Concerns raised about nativity plays this Christmas amid the pandemic

Concerns raised about nativity plays this Christmas amid the pandemic

Worries have been voiced about whether nativity plays will be able to go ahead this year.

The Association of School and College Leaders union says the pandemic will cause a string of problems for nativity plays.

And many schools have already decided to scrap theirs this year.

More than 40 per cent of primary school teachers say nativity plays have been cancelled.

However, a number of schools – in particular, fee-paying schools – are hoping to host performances online instead.

A poll of 1,483 primary school teachers in England by Teacher Tapp found that 42 per cent said their school will not be having nativity activities this year.

Furthermore, one headteachers’ union leader has warned a number of schools may struggle to stage events if they lack the resources, the staff or the energy due to pressures of the pandemic.

The survey found that nearly half (48 per cent) of teachers said their primary school was planning to run a nativity activity online.

A total of three per cent said they were hoping to allow some visitors to a nativity play this year, according to the poll carried out on November 3.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “Schools are very conscious of the importance of nativity activities to children and parents, but the Covid pandemic presents a host of problems which make these events very difficult this year.”

There are regional differences.

More than half (53 per cent) of teachers in the Midlands said their school was not holding a nativity this year.

In London, though, less than a third (30 per cent) of teachers said that.

Private school teachers (72 per cent) were much more likely to say their school was planning to host a virtual nativity than state school teachers (46 per cent).

Mr Barton added: “Some schools will be able to stage virtual events, but others may not be able to do so if they lack the necessary technical resources, staff are absent because of the need to self-isolate, or all their energies are absorbed dealing with the day-to-day challenges of the pandemic.

“Nevertheless, we are sure that schools will be doing everything possible to celebrate Christmas in any way they can manage, and to make sure children are still able to enjoy the festive period.”

The Guardian reports that some schools are filming nativities outdoors before footage is then shared with parents.

Sedbergh Preparatory School in Cumbria, which normally puts on a nativity play involving its reception-year pupils, is starting rehearsals this week.

Emma Goligher, who is part of the school’s marketing and admissions team, said: “It’s been an experience that has also prompted us to think about things a little differently this year, so that will be reflected in what will also hopefully be a fun way.

“For example, after a scene the children might be asked questions about what they experienced and answer them in character. The shepherds might say how they felt about seeing the bright lights in the sky. We’ll try to link it in to our teaching.”