU and over-reacting.
In the great scheme of things having 11 year olds watch Life of Brian is pretty harmless I'd say.
In cinemas they show age appropriate clips from 18 rated films at viewings of under 18 films so I doubt it's illegal.

MaryZed Mon 15-Oct-12 13:52:29

Though I'm a bit baffled as to why when it finishes YouTube flicks back to a woman's bum in a pink bikini bottom.

I hope they didn't leave that bit in grin

Edith, the trouble with the school asking before is that a lot of parents won't even look at the clip, but will just immediately say "oh, 15's, the teachers must be irresponsible, I won't consent" which is such a shame.

WereTricksPotter Mon 15-Oct-12 13:54:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Mon 15-Oct-12 13:55:29

"There are many better sources of information about the Romans than the Life of Brian FGS. Sounds like the teacher is lazy IMO."

Really? I think it sounds like a fantastic teacher! So much to talk about from that clip!

Blu Mon 15-Oct-12 13:58:06

I wouldn't have a problem with it.

The clip itself is innocuous and historically accurate, telling the story of the immense impact of the Romans well.

yr 7 DS doesn't have much unsupervised access to the 'net, and tbh if he did the Life of brian is the least of my worries!

I can't see that there would be a legal issue -on planes they show higher age-rated films with the adult material bleeped / pixialated or cut out to make the same film suitable. If a suitable clip is shown, i think that's fine.

frankie4 Mon 15-Oct-12 13:58:24

There is loads of swearing in the life of Brian. I let my DC aged 11 watch the film at home as I think it is a brilliant film, and although I felt uncomfortable with the swearing I am really pleased he watched and enjoyed it with us. I am very strict about films and would not let him normally watch a 15 film, particularly if it is violent or disturbing. I did not let him watch the Hunger Games , for example.

But this was my decision, and the school should not make the decision for the parents. If the children are allowed to watch a clip from the film, then it is common sense that they would then want to look up other clips from the film and see the rest of the film.

WereTricksPotter Mon 15-Oct-12 14:00:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryZed Mon 15-Oct-12 14:01:57

I don't remember that, frankie, but it was a looong time ago that I saw it. I recall it being in parts hysterical, in parts just dark and gloomy.

The can want to see the film, but it's up to parents whether to let them or not. It's like letting teenagers read extracts of books in school - parents can decide whether or not to buy the whole book.

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