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PSE - Mel breaks the ice

Last year, the musical Missing Mel entertained audiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This year, the production is being used to teach youngsters about issues such as bullying, gossip and sexuality.

Missing Mel is set in a school on the first day of a new term. Everyone has arrived except for Mel and nobody knows what has happened to her. Is it something to do with Cat, who is believed to be Mel's arch-enemy and prime suspect when her drink was spiked at a party two days earlier? The simple question "Where is Mel?" is used as the basis of a serious exploration of many of the issues of school life - bullying, jealousy, fear of exams, relationships, gossip and backbiting.

Now the teachers' union NASUWT and Youth Music Theatre UK, which originally devised the musical with young people in 2004, have joined forces to launch the teachers' resource pack. The overall aims are: l to find engaging ways to involve young people in discussing issues affecting their lives; l to raise young people's confidence and self-esteem; l to help them understand how to make positive choices; and l to develop communication skills through stimulation by real and imaginary contexts.

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