Devon

Plymouth primary school bans handstands and cartwheels

Child performing handstand Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The school has stopped children doing all "gymnastic activities" for their own safety

Handstands and cartwheels have been banned during break times at a primary school after pupils kept injuring themselves.

Children at Old Priory Junior Academy in Plympton, Devon, were stopped from carrying out all "gymnastic activities" two weeks ago.

The school said it made the decision after a number of minor injuries to wrists and to backs.

It said it had been contacted by one parent about the issue.

Image caption Old Priory Junior Academy said it made the decision after a number of minor injuries

Alison Russell, whose child goes to the school, said it was "ridiculous" and "silly".

Another parent, Lewis Harvey, said: "It's health and safety gone mad. Kids should be able to do what they want in the playground as long as they don't hurt anyone else."

'Every forward roll'

Interim head teacher Emma Hermon-Wright said: "Over a series of a few days we had quite a few [injuries] for the same reasons. The children said they had been doing cartwheels and handstands and had fallen and we thought it was causing us a problem at school.

"In PE lessons in primary schools they are carefully supported and carefully controlled to help learn skills of this nature and we have very good gymnastic capabilities in our school.

"[At break times] we've got a lot of children in one go and you can't be supporting every child for a backward roll, forward roll, cartwheel, handstand or whatever they're doing at play time."

The school said it had responded to one parent who was concerned about the decision.

It said: "Ultimately, the safety and wellbeing is our responsibility and it is paramount to everything we do here."

It was not trying to stop children from having fun, the school said, and the ban was temporary while staff worked out a way of allowing them to take part in gymnastic activities under staff supervision.

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