Children Banned From Doing Handstands, Cartwheels, And Other ‘Gymnastics’ At British Elementary School

Children have been doing handstands and cartwheels on school playgrounds for as long as there have been schools and playgrounds, but one elementary school in England is having none of that. The school has banned the practice, along with all forms of “gymnastics,” on the playgrounds, The Telegraph is reporting.

Emma Hermon-Wright, the head teacher at Old Priory Junior Academy in Plympton, says that allowing children to do handstands at her school has led to injuries, so they’re now banned.

“Following a number of minor incidents we took action to ban these gymnastic activities during play and lunch. Through PE lessons in primary schools, pupils are carefully taught to develop movements of their bodies in safe, controlled and supported ways. At playtime our children were not performing these in such a way and pupils were attempting gymnastic movements beyond their capability. This was resulting in injuries.”

Ms. Hermon-Wright did not give any specifics of the types of injuries children at her school have sustained from doing cartwheels and handstands.

One mother, who declined to be identified, told The Plymouth Herald that minor injuries are a part of childhood. She finds the handstand ban ridiculous.

Our children are distraught. Are we to wrap them up in cotton wool every morning before sending them in to school? What happened to kids being kids? Climbing, running, jumping and indeed cartwheels are all part of childhood. When I was at school, coming home with a grazed knee and bruised shins meant that you’d had a good day. Not to mention the fact that you are moving your body, gaining confidence, building self-esteem, developing resilience, working on balance, strengthening and stretching muscles, developing co-ordination, taking risks and delighting in shared play experiences.”

The handstand ban, however distasteful it is to parents, is unfortunately a sign of the hyper-protective society we live in when it comes to children’s safety. Schools, in particular, are cutting out our favorite childhood activities in the name of kids’ safety (or at least, in the name of avoiding a lawsuit). Late last year, according to this Inquisitr report, a town in Washington banned swings from all schools and parks in its city limits.

Despite parents’ objections, Hermon-Wright is standing by her handstand ban.

“Ultimately safety and wellbeing of the pupils whilst at Old Priory is our responsibility and I feel very strongly that this is the correct decision to make at this time.”

Do you think it makes sense to ban children from doing handstands and cartwheels on school playgrounds? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/Kyle Lee]