College in Scarborough axes Christmas: COMMENT ON THIS STORY

BOSSES at Yorkshire Coast College have removed the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar so as not to cause offence to ethnic minorities or religious groups.

The Evening News was tipped off about the move by an outraged member of staff who described the college as "a joke" and Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill has slammed the initiative as "political correctness gone mad".

A college spokesman said the decision had been made in accordance with Ofsted guidelines and was aimed at increasing inclusion and diversity.

She said: "Every school and college, wherever located, is responsible for educating its learners who will live and work in a country which is diverse in terms of cultures, religions or beliefs, ethnicities and social backgrounds.

"All employees at Yorkshire Coast College are encouraged to closely follow guidelines set out by Ofsted for the promotion of equality and diversity.

"We constantly review the ways in which we communicate, to ensure that we do not discriminate, and part of those reviews means that we have stopped referring to the Christmas Break and Easter Break and we now have End of Term Break."

Last year the college hit the headlines when it was branded "inadequate" in a damning report by Ofsted, the education watchdog. The report criticised the college for failing its students in many areas and Principal Ruth Durbridge resigned her post.

The college spokesman said there was no reason why anyone should feel aggrieved by the decision. She said: "We are a modern organisation and we understand that we operate in a changing society where everyone should feel welcome, regardless of religion or belief, race, colour, age, disability, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation."

However, Mr Goodwill said the decision was "absolutely barmy". He said: "I have heard that some people refer to the Christmas period as the Winterval – which is worse. This is absolutely barmy.

"We are a Christian country and, to be honest, religious tolerance in this country is about respecting other people's religious beliefs. We live in a country where there is a mutual respect for religious beliefs."

Mr Goodwill added that the school terms were traditionally separated by Christmas and Easter and the breaks should be referred to as such.

He said: "They are petrified that they offend the minority but what they are doing is offending the majority. It's political correctness gone mad and I am disappointed that it's from an edict from Ofsted."

The Evening News wishes to point out that comments have not been deleted en masse by the newspaper, we are looking into who pulled down the comments.

The only reported comments the newspaper has upheld are ones of a rascist/offensive nature.