Children at Padstow School in the English county of Cornwall are being denied the chance to decorate the town’s Christmas tree – after the school received a bad report from the government’s inspector.
The school was given an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating, leading to children being told they would be unable to participate in the Christmas tradition. The Ofsted report – published last week – said the school would need to take “special measures” to improve.
A school spokesperson said: “Due to an extremely busy timetable of events and activities planned between now and Christmas and a commitment to ongoing school improvement, the school has politely declined to be involved this year.”
Parents and the local community met the decision with outrage. The Telegraph reported parents said the school has taken away the magic community feel the event usually gives.
Seriously! Padstow School scraps Christmas tree decorating tradition. Some things are more important than an Ofsted report. https://t.co/RKTRx8C7DV
— Two more sleeps… (@Keggle) November 22, 2017
Anna Wright, a parent of a child at the school, told The Telegraph she couldn’t believe the “absolutely disgusting” decision. “What’s been taken away is the magic of community getting together, all because our Ofsted report was a shambles,” she added.
Another parent, Emma George, told The Telegraph the tradition had been in place for many years. Pupils would hand-make decorations before hanging them on the town’s large Christmas tree. At the event, they were all given free hot chocolate by a local business.
“It’s a disgrace; it’s so sad that [the head teacher] wants to take this away,” the mother-of-three said.
But it is not all doom and gloom. In the spirit of Christmas, the community has banded together to organise independent events for the children to continue the tradition.
“I understand these teachers are under a lot of pressure but it’s been a tradition for nine years or so that all the kids are so proud of,” parent Emily Colwill told The Telegraph.
More than 60 people have contacted Colwill and the other parents who wish to make a difference offering help. She claimed to be “blown away by the community spirit”.
The school “has always enjoyed close links with the town”, the spokesperson added, and will be involved in many community events this Christmas.
Speaking with Cornwall Live, the school said: “The children will be singing in the carol concert held in the parish church every year for their families, [and] carol singing outside Tesco Padstow store as well as rehearsing and performing their annual nativity.
“In addition, the school is currently working on a giant lantern to be paraded at the forthcoming Padstow Christmas Festival.”