A primary school has cancelled its Christmas nativity in favour of Muslim festival of Eid celebrations because it would be too much for the children to do both.
By Nick Britten
Last Updated: 2:30PM GMT 03 Dec 2008
Greenwood Junior School sent out a letter to parents saying the three-day festival of Eid al-Adha, which takes place between December 8 and 11, meant that Muslim children would be off school.
That meant planning for the traditional nativity play were shelved because the school felt it would be too difficult to run both celebrations side by side.
The move has left parents furious.
Janette Lynch, whose seven-year-old son Keanu attends the school, in Sneinton, Nottingham, said: "The head has a whole year to plan for Eid and so she should be able to plan for both religious festivals.
"I have never heard of this at a school. It is the first year my son has been there and a lot of the mums like me were really looking forward to seeing the children in the nativity."
She said a letter, sent from "The staff at Greenwood Junior School', said: "It is with much regret that we have had to cancel this year's Christmas performances. This is due to the Eid celebrations that take place next week and its effect on our performers."
The school is to hold a number of children's Eid activities for those pupils who do not take two days off to celebrate with their families.
Following outrage from parents, the school was forced to send out a second letter saying that the Christmas play would be done in January.
Sent by the head teacher, Amber Latif, and Yvonne Wright, chair of governors, it apologised for "any misunderstanding" but said it had to respect "the cultures and religions of all the children".
It added: "The Christmas performance has not been cancelled outright but has been postponed until the New Year."
Parents said they were originally told the performance was cancelled because children wanted to celebrate Eid with their families at home, and planning of the school year made it difficult to move performance dates to another week.
Sajad Hussain, 35, of who has two children at Greenwood Junior, said: "My children will be off for the two days next week to see their family.
"It's not that complicated; they could have one event on one day and another on another day, they should have both celebrations at the school.
"If you do not have both it becomes a racist thing and that's why you have to be careful If an issue is made out of it, it could become nasty."
Yesterday, a statement issued by Greenwood Junior, said: "We would like to apologise for any confusion caused as a result of [the original] letter we sent out and would like to reassure parents and the community that Christmas has not been cancelled at Greenwood Junior School.
"For very practical reasons we have taken the difficult decision to re-arrange some significant events on the school calendar to ensure maximum pupil and staff attendance."