Minister said Christmas plays should be shown in schools this Christmas despite Covid concerns
- School Secretary Robin Walker encouraged schools to submit Christmas plays
- Many schools have canceled end-of-term performance due to Covid concerns
- Walker wants to “go as far as possible” because it’s an important tradition
The minister has urged schools to organize Christmas plays despite Covid concerns as it is an important tradition.
Robin Walker said he would like to see “as many people as possible move forward” this Christmas amid reports of several cancellations.
Whitmore Primary School in Essex announced last week that it has canceled its in-person performance at the end of the semester. Instead, each class will perform its own Christmas play, which will be recorded for parents, in order to “prevent the spread of COVID”.
Meanwhile, at the Wyke Regis Primary Federation in Dorset, all Christmas activities will be “school-only and shared online with parents”.
Cranborne Primary School in Hertfordshire has told parents they can only watch cradle play from a distance.
But yesterday Mr Walker said: “I want to see schools continue to engage with parents in as constructive a manner as possible.
Of course, where they can safely proceed, things like birthday plays and end-of-term shows are really important and a good way to do that. I would like to see as many going forward as possible.
Schools Minister Robin Walker has urged schools to stage Christmas plays despite Covid concerns as it is an important tradition
When asked if it was wrong for schools to personally ban Christmas plays and festive events, Mr. Walker said: “I think it’s good that those important traditions are kept as they are.”
But he added: ‘I understand that there will be schools that feel the need to take extra precautions especially when it comes to getting adults into school… they have to be able to look at their local conditions.
They should be able to work with local directors of public health who will have a sense of the local situation. And I respect that it will be different in different parts of the country.
In the past year, many schools have had to cancel their birth plays amid the pandemic while others have hosted traditional online shows instead.
The School Leaders Union said some of its members this year moved birthday parties and festive celebrations online or to video only, due to a spike in cases locally.
Mr Walker said: ‘I realize – and had to do so last year – in these circumstances sometimes they will feel it is safe for children to go ahead with the performance and for parents to watch it from a distance. This was part of the reality we’ve all been through.
“I want to see schools continue to engage with parents as constructively as possible,” said Mr. Walker. “Things like Christmas plays and end-of-term shows are really important and a good way to do that.”
James Bowen, director of policy at NAHT, said: “There is nothing schools want more than to have an auditorium full of families enjoying children giving their festive performances.
However, they have a lot of things to balance when deciding what to do this year. Schools will listen carefully to advice from public health teams and local authorities and will put appropriate measures in place based on that advice.
Jeff Barton, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘Leaders will be realistic about the significant challenges they continue to face in addressing the disruption of normal school life…
Some may, reluctantly, decide to cancel the shows, but the technology that has played such a vital role in education during the pandemic is also providing schools with the opportunity to put on virtual shows.