Yorkshire school that 'can­celled Christ­mas' re­in­states it af­ter hun­dreds of let­ters

The Guardian Australia - - Headlines - Josh Hal­l­i­day North of Eng­land cor­re­spon­dent

A school that threat­ened to ban Christ­mas has been per­suaded to re­in­state it af­ter re­ceiv­ing hun­dreds of “thought­ful” let­ters and emails from pupils.

Lady Lum­ley’s school in Pick­er­ing, North Yorkshire, cast it­self as a mod­ern­day Ebenezer Scrooge when it told pupils that the true mean­ing of Christ­mas had been “buried un­der an avalanche of com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion”.

Re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion teacher Chris Paul told stu­dents that Christ­mas was “a day cel­e­brat­ing the birth of Je­sus and should be a time of good­will to all” but that its orig­i­nal mean­ing had been lost. Even Santa Claus, Paul said, “was prob­a­bly in­vented by the Coca-Cola com­pany”. The teacher said there would be “no cards, no par­ties, no gifts and no Christ­mas tree” un­less pupils wrote a per­sua­sive ar­gu­ment about why the school should cel­e­brate the hol­i­day. The miserly move brought com­plaints from some par­ents who de­scribed it as “horrible” and “dis­gust­ing”.

But af­ter re­ceiv­ing more than 500 emails and let­ters “mak­ing a strong case” for jin­gling the bells and bring­ing back the baubles, the school re­lented.

In a mes­sage to par­ents on Tues­day, the head­teacher Richard Bram­ley said the idea had been to chal­lenge stu­dents to con­sider the true mean­ing of Christ­mas.

He said: “Those stu­dents who re­ally thought about the sit­u­a­tion and chal­lenged the de­ci­sion ap­pro­pri­ately cre­ated the change and brought back Christ­mas. Well done to them and I hope they (and, in the true spirit of the sea­son, ev­ery­one else) has a good Christ­mas.”

Bram­ley said the chal­lenge was to make stu­dents con­sider the way in which so­ci­ety cel­e­brates Christ­mas and think about the so­cial prob­lems that arise around this time: “Stu­dents were asked to chal­lenge the sta­tus quo; to ask ‘why should we do things just be­cause we have al­ways done them?’ and … to ques­tion whether non-re­li­gious peo­ple should cel­e­brate a re­li­gious fes­ti­val.”

He added: “With over 500 emails and let­ters mak­ing a strong case for its re­ten­tion, Lady Lum­ley’s has de­cided to keep Christ­mas in 2018.”

The school con­firmed that the fairy lights and Christ­mas tree would ap­pear once again at Lady Lum­ley’s. It re­mains to be seen whether they get a visit from Santa.

Pho­to­graph: Friede­mann Vo­gel/EPA

Head­teacher Richard Bram­ley said they wanted to chal­lenge stu­dents to con­sider the truemean­ing of Christ­mas.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.