A primary school has come under fire after setting pupils as young as nine homework to research if Father Christmas is REAL.
St Cuthbert’s Church of England Primary has been accused of taking “away the magic of Christmas” by casting doubt on the existence of Santa Claus.
Pupils were set the homework last week which was then followed by a classroom debate on the question on Monday – despite several protests from outraged parents.
One mother, who did not wish to be named, said: “This has caused a lot of upset.
“Choosing this topic to debate, especially this time of year, takes away from the magic of Christmas. I don’t think it’s appropriate.”
But the man behind the project, which is being put on at five schools in Blackburn with Darwen, Lancs., defended the sessions.
West End actor Paul Simpson, 46, originally from Oswaldtwistle, goes into local schools to teach festive lessons.
He revealed pupils from the Year 5/6 after-school debating club, who were given the question ‘Is Santa Claus real?’, unanimously came to the conclusion that he did exist.
Mr Simpson said: “It is not about taking away the magic of Christmas but using it to engage the children in a project where they can learn and use new skills in terms of research, public speaking and debate.
“I am sad some parents objected. Had they spoken to me so I could have explained the project to them.
“As with every other school, the children really enjoyed it, coming down decisively in favour of Santa’s existence.”
The controversial debate at the primary school, which has 202 pupils, has the full backing of education boss Cllr Maureen Bateson.
She said: “I believe in Santa and the spirit of Santa. He visits my house every year.”
St Cuthbert’s headteacher Michelle Smith added: “The aim was to help develop their research, reasoning and promoting empathy for other people’s viewpoint.
“The topic was chosen to help get into the Christmas spirit and help bring back the magic of Christmas for any children who have doubts.”