School bans ‘expensive’ World Book Day costumes - but teachers will still dress up

Children dressing up at St Nicholas Priory School's World Book Day in 2017. PHOTO: St Nicholas Prior

Children dressing up at St Nicholas Priory School's World Book Day in 2017. PHOTO: St Nicholas Priory CE VA Primary School - Credit: St Nicholas Priory CE VA Primary

Parents at one Norfolk school are being told not to dress up their children for World Book Day because of concerns about cost.

Emmi from St Nicholas Priory School dressed up as Sakura from the manga book 'Naruto' on World Book

Emmi from St Nicholas Priory School dressed up as Sakura from the manga book 'Naruto' on World Book Day 2018. She was upset that her teachers get to dress up tomorrow but she and her friends won't be able to. PHOTO: Toni Blackburn - Credit: Archant

Staff at St Nicholas Priory School in Great Yarmouth sent out a Facebook message to parents on March 2 which asked pupils to come into school in normal uniform, and said that "members of staff will instead come up with an exciting costume to inspire the children".

In a statement, headteacher Maria Grimmer said: "At Priory, we strive to make our school inclusive for all, so this World Book Day we are not requiring parents to spend extra money on costumes for their children, but instead are focusing on the many opportunities to enjoy the books available in school.

"The school Communities Committee, supported by the governors, has been working on a scheme known as Poverty Proofing Schools, which looks to identify and overcome the barriers to learning that children and young people from families with less financial resources face.

"For some families, making World Book Day a special non-school uniform day becomes an additional financial burden as they feel the need to buy costumes."

In 2019, the son of Nikita Powell, who is a parent at St Nicholas Priory, dressed up as Dennis the M

In 2019, the son of Nikita Powell, who is a parent at St Nicholas Priory, dressed up as Dennis the Mennace for World Book Day. PHOTO: Nikita Powell - Credit: Archant


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Parents, however, have been quick to react to the school's decision.

Kasey, whose eight-year-old daughter Amy attends the school, said he was annoyed that teachers had "given such late notice" for the change in plan.

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He said: "Amy was supposed to be a princess from Frozen. She's really disappointed as she's had her dress for weeks."

Another parent, Toni Blackburn, said: "I agree it's a great idea to get the teachers involved, but it's kind of shoving it in the kids faces that they aren't allowed.

In 2018, the son of Nikita Powell, who is a parent at St Nicholas Priory, dressed up as Horrid Henry

In 2018, the son of Nikita Powell, who is a parent at St Nicholas Priory, dressed up as Horrid Henry for World Book Day. PHOTO: Nikita Powell - Credit: Archant

"I'm really disappointed by the news because some parents have been saving up for costumes. It would have been much better to be told this information two weeks ago, or even earlier."

Another parent said: "If the issue is some parents not being able to afford or provide costumes, why doesn't the school ask for donations or ask craft club if they can help?"

However, many parents commended the school's decision.

One said that it was "nice to see the school doing something different" by encouraging the teachers to dress up, and another pointed out that dressing up was "a waste of money", and that the day should be about "the joy of books and getting into reading".

Children dressing up at St Nicholas Priory School's World Book Day in 2017. PHOTO: St Nicholas Prior

Children dressing up at St Nicholas Priory School's World Book Day in 2017. PHOTO: St Nicholas Priory CE VA Primary School - Credit: St Nicholas Priory CE VA Primary

The school has also been awarded a £7,000 grant from the Foyle Foundation to spend on new library books.

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