17/01/2018 11:45 GMT

World Of Work Day: School Bans Pupils Dressing As Sports Stars And YouTubers And Twitter Is Divided

'Let kids be what they want to be.'

A school has sparked debate for telling parents not to let children dress as “professional sports people, pop stars or famous YouTubers” for ‘My World of Work Day.’

The day, taking place this year on Thursday 18 January, is designed to educate children about the world of employment and help them think about their futures. 

Durrington C of E VC Junior School, in Wiltshire, sent parents a letter requesting children who wanted to dress up as celebrities should “think of their ‘Plan B’ choices” as the high profile jobs mentioned are “so hard to achieve”.

Two-time Olympic medal winner Jack Green tweeted a photo of the letter, along with the caption: “Have a read of the ‘Special Note’ and then ignore it and let your children aspire to be whatever they want to be. Thanks mum and some of my teachers for supporting my aspirations when I was young.”

The letter addressed to parents ahead of the day read: “We know that some children would love to be professional sports people or pop stars or famous YouTubers in the future.

“These are great ambitions but so hard to achieve! Because of this, on this occasion we’re not allowing these dress-up choices - instead, we’d like children to think of their ‘Plan B’ choices for future jobs.”

Green’s response received more than 4,000 likes, but not everyone agreed with his sentiments.

Trainee lawyer and England Rugby 7s player Sam Egerton commented on the thread: “I’m afraid I totally disagree with you here. Encouraging a ‘plan B’ is very responsible thing to do for children. Not everyone makes it like you, and even then, you yourself will need a plan B when the body fades.”

Egerton’s tweet also received more than 1,000 likes, but the majority of comments on the thread called on the school to “let kids be what they want to be”.

In a statement given to HuffPost UK, Jenny Whymark, headteacher at the school, said: “Durrington Junior School is running the ‘My World of Work Day’ as a highlight of this term’s project to help our children become more aware of the many exciting options for their lives ahead and to aspire highly
for their futures.

“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.

“It also encourages them to consider other options for their future alongside their ideal job.”

She added the reason the school has asked children to think about “alternative options” is to have a wide range of occupations “on show”.

“This wouldn’t work so well if a large number of children dressed as professional footballers or pop stars, as would be likely,” she said.

“I appreciate that the wording on the school flyer didn’t communicate this as well as it might have to parents.

“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.”