Head backs 'old school' play

A return to the days of snowball fights and tree climbing in the school playground will be demanded today by a leading independent school headmaster.

Graham Gorton, the new chairman of the Independent Schools Association, will tell his annual conference that schools should encourage children to take, "measured risks" to prevent them from being "robbed... of the very essence of their childhood".

"What happened to the 'common sense' approach to education and the bringing up of children?" he will tell the conference in Bournemouth. "At my last school the pupils were allowed, and even actively encouraged, to climb trees within the grounds of the school."

Mr Gorton, head of Howe Green House School in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, will say how he was "saddened" to hear of schools not allowing pupils out at break times during snowfalls for fear of litigation. "At my school I send a letter out to the parents at the beginning of the winter season saying if there should be snow we will be playing in it," he will add.

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