Young chil­dren ‘left ter­ri­fied’ as school tells them It’s WAR


Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By HE­LEN JOHN­SON he­len.john­son@men­ @he­len­j83MEN

PAR­ENTS say their chil­dren were left ‘ter­ri­fied’ af­ter a pri­mary school staged a mock bomb­ing raid and told them war had bro­ken out.

A num­ber of par­ents said some young­sters at Lud­worth Pri­mary School in Stock­port were left in tears – and were sick with fright – be­cause they did not know it was merely an ex­er­cise.

A group of par­ents told the M.E.N. they be­lieved it was par­tic­u­larly in­ap­pro­pri­ate to stage a mock bomb­ing raid as a child at the Marple Bridge school was at the Manch­ester Arena on May 22 – and is still trau­ma­tised.

The school said chil­dren showed ‘no signs of dis­tress’ and were ‘buzzing with ex­cite­ment’ about the ex­er­cise, which was in­tended to help them em­pathise with Sec­ond World War evac­uees.

Many par­ents, how­ever, said that was not the case and chil­dren were left up­set.

Pupils be­tween nine and 11 told their par­ents they were ush­ered into the school hall be­fore be­ing played a record­ing of for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Neville Cham­ber­lain an­nounc­ing that Bri­tain was at war with Ger­many. An air raid siren then rang out and young­sters were in­structed to hide un­der ta­bles.

Chil­dren said they were told they would be­come evac­uees – and some said they thought they wouldn’t see their par­ents again.

Par­ents claim young­sters were asked to write a post­card home, the open­ing line of which read: “Dear mum and dad, I hope you are still alive.”

The school told par­ents the ex­er­cise marked the launch of its Sec­ond World War topic and had given the chil­dren a ‘great in­sight into the thoughts and feel­ings of an evac­u­ated child.’

But a num­ber of par­ents were fu­ri­ous chil­dren weren’t told it was pre­tend from the start.

Some have con­tacted the school and the coun­cil about Wed­nes­day’s events.

One said: “There are other ways of gen­er­at­ing em­pa­thy in chil­dren with­out scar­ing them.

“The school is sup­posed to be your child’s place of safety. That place of safety has now been shat­tered.”

An­other par­ent added: “My daugh­ter was in tears. The chil­dren are old enough to be able to ar­tic­u­late how they feel.

“A child should not be up­set while in the care of their school.”

Lud­worth Pri­mary School in Stock­port played Neville Cham­ber­lain’s dec­la­ra­tion of war speech (right) to pupils, who were also told to hide un­der ta­bles as air raid sirens sounded

Lud­worth Pri­mary School in Stock­port

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