Nearly half of schools scrap traditional nativity play for updated version starring modern characters

The Mail is reporting results of a Netmums survey that claims just one in three schools still holds a traditional nativity play even though it suggests parents want the Christmas story to live on in education…

The most popular Christmas play now staged in schools is an ‘updated nativity’ featuring characters such as aliens, punk fairies, footballers, drunk spacemen, Elvis and recycling bins, a survey showed today.

Seven per cent of schools even refuse to call the production a Christmas or nativity play, preferring instead ‘Winter Celebration’, ‘Seasonal Play’ or ‘End of Year Concert’.

The poll also showed that parents want to keep alive the traditional nativity play with 65 per cent saying they wished their children’s school staged one.

The findings come amid growing concern among some clergy that Christianity is being marginalised in Britain.

Just 32 per cent of primary schools continue to stage a traditional nativity which tells the story of Christ’s birth, according to a poll of 2,157 members of parenting site Netmums.

Instead, nearly half – 47 per cent – stage an ‘updated nativity’ which mixes modern and traditional characters.

A further one in eight – 12 per cent – puts on a ‘modern nativity’ which dispenses with religious references altogether…

Almost one in ten schools decided against staging a Christmas production at all…

The decline of the traditional nativity is against parents’ wishes, the poll suggested.

Of parents whose school had elected not to hold a traditional nativity, 65 per cent would like it to introduce one…

More at: The schools where Elvis is a nativity star: Nearly half of schools scrap traditional play for updated version starring modern characters


The report goes on to claim that 14 per cent admitted being ‘upset and disappointed’ by the part allocated to their child in the school Christmas play – good luck to sorting all that out! So what do you think – are schools being too quick to move away from traditional nativity plays or do you find modern alternatives a better option? Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove In current political climate wouldn’t a school showing a nativity play incur the wrath of Ofsted for lacking diversity?

  2. Janet2

    This is a perennial complaint by the Mail.  But just because a school puts on, say, a pantomime one year doesn’t mean it won’t do a nativity next year.  Non-traditional performances often have more parts therefore allowing more children to take part (and it also avoids parental wrath when their child isn’t chosen to be Mary or Joseph).

    That said, if a school wants to do a Nativity Play then the governors/trustees shouldn’t attempt to ban it as happened in one B’Ham school last year.

  3. Johnthe14th

    SchoolsImprove Mainstream churches must surely know what is going on in their local schools. Why are they not showing some leadership?

  4. nrcantor

    SchoolsImprove The move to a less Christian-centric holiday play is indicative of a more multi-cultural UK. This is progress.

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