Half of schools in England cancel traditional nativity plays

Half of schools in England cancel traditional nativity plays while others will hold ‘virtual’ performances due to Covid pandemic, survey finds

  • Around half of England’s primary schools have cancelled nativity plays this year
  • Some are planning to film and edit plays in scenes and then screen them online 
  • Last year, hundreds of schools had to reschedule nativity because of the election

At least half of England’s primary schools have cancelled their nativity plays this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Stringent social distancing measures have forced hundreds of schools to scrap the traditional festive productions, according to a poll by Teacher App. 

But around half of primaries will instead hold ‘virtual’ nativities which will see them record scenes outdoors or in small groups, before sharing the final piece with parents online. 

Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby and Alison Hammond with children from Northwood Park Primary School in Wolverhampton for the This Morning Nativity last year 

According to the poll by Teacher Tapp, 50 per cent of schools in the east of England and 53 per cent in the Midlands will not be holding a nativity this year

According to the poll by Teacher Tapp, 50 per cent of schools in the east of England and 53 per cent in the Midlands will not be holding a nativity this year. 

Some five per cent of schools in the east of England are hopeful they will still be able to stage a production, with an audience. 

In London, 52 per cent of schools intend to screen a virtual play – while 16 per cent of the Capital’s schools say they do not regularly hold a nativity.  

The study, which was answered by 1,483 teachers, found that 56 per cent of schools in the south east will record a nativity and stream it online.   

Some children have to wear masks to school amid the covid pandemic (file photo) 

Some head teachers are planning to film pupils acting out scenes in small class groups before staff can edit the footage together and email it to parents.  

Many schools have also replaced singing with musical instruments, and others are planning to host outdoor nativities.  

This comes after schools had to reschedule nativities, parties and concerts last year because of the snap general election, which saw school buildings turned into polling stations. 

There were widespread complaints about the December 12 election date clashing with nativity plays up and down the country, with disgruntled parents voicing their concerns online. 

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