Harewood Junior School bans leather footballs from playground

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A junior school in Gloucester has banned leather footballs from being used in the playground because of health and safety concerns.

Harewood Junior School in Tuffley, attended by seven to 11 year-olds, banned the leather balls following a "number of accidents" last year.

In the weekly newsletter, head teacher Andrea Mills said only sponge or soft balls would be used in the playground.

The school declined to comment further on the decision.

'Unbelievable'

In the newsletter, Mrs Mills said the decision was made following a number of incidents last year and pupils and staff had agreed on the decision.

Mrs Mills said: "We will still be using the correct size leather balls for football club and specific PE lessons."

The move has been criticised by a charity.

Tam Fry, chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, said: "This kind of decision suits only the die hards of health and safety.

"George Best and all the football stars wouldn't have got where they are if they were kicking sponge around, they kicked footballs in the backyard and if they fell over and scarred themselves it was part of the learning curve.

"No one wants a child to be damaged by having a football kicked at them, but it's just unbelievable that we should be preventing our children learning things."

Gloucestershire County Council said: "It is up to individual schools to make decisions like this. Gloucestershire County Council has not advised them to do this."

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