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FURY FROM FIVE FINGERED FOR FAILING TO FREE CHILDREN TO WATCH FUNERAL

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Five London councils have hit back at reports which said they were not allowing school children to watch the funera...
Five London councils have hit back at reports which said they were not allowing school children to watch the funeral of the Queen Mother on television.

Brent, Ealing, Greenwich and Kingston upon Thames LBCs were all named in the press as councils which thought it 'inappropriate' for children from ethnic minorities to be forced to watch the funeral. Barnet LBC was quoted as saying children would be 'too young to understand'.

The reports said they had refused to pass on government guidelines recommending heads suspend lessons so children could watch the event. All the councils categorically deny the claims.

Brent LBC issued guidelines to head teachers, based on the government guidelines, which said: 'Following the death of the Queen Mother, schools may wish to mark the funeral in an appropriate manner. Schools will be expected to remain open but may, for example, adjust the timetable to allow children to view the funeral on television.'

Head of communications So Lin Jeffery said: 'The majority of our schools either held special assemblies or watched the funeral on television - 75% of schools actually did something to mark the occasion.'

Leader Ann John (Lab) attacked the underlying message in the stories that it was not appropriate for children from mixed ethnic and religious backgrounds to watch the funeral.

'I believe it is offensive to suggest that British subjects from ethnic minority backgrounds are somehow less patriotic,'

she said.

Press and public relations officer at Kingston Jack Taylor said he found it 'incredible' that anyone would imagine

that 'as one of only four royal boroughs in England and Wales, Kingston council

would have responded in the manner reported'.

Barnet, Ealing and Greenwich also denied they advised their schools it was inappropriate for children to watch the funeral.

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