The PSHE Association team have recently issued a warning against using Breck’s Last Game.
We advise schools not to use this film with young people as part of their PSHE curriculum. Our concerns are not limited to the full version of the film, and whilst accompanying lesson plans are available, these do not provide a safe and effective context for using either version of the film.
Breck’s Last Game is about Surrey teenager Breck Bednar who was killed by Essex computer engineer Lewis Daynes in 2014.
Daynes ran an online server where Breck, and several of his friends, played games online. It was through this forum that Daynes groomed Breck over 13 months – telling him a series of lies, turning him against family and friends, and eventually luring him to his flat on the promise of handing over a fake business.
The PSHE Association says that it has “significant concerns about the educational effectiveness of this film and its likely impact on young people, and warn schools against using it.”
They say that although the film has been created with the best of intentions, “it is not in line with best practice principles in PSHE education and as a result we do not believe it will support learning around reducing young people’s vulnerability.”
The PSHE team point out that the film will disturb or traumatise and they do not consider it to be suitable for use in any PSHE classroom. They give the following reasons:
- Using shocking imagery, stories or videos can retraumatise pupils who are already more vulnerable to distress in this area.
- Using extreme examples and images can actually delay young people from seeking help. Pupils may see or hear a story and be left with the impression that “my situation is nowhere near as bad as that” and so feel they are not yet deserving of help or support. This might be the case particularly when teaching pupils about relationship abuse, drug use or gang crime.
- Extreme cases may be more likely to make young people think ‘that won’t ever happen to me’ than the desired ‘that could be me’ response.
- In a classroom, it is very difficult for pupils to disengage; they cannot simply stand up and walk out without inviting attention or further consequences.
- For more info on best practice in using stories of crime in PSHE see Police in the Classroom handbook.
What do you think? Is the PSHE Association right to recommend that the film shouldn’t be shown? How do we protect children if they don’t see what happens in real-life?