A note sent to parents by a British school about its "My World of Work Day" has stirred debate by preventing children from dressing up as famous athletes or YouTube stars in order to focus on their "Plan B" choice for future jobs.
British Olympic sprinter Jack Green posted the note from Durrington C of E VC Junior School in Wiltshire on Twitter with a criticism.
"Have a read of the ‘Special Note’ and then ignore it and let your children aspire to be whatever they want to be,'' he wrote. "Thanks mum and some of my teachers for supporting my aspirations when I was young!"
The school's "My World of Work Day" on Thursday is designed to educate children about future careers and encourages them to come "dressed as themselves in a job they would like to do in the future."
A special note in the letter indicates that while the school is aware many children want to be pop stars, professional athletes or YouTube stars, "these are great ambitions but so hard to achieve!"
The note goes on to say that the school is not allowing those dress-up choices because "instead, we'd like children to think of their 'Plan B' choices for future jobs."
The reaction was split between those like Green who believe children should be encouraged to chase their dreams and those who feel the school is doing a good job of setting realistic expectations.
"My post does not condemn the idea of a plan B,'' Green responded on Twitter. "It’s definitely a necessity and we must encourage a good education. But the issue here is not letting some children dream and aim high because it’s ‘so hard to achieve.'
"Should we not encourage the plan A and then educate and increase awareness of the journey it requires. Once you encourage that person you then create plan B, C, D and so on?"
The school issued a statement clarifying its message.
"Our school sets no limit on the children’s aspirations and we follow the philosophy of the 'Be The Best You Can be Programme,' launched in our school by ex-Olympic athlete David Hemery, which helps children work out the path they could take to get to their dream future,'' headteacher Jenny Whymark wrote.
"It also encourages them to consider other options for their future alongside their ideal job. I appreciate that the wording on the school flyer didn’t communicate this as well as it might have to parents."
The school maintains that having the students dress up to represent other professions besides pop stars, YouTubers and athletes would show kids the wide range of possibilities.
"I’m sure, however, that when the children talk at home about their learning over the term, it will be clear that they understand the 'sky is the limit' for their future lives and that our school will do all we can to help them get there,'' she said in the statement.
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