Pupils devastated as Edinburgh City Council cancels theatre trip over “nonsense” Covid policies
An angry mother has blasted the council for cancelling her daughter’s trip to the theatre with less than a week's notice, after it said the trip would break Scottish Government Covid guidance.
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More than 60 teenagers from Broughton High have been left disappointed after their trip to see Beauty and the Beast at the Edinburgh Playhouse this Wednesday was cancelled.
In an email sent to parents on Friday, education heads said that the trip has been called off “because it would not conform to the government’s Covid guidance for schools”.
Some parents have queried the necessity of the cancellation with one parent arguing “if it’s safe for my child to go to the theatre with me why can’t she go with the school?”
Fiona Mcdonald, whose 14-year-old daughter was set to attend the performance, said every precaution to make sure the trip was safe had been taken.
Speaking to the Evening News, the furious mum said there is “no real reason” why the event can’t go ahead and described the council’s decision to cancel the trip as “utter nonsense”.
Cancelling the trip was necessary, says council spokesperson
Council heads have confirmed that currently, they do not approve theatre trips with public audiences and said this was in line with current national guidance.
However, when asked about other local authorities who were allowing theatre trips to continue, the council did not comment.
A council spokesperson said: “We risk assess all educational activities, including excursions, in line with national guidance. We do not currently approve theatre trips where there is also a public audience, and/or the number of pupils is classed as a gathering.
"We realise this will be disappointing for our young people as we know how much they enjoy and benefit from going on trips like these. "However we are still seeing a high number of Covid cases in our schools and we have to do everything we can as a local authority to minimise the transmission of the virus.
"After all the disruption our young people have experienced due to the pandemic, learning in school with their peers is a priority and ensures we continue to keep pupils and staff safe and more importantly our schools open.”
Decision called nonsense by parent
Further frustration arose after parents found out other schools in Scotland had been able to attend similar events in city theatres.
“My niece attends Peebles High School and came in (to Edinburgh) with her school to see Sleepy Hollow at the King’s Theatre on Wednesday, November 10,” said Ms Mcdonald, from Craigleith.
“It is surely nonsense to say it is not Covid safe for my daughter to attend the Playhouse with the school when my niece can attend.”
The frustrated mother went on to say that if “hoards” of rugby supporters can come into the city’s stadiums and pubs then surely schoolchildren should be allowed to attend shows.
Ms Mcdonald added that the pupils set to lose the most from the cancellations are those whose families are unable to afford the trip themselves.
She said: “The trip with the school was to cost £8. The cheapest seats available to the public are £20 and as a child needs to be accompanied it would cost a minimum of £40 for one parent to take a child.
“The whole thing is unfair, especially for kids with the least.”