Furious parents have slammed a primary school for making pupils debate whether Santa Claus is real.
Staff at St Cuthbert’s Church of England Primary in Darwen, Lancashire, have been accused of "taking away the magic of Christmas" as children as young as nine were also reportedly given homework on the subject.
Despite several protests from parents, pupils in Year five were given the Santa- themed homework last week before being made to debate whether he is real on Mondau.
The project, headed by actor and director Paul Simpson, takes place at five schools across the borough.
One mother told the Lancashire Telegraph: "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 Mr Simpson, 46, who goes into school to teach the festive lessons, defended the subject matter.
He said it wasn’t about talking away the magic of Christmas but getting children to engage in a project where they can "learn and use new skills in research, public speaking and debate".
He added that pupils at the school had decided that Santa did actually exist.
St Cuthbert’s head Michelle Smith said she was "unavailable" for comment.
But she told the Lancashire Telegraph: "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."
The project takes place at four other schools in the area – Wensley Fold, St Thomas’s in Newton Street, St Michael and St John’s, and St Silas’s.
It’s received the backing Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive member for children, young people and education Cllr Maureen Bateson.
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