New stars for nativity plays

Punk fairies, spacemen and aliens are featuring in updated versions of the nativity story and in many schools it’s being replaced altogether with ‘winter celebrations’. Only a third of schools now stage a traditional nativity play and one in 14 banishes Christianity in favour of a fully secular event with a neutral title like ‘Seasonal Play’, the Telegraph reports.

Even schools which keep a religious theme tend to opt for a modernised nativity story, often featuring elaborate twists – one school based it on the story of The Apprentice. Others have taken out the traditional  baby Jesus to make room for everything from Elvis to the ingredients in a Christmas lunch including carrots, sprouts and even pumpkins.

The survey of more than 2,000 parents from Netmums also revealed that some of them admitted to feeling aggrieved that their child had not been cast as a major character such as Mary or Joseph, and believing that other parents try to pressurise teachers to give their child a bigger part.

“Do they know it’s Christmas? At some schools, it seems not,” Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of Netmums, said. “While the UK is a diverse and multicultural society and it’s right children learn about all religions and cultures, many parents feel the traditional nativity is being pushed aside. This study shows many parents who aren’t religious look to the nativity as a comforting part of the Christmas celebrations and want their school to embrace and celebrate it, rather than make up a version with less resonance for kids.”

Does your school stage a traditional nativity play or celebrate the occasion with something different? Which do you think is better? Share your views with the Eteach community!

3 thoughts on “New stars for nativity plays

  1. I have worked in extremely multicultural inner city primary schools for 12 years and so am well accustomed to the sensitivity of Christmas issues.
    I believe that the nativity should be staged in all schools , just as eid, Diwali and Chinese New Year should also be celebrated in all schools . The nativity contributes input on Christianity which all children and adults need. As we live in a multicultural country we must all be aware of each other s traditions and beliefs in order to respect them ,and each other, and what better than celebrating them all together in a fun way to do so ?!
    Not every child has to be Jesus, but there’s a place for everyone in a Christmas play or nativity.
    I think multicultural should mean celebrating all, not taking part of some peoples belief away because some people believe otherwise. I believe multicultural is all about tolerance, respect , awareness and sharing the best of all parts of beliefs and cultures :)

  2. I agree totally. By all means celebrate other festivals. Surely we should be a nation of tolerance and respect.

  3. This is a classic example of how the state sector is failing and still failing as an educational institution by trying to be all embracing regarding multiculturalism as the be all and end all of an inclusion at any cost ethos. Is it any wonder that the private sector is way ahead in every aspect of education leaving the state sector behind, why because they embrace tradition and British spirit and the pursuit of excellence. They don’t have to resort to gimmicks.

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