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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 08:15 GMT 09:15 UK
Church school bans Lennon classic
St Leonards School
The school said it was "not appropriate" to sing the song
A church school in Devon has withdrawn John Lennon's Imagine from an end-of-term show after teachers ruled that its lyrics were anti-religious.

Pupils at St Leonards Primary in Exeter, Devon, had spent weeks rehearsing the song.

But it was taken out of the running order after the head teacher and governors decided it was anti-Christian and unsuitable for the school.

The lyrics include: "Imagine there's no heaven... and no religion too."

As a church school we decided it was not appropriate to sing it
Head teacher Geoff Williams
Head teacher Geoff Williams said a teacher approached him because she did not think the song was appropriate.

He said: "The teacher came to talk to me about it because she was concerned and I supported her.

"As a church school we decided it was not appropriate to sing it."

The school has close links with the nearby St Leonards Church whose rector, the Rev David Harris, is also a school governor.

He said: "The song expresses longing for a different world and for eternal happiness but it says you can have this without religion."

The annual song festival at the school was held last week on the theme of Songs for a Green Earth and Imagine was replaced by The Building Song.

Steve Bailey, who manages the Beatles Shop in Liverpool, said: "I am not surprised this song is still controversial.

"I do not know if the song is suitable for children from a church school.

"It does have an optimistic message which is crucial in its own way."

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