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KS2 PSHE and English: An Alternative Fringe (1993)

This short animation forms the basis for a formal letter writing activity

Main image of KS2 PSHE and English: An Alternative Fringe (1993)
Author Michael Hammond, LSBU
Topic Letter writing and expressing yourself
Show full lesson spec

An anxious young woman finds herself regretting her visit to the hairdressers.

An Alternative Fringe (1993) pokes fun at the 'everywoman' who is unable to assert herself in everyday situations. In this scene she emerges from the hairdresser with less hair and less money, having failed to stand up to a domineering stylist. While the emotional trauma of a bad haircut is likely to be more familiar to girls than boys, the film is a good starting point for considering how to assert yourself positively and resolve difficult or potentially difficult situations.

This lesson idea uses the clip as the basis for a formal letter writing activity. It also encourages pupils to use their imagination to explore the range of emotions portrayed and develop their vocabulary in talking about the animated characters.

Lesson Objective

  • To imagine other people's experiences and feelings and to explore these feelings through dialogue, both written and verbal.
  • To write a formal letter of complaint or apology, assuming the role of one of the characters in the animated clip.


After watching the clip ask children to discuss, in pairs, the range of emotions felt by the two main characters; the hairdresser and the customer.

Split the class in the middle, asking one half to brainstorm adjectives that describe the hairdresser and the other half to brainstorm the adjectives that describe the customer. Collect pupils' ideas on the board, asking them to generate synonyms for certain words of your choice.

You may wish to supply lower ability children with some model questions.


Main Attraction

Explain that one half of the class will be writing a letter of complaint from the customer to the hairdresser while the other half will be writing a letter of apology from the hairdresser to the customer.

Recap on the main features of a formal letter. Depending on the class's ability, you might want to provide a formal letter-writing frame.

Now, split the board into two headings, Complaint and Apology, and brainstorm the type of language one would expect to see in each letter. Students could also come up with vocabulary and phrases they would expect to find in these types of letters, building up a 'word bank' that they can refer to when writing their letters independently.

Split the class into two and give pupils an allotted to time to complete their letters.


End Credits

Ask the children to read their letter to their partner, starting with the letter of complaint.

Are there any pairs who will volunteer to read their work out to the class?


External Links

Video Clips
Extract (2:44)
Downloadable Teaching Resources

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Alternative Fringe (1993)Alternative Fringe (1993)

Read more about this film

See also

Thumbnail image of KS3 Citizenship: Alternative Fringe (1993)KS3 Citizenship: Alternative Fringe (1993)

How might students have handled this everyday situation differently?