Challenges pupils must face

5th March 1999 at 00:00
STOP THE BULLY NOW. Video. Tony Jewers Productions. pound;22.95. Age range: 5-9

OUT OF YOUR DEPTH. Infant Video Project. pound;19.50. Age range: 5-11

RESPECT YOURSELFPROTECT YOURSELF. Video and resource pack. Hygia Communications. pound;58.75. Age range: 13-14

Three social education videos aim to raise pupils' self-awareness. Liz Swinden reports

Any primary school looking to develop work about bullying may find Stop the Bully Now!, a direct 13-minute video, much to their liking. The presenter comes across as a sensible older sister. "What is a bully?' she asks, after which children from two Essex primary schools act out short scenes showing different kinds of bullying that all children will recognise. A boy harrasses a girl at a playground picnic table while another boy steals something belonging to a younger one. Emotional bullying is not missed either: a girl is excluded by her peer group. "It's as bad as being hit," we are told.

It is made very clear what counts as bullying: picking on others, name-calling, taking things, kicking and punching, as well as racial taunts. The children tell us what they did to try and stop being bullied. They are advised to tell a trusted adult. The clear message to bullies is that their behaviour will not be tolerated.

Two moments stand out: the shy boy who says "My mum says I don't have to fight", and a spirited girl who says "When I grow up I'm going to be a police lady and stop these nasty people." If only.

Out of Your Depth is broadly about peer pressure, decision-making and friendship. It was commissioned by Nottinghamshire County Council's drugs education team and designed to help teachers deal with a variety of personal and social education topics.

The story is about Abbi and Hannah, both 10, who go down to the river to mess about. One of them finds an unknown substance, tries unsuccessfully to persuade her friend to try it and eats it herself. She collapses. Her friend gets help.

The story is realistic, dramatic and well acted. It will hold an audience's attention, although I have to say that I did find the accent of one of the girls hard to understand at times. The story raises issues of safety, drugs and medicines, using the telephone, feelings and self-esteem.

The excellent resource pack contains detailed lesson plans and worksheets. Although the material would probably be more suitable for juniors, it would be a valuable addition to any primary school's resources.

Respect YourselfProtect Yourself was made in response to research showing that over the past 15 years there has been a 21 per cent increase in the incidence of sexually transmissible infections, which peaks among 16 to 24-year-olds. Dorset Health Authority funded the video for use with 13 and 14-year-olds.

Two young presenters go on a fact-finding mission for a youth club to find out about sexually transmitted diseases. They learn aspects of sexual health, what services are available and how young people can obtain them.

Although the film was made in Dorset and features local services, there is enough general information to apply to anywhere in the country. It includes a tour of a drop-in youth centre and a genito-urinary medicine clinic, meeting a nurse, health advisor, doctor and youth advisory nurse.

The video is 36 minutes long with repeat sections for classroom use. The package includes a resource book giving detailed, easy-to-use session plans which could sustain four 50-minute sessions, although there are other shorter options.

I acted as a consultant in the early stages of making this video, so am not completely unbiased, but it was awarded a certificate of educational merit in last year's British Medical Association film competition.

* Tony Jewers Productions, 4 Greystones Close, Colchester, Essex CO3 4RQ. Tel: 01206 575788

* Infant Video Project, 91 Rothesay Avenue, Nottingham NG7 1PW. Tel: 0115 9784402

* Hygia Communications, co Mike Berry. Tel: 01797 344623

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