Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 28 Jan 2010

We object to our daughter’s school showing Disney films during 'wet play'. What can we do?

Hillary's Advice

Your difficulty is that the school has already responded to your objection by offering to have two wet playtime rooms, one for films and one for play activities. But, as you rightly point out, this is a nonsense, because what child will ever turn down the chance to sit, slack-jawed, in front of a cartoon?

However, unless you are willing to spend hours struggling to get the majority of the school’s parents behind you, you will probably now just have to put up with it and console yourself with the thought that wet playtimes don’t come round that often.

But I can see how galling it must be to have your school behaving like this, when at home you are battling to limit your children’s screen time.

If I was running a school, I wouldn’t show films at playtime. I would, I hope, behave more like the West Sussex infant school that recently spent £260 on all-in-one waterproofs so pupils could go outside and stamp in the puddles no matter how bad the weather.

A school might argue that there is no harm in letting children watch the occasional film, but a really good school would hold in mind that modern children are already spending far too much time sitting passively in front of screens, and think more creatively about how to use rainy lunch breaks. Maybe you could write about these issues in the school newsletter, or on its parent forum, to persuade others of your case?