Our trustee Mark Harrington, a special needs teacher, discusses the creation of the Breck Books Project a series of storybooks about online grooming aimed at SEN students
Drama is one of the most powerful tools within the special educational curriculum. It allows students to explore feelings, situations and stories without judgment, or worry of failing. It gives students a chance to learn and share stories. When beginning this project I knew that a play specifically written with SEN students in mind was vital to the project.
With this play, I aimed it at students with the mindset of 10+. The play’s running time is about 20-30 minutes depending on the student’s abilities. There are very few props and actions, and the language used is as simple as possible, making it easy to read and remember lines and cues. It is perfect for a small drama or English group, and is designed to be presented to another group or in an assembly. The idea behind this play is to educate as many people as possible.
The play, compared to the other books I have created, is much more about the feelings and reactions of people surrounding Breck, as well as delivering the tragic story of Breck. I wanted the young people to understand that it wasn’t just Breck who was affected by this tragedy, but that it had a devastating ripple effect on others. Equally, the play gives the audience a chance to look at times when things may have been able to be stopped, if people had known more or been educated more.
The play comes with a six-week scheme of work and worksheets to help support and consolidate learning for students. I can’t wait to see how young people, different schools and drama groups interpret this story. I hope it becomes a useful tool for everyone and helps young people understand the dangers of online ‘friendships’.
If you would like to see more about the books and projects Mark is working on, follow him on Instagram and Facebook @harrington_projects.