The more I think about it, the more I think I’m not normal. Last day of term, what would a normal teacher do? Put on a DVD and enjoy it. How much thought goes into the choice of film? Probably very little, maybe a vote from the kids and you’re done. Me? Oh no, that would be too easy.

As PPA cover I offered to supervise Year 5-6 while they watched their end of term video. I would sit there with a netbook, do my work, they’d enjoy themselves and everyone’s happy, but I did say I wanted a decent film rather than some of the potentially awful kids films out there. So we began to look through the possibilities and people said, it must be a U film. But why?

I asked on Twitter to see if anyone knew why we were not allowed to show PG films. After all, the BBFC say this of PG films:

Unaccompanied children of any age may watch. A ‘PG’ film should not disturb a child aged around eight or older. However, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset younger or more sensitive children.

So they can watch unaccompanied in a cinema or hire it from Blockbuster (do people still do that?) but it seems not with me in the room unless I ask parents first?

People’s responses on Twitter were varied and included:

  • We send a letter out to ask for parents permission before showing a PG
  • You’re in Loco Parentis, so you can make the decision
  • No, it must be a U film – parents aren’t there

Is it written down anywhere that we can/can’t show a PG? Surely with teacher’s professional judgement we can do this without writing to parents first? Is it one of those things like ‘no competitive sports’ and ‘banning video cameras at the nativity’ that everyone takes as gospel but isn’t actuallya rule anywhere at all? Some people had very firm views but noone could back it up with proper guidance. It’s just the way it is. @kvnmcl found this that helps a bit.

After discussing it with the head, we decided we could watch a PG so I set about using the excellent parent guides on IMDB and found Home Alone and Elf were out due to language.

In the end we went for a U film, Spy Kids 2, and had audible shock from the children when the main spy girl, Carmen,  said ‘sh*t’ half-way through!!! Admittedly she did say “Shitake mushrooms” but she pronounced the first bit much clearer, you can’t win can you?

On another note, one very interesting point that was raised by @dgilmour was whether we were allowed to show any film for entertainment rather than education. He pointed me to this website, that says we probably wouldn’t be covered legally to show a film to amuse the children. Here in Hampshire schools have an ERA license which is paid for by county. I was told, but never checked, that this covers us for showing films in school. This site says a PVS license is needed and it appears for our size school that it’s about £150 a year.

So, does your school have a license? Does the school deal with it or is it done through the LA? Is it something that only management need to worry about? Am I weird for even thinking about all this stuff? Surely I should just chuck any DVD on and be happy with it?

I think next year we’ll just let them bring games in (not electronic of course, there are rules)