1. ITV Report

School under fire for end of term video featuring a playground gun massacre

A top private school is under fire for an end of term video which features teachers and students recreating a school massacre.

Highgate Leavers Video 2014 Credit: YouTube/Jake Morris

The hour-long film includes a member of staff walking through the playground firing at pupils with a plastic machine gun. He wields the weapon as students are seen running in horror - before another tutor pretends to be shot and drops down dead.

Highgate Leavers Video 2014 Credit: YouTube/Jake Morris

The film even finishes with a critique from Simon Cowell. The 'Sandy Hook-style' film also features students cooking crystal meth at the £18,000-a-year Highgate School in north London.

Highgate Leavers Video 2014 Credit: YouTube/Jake Morris

Adam Pettitt, headmaster of Highgate, which consistently ranks among Britain's top private schools, has defended the film:

A leavers' film without controversy would be like fish and chips without the salt and vinegar, and the annual question is whether this joke or that joke is, in fact, in bad taste. I know that my leavers in 2014 would be genuinely upset if survivors of the tragic gun massacres in the US were affected by, or took offence at, this tongue-in-cheek scene modelled on an action film shoot-out where leavers, dressed as Men in Black, carry an injured, and long-serving, schoolmaster to the steps of the newly restored chapel where he mimes his last minutes. They'd associate this scene with American film rather than with American actuality. After all, they will have grown up more aware of knife crime and its tragic repercussions than with the terrible problem of guns in the US.

– Adam Pettitt
Highgate Leavers Video 2014 Credit: YouTube/Jake Morris

In vying with their peers in other schools for a fraction of a moment of notoriety, or in framing an affectionate portrait of their school, all leavers run a risk: on this occasion, I believe that the context makes it clear that this is not only tongue-in-cheek, and very British, but a reference to cinematic gun crime, and that the 2014 leavers have not, consciously or otherwise, overlooked the seminal importance to society - and young people - of getting to grips with violence of any kind, especially that violence which has led to the tragic loss of life in schools.

– Adam Pettitt

At another point in the film, a disclaimer reads "No drugs were taken", during a later segment, students are seen cooking Breaking Bad-style crystal meth.

Highgate Leavers Video 2014 Credit: YouTube/Jake Morris

The video, which has been posted on YouTube, also features Simon Cowell, giving the film an X Factor critique.

At the end of the video, Simon Cowell says:

Unbelievable, I expected better from Highgate. That video was complete and utter rubbish. Kidding. I like it. I loved it. Good luck to all the Highgate 2014 leavers. And don't quit your day job.

– Simon Cowell

Watch the video in full below.