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Head defends Santa ban over no £1 fee

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 18, 2013

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A HEAD teacher has defended her actions after a pupil was stopped from seeing Father Christmas because he forgot to bring the £1 fee to school.

The story of Ben Cawston made national headlines last week when he was stopped from seeing Santa during his visit to Bude Infants School. Ben forgot to bring his £1 with him and so had to wait with a teacher while classmates got a present.

Around 20 other pupils who had not brought in the money for the Christmas Fair last Friday week also did not get to see Santa.

Mum Michelle Cawston said: "It was just heart-breaking to see. For the sake of a pound all they had to do was phone me at work.

"It should never have happened to kids of that age."

However, head teacher Sally Strange told the Cornish Guardian this week: "I appreciate the concerns which have been expressed by Mrs Cawston over the fact that her son did not see Father Christmas at last week's Christmas Fair, and have offered instead to take her son to see Father Christmas at a different school.

"The opportunity to see Father Christmas has been part of our Christmas Fair activities for a number of years, with parents and carers asked to pay £1 if they wish their child to take part.

"We always arrange for Father Christmas to be present throughout the whole day so that working parents can also be involved.

"Details of the event, with a reminder about the payment, were publicised widely on posters in all classrooms and in three newsletters sent to parents and carers before the fair.

"Unfortunately, despite these reminders, Mrs Cawston's son had not been given the £1 to enable him to take part.

"As not all parents and carers wish their children to see Father Christmas the visit has always been optional.

"On this occasion, 22 children were not involved in the visit to Father Christmas and, while I appreciate that in the case of Mrs Cawston's son the parents had wished for him to be involved but had not given him the payment, it would not have been practical for the school to contact all 22 children to check their individual circumstances."

Mrs Cawston refused to talk further, saying that the matter was now closed.

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  • Doitdreckley  |  December 18 2013, 9:06PM

    Schools are always demanding money for school uniform free days, red nose day, children in need etc. This is regardless of the family ability to pay in these difficult times. Of course, all you get is an arrogant lecture from a teacher like this.

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  • josdave  |  December 18 2013, 8:55AM

    The parents were all aware of this charge so it is down to them to make sure their children had the money. But I do think the head teacher could have shown some compassion, let the children see Father Xmas and billed the parents who were to blame for this fiasco.

    Rate   -7