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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 13:05 GMT
Angel wings 'unsafe' for nativity
Angels with wings at a traditional school nativity
A Devon primary school head has defended a decision to ban pupils from wearing angel wings during their nativity play.

Sacred Heart Roman Catholic primary head Linda Mitchell said there was a risk the wings could catch fire from candles in church.

She said the school had taken the decision after some children were scratched by the wings last year.

One critic called the ban "political correctness gone mad".

We hold our services in church, where there are candles, and if children turn round there is a risk they could catch fire
Head teacher Linda Mitchell
Ms Mitchell said there had been only one complaint from parents.

"The health and safety of the children is paramount," she said.

"Last year some of the children got scratched by the wings, which are made by the parents and are of different sizes.

"We hold our services in church, where there are candles, and if children turn round there is a risk they could catch fire.

"For the safety of the children, staff decided that this year the angels would not have wings, but they still look beautiful."

'Spoil fun'

She added: "Whether the angels have wings or not, they are still special.

"If you look at the scriptures, angels did not have wings."

Richard Stodolph, of a children's wings suppliers, said: "It's just another example of political correctness gone mad in this country.

"It doesn't matter what you're wearing, if you're too close to the candles you're going to catch fire.

"The school should be asking, what is more dangerous, the candles or the wings?

"It's ridiculous and it's going to spoil the fun of a lot of children if this kind of attitude spreads."

The school's 200 youngsters will be holding their nativity services at Sacred Heart church in Paignton on 4 and 5 December.

All money collected during the services will be donated to Torbay's Homeless Trust.

The headteacher says the props are too risky

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