Headlines like ‘Nativity Blackout’ and ‘Why do schools really stop parents taking photos of their children’ make me anxious at this time of the year. Words like ‘data protection’ and ‘child protection’ seem heavy-handed when faced with a few kids dressed as camels and a six-year-old Joseph holding a plastic baby by its arms.
It is a communications dilemma for a headteacher.
This morning was my daughter’s primary school nativity play. Like most other parents I was taking along my mobile phone to take a few photos and video clips of her speaking her lines.
I thought I’d share the sensible approach taken by my daughter’s headteacher. This is how she communicated the message to a school hall full of 250 parents.
“We’ve got a full house today so a couple of housekeeping things first…Please turn off your mobile phones. They weren’t around 2,000 years ago…If the fire alarms go off please follow the green fire escape signs…The play is being filmed at the back and copies will be on sale for £3.50. If you are sat near the back please keep any noise to a minimum as we don’t want things on the DVD that you don’t want to be on there.”
And that was that. She felt there was no need to ‘give permission’ to mums and dads to take photos of their children or remind them of their ‘data protection’ responsibilities when they email a photo to the grandparents in South Africa.
She didn’t mention it because it’s not an issue. We left the play feeling proud and with a camera full of photos to embarrass our daughter on her 18th birthday.
Sometime the simplest way to say something is to stay silent.