School defends decision not to hold minute's silence for war dead on Remembrance Day

A Bispham school has defended its decision not to hold a traditional minute’s silence in memory of fallen war heroes on Armistice Day.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 5:00 pm
The Blackpool Remembrance Service 2019
The Blackpool Remembrance Service 2019

Montgomery Academy, on All Hallows Road, held its annual Remembrance Day service, with special guest appearances from ex-servicemen, on Friday, November 8.

Head teacher Stephen Careless said this was the reason the school did not observe the silence on November 11.

But not all parents agreed with the decision.

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Former army air corps serviceman Steve Wootton, 40, whose 11-year-old daughter attends the school, said: “I think that it’s great that they did something on the Friday, but to not hold a silence on Armistice Day is quite awful really. I was disgusted when I found out.

“One person said that the teacher had said to the pupils that it was over 100 years ago and people should forget about it and move on.

“I’m a veteran myself and I find it disgraceful that they didn’t do a two minute’s silence. It’s not like it’s a surprise to anybody - it’s the same day every year.

“It really is something that’s close to my heart. There are reasons why we remember. It’s to educate our children so that hopefully it never happens again.”

Head teacher Stephen Careless said: “The reason we didn’t do that on the Monday is we had a whole Remembrance Day morning on the Friday. We had army cadets and ex-servicemen come in with their medals. We had an assembly and a minute’s silence with the whole school standing up, the Last Post playing and the flag raised outside school.

"There were speeches and we read out poems across the tannoy.

“In terms of commemorating Remembrance Day, I think we probably do it better than most other schools, and we do it every year.

“Because we did it on the Friday, we didn’t do it on the Monday.

“We have three ex-servicemen on our staff and they had no issues with it being on the Friday rather than the Monday.”

There had been suggestions that the reason the traditional silence was not observed was because of mock exams that pupils were due to take this week, but Mr Careless said that Monday's final mock ended at 10.45am, 15 minutes before the time the First World War officially came to an end in 1918.

He added that a full investigation would be carried out should the parent who claimed their child was told to 'forget about' the First World War raise a complaint with the school.