Christmas cancelled at primary school after damning Ofsted report

Kent Online is reporting that Christmas celebrations have been cancelled at a Maidstone primary school after it received a damning Ofsted report.

Parents of children at Barming Primary School were outraged when interim head teacher Andrew Gould decided this year’s Christmas plays would not go ahead because staff needed to concentrate on getting the school out of special measures.

Other extra-curricular activities such as football, swimming, cross country and the annual trip to The Hazlitt Theatre’s pantomime have also been scrapped, although Mr Gould says this happened before he arrived at the school. 

An online petition, started by parents in a bid to persuade Mr Gould to change his mind, had gathered more than 400 signatures by yesterday morning.

In a letter to parents, Mr Gould defended his decision saying: “In order to improve the school’s performance I cannot justify large groups of children missing out on parts of the curriculum and furthermore cannot countenance taking teachers and teaching assistants from their core purpose, which is to teach and support learning.”

In a statement, Mr Gould said other Christmas activities would take place during the final week of the term but staff had not yet agreed on details…

More at: Christmas cancelled at Barming Primary School after damning Ofsted report


This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of decisions like this being taken in schools struggling to improve their Ofsted ranking.

What do you think of the steps being taken? Are they reasonable, unfair on the children or a sad indictment of the system?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. tenpennethworth

    SchoolsImprove It is an operational decision for the HT to make. He has to carry the can, so he should judge the needs of the situation.

  2. clivetaylor915

    Save this post in a time capsule. Concrete proof that 21stC political dogma is damaging children. Sick. Shut OfSTED now.

  3. BehaviourA

    Dramatic headline – the play is cancelled not Christmas. However an annual performance is more important that any tests. Could use the play to enhance the curriculum and make it more meaningful – make it the theme for the rest of term. Literacy & RE writing about the nativity story and religious practices and customs in other cultures/ creative writing about Christmas/ poems. History/ Geog  how it has been celebrated in other countries at other times etc/ maths measurement & calculations on the theme/ Design tech & art scenery and costume design & props…………I could go on. Not enough creativity and flexibility in schools.

    I have heard of schools ‘blaming’ the children and telling them off for under performing. Really not on.

  4. According of Ofsted monitoring in June, the Acting Head Andrew Gould has ‘rightly prioritised the most important areas for
    improvement to help staff focus their work effectively.’
    However, cancelling Christmas plays is a step too far.  As Behaviour A says below, plays are a way of enhancing the curriculum not detracting from it.
    And it upsets parents, as he’s discovering.  But schools need parents on side.

  5. BridgetBurke2

    SchoolDuggery emmamckinney the children aren’t to blame, not a trip out for staff. Sets a miserable tone for Christmas which will linger

  6. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Whilst Ofsted haven’t made his decision (or others along similar lines) it is their actions that have led to it. Corrosive

  7. RMT1966

    SchoolsImprove Schools become so fixated with Ofsted that they forget that their purpose is educating, not achieving targets.

  8. _mattac_

    SchoolsImprove scale things down but remember Christmas itself does cover teaching and learning ie culture, drama, reading…………

  9. aqualavender

    SchoolsImprove waste of time cancelling. HMI will visit over the next year so there is no immediate panic. Takes 2 years as an average.

  10. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove What the hell’s happening to Headteachers? The system produces these odd behaviours…thank goodness for the parents

Let us know what you think...