School bars mum from daughter's first Christmas play

Salisbury Journal: Natalie Sommerton with Grace and Joshua Natalie Sommerton with Grace and Joshua

A MOTHER who had been away from home and her children for three weeks while recovering from surgery wasn’t allowed to see her little girl’s first Christmas play because the school said she couldn’t take her toddler into the hall.

Natalie Sommerton missed the dress rehearsal of Durrington All Saints Infant School’s production of The Night Before Christmas at which younger siblings were welcome because she was in hospital following spinal surgery.

But she managed to get to the school last Thursday with her mother and son hoping to see the final performance of the show starring foury-ear-old Grace.

But she was told that three-year-old Joshua could not go in and if she wanted to watch Grace then she would have to leave him outside with his grandmother.

“There was no way I could have gone along to the dress rehearsal with Joshua on Monday because I was in the hospital,” said Miss Sommerton.

“It has been a difficult time for my children who have been looked after by my mother while I have been in hospital, and Grace was very excited about me seeing her Christmas show.

“She sings the songs the whole time and has been practising for weeks.

“We’d got her a costume specially and my mother, Joshua and I were really looking forward to it.”

Miss Sommerton said she explained the situation to school staff when she arrived for the performance but was told by headteacher Jo Andrews that she would not be able to stay with Joshua.

“I would have thought they could have been more understanding, especially bearing in mind the situation and the time of year,” added Miss Sommerton.

“I would have taken him out if he had caused any problems but he’s such a good, quiet boy I’m sure he would have b e e n fine. “It’s not showing much Christmas spirit.

“Grace said she didn’t want to do the play if Joshua couldn’t watch her so I took her home instead.

“Both my children were so upset and I am furious about it. Watching your child’s first Nativity play is supposed to be one of those happy memorable things for a parent but the school ruined it because of their ridiculous rules.”

A statement issued by the school said: “We’re sorry one of our parents wasn’t able to stay for the Monday performance with her younger child. We always welcome feedback from parents and we’d like to work with this mum so we can avoid this happening in the future.

“We have limited space in our hall so we arrange specific performances in order to cater for all parents’ needs and like many schools we limit the times we have babies and toddlers in the audience as it can cause disruption to little ones performing.

“We sent a few reminders to parents of the timing of Nativity performances and told them there would be one for toddlers and pre-school children to attend, which was this Monday."

Comments (19)

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7:32pm Fri 27 Dec 13

Yer Tis says...

OK lets face it the school screwed up on this, and rather than say, We Sorry they come out with the usual rubbish they want out kids to learn.

Maybe in the future when the head (of both governors and teaching) are in their care home, wanting their family to visit the care staff who they so carefully taught will turn round to them and say

"We’re sorry your family wasn’t able to visit with other family members, especially your grand-children. But we always welcome feedback from you and your family and we’d like to work with old cow so we can avoid this happening in the future" Opps we didn't mean old cow, honest NOT
OK lets face it the school screwed up on this, and rather than say, We Sorry they come out with the usual rubbish they want out kids to learn. Maybe in the future when the head (of both governors and teaching) are in their care home, wanting their family to visit the care staff who they so carefully taught will turn round to them and say "We’re sorry your family wasn’t able to visit with other family members, especially your grand-children. But we always welcome feedback from you and your family and we’d like to work with old cow so we can avoid this happening in the future" Opps we didn't mean old cow, honest NOT Yer Tis

8:12pm Fri 27 Dec 13

Plebeian says...

Not so much 'no room at the inn', more 'no in at the room'. Sad story, but could Joshua not have gone to the dress rehearsal with his grandmother on Monday, whilst his mum was in hospital? Just asking.
Not so much 'no room at the inn', more 'no in at the room'. Sad story, but could Joshua not have gone to the dress rehearsal with his grandmother on Monday, whilst his mum was in hospital? Just asking. Plebeian

12:43am Sat 28 Dec 13

JDP123 says...

Im sorry but is this really news??? Why should the rules be bent for one, she was not "not allowed" to watch her daughter she had a choice...to just go on her own whilst her mum looked after the little one as she had been doing whilst she was in hospital so obviously no issues with that or as another person said could the grandmother not have taken the little boy to the dress rehearsal on Monday as it had obviously been made clear that it was then that was the opportunity for younger siblings to watch. Im also sure the little girl only refused to partake as her mum was creating a fuss, maybe if she had just left her son with her mum,gone and sat down and smiled encouragingly at her daughter and watched the show then her daughter would not have missed out on HER first nativity. Really all this fuss is ridiculous, and just maybe the school are teaching children to stick by the rules, something I would be pleased about for my children, not stick by the rules but bend them when you feel like it!
Im sorry but is this really news??? Why should the rules be bent for one, she was not "not allowed" to watch her daughter she had a choice...to just go on her own whilst her mum looked after the little one as she had been doing whilst she was in hospital so obviously no issues with that or as another person said could the grandmother not have taken the little boy to the dress rehearsal on Monday as it had obviously been made clear that it was then that was the opportunity for younger siblings to watch. Im also sure the little girl only refused to partake as her mum was creating a fuss, maybe if she had just left her son with her mum,gone and sat down and smiled encouragingly at her daughter and watched the show then her daughter would not have missed out on HER first nativity. Really all this fuss is ridiculous, and just maybe the school are teaching children to stick by the rules, something I would be pleased about for my children, not stick by the rules but bend them when you feel like it! JDP123

9:28am Sat 28 Dec 13

sen86 says...

I'm with the school on this one. It is perfectly reasonable to have performances with no screaming siblings ruining it for all the parents there.
I'm with the school on this one. It is perfectly reasonable to have performances with no screaming siblings ruining it for all the parents there. sen86

3:13pm Sat 28 Dec 13

LadyLula says...

I am in agreement with the majority here. If the school was to bend the rules for every parent willy nilly whenever they felt like it, our schools would be in chaos - and no doubt it would be those same parents who would be the ones complaining the loudest that their little prince or princess wasn't getting a good education "wot my taxes pay for".

Rules are there for a reason. Why should one person dictate to the school that the rules should be changed just for them and in the process ruin a lovely performance for everyone else who has made the effort, perhaps with some difficulty, to find childcare for their other children? Perhaps this would have been a good opportunity for Ms Sommerton to teach her children to respect rules and authority rather than setting the very bad example that if you shout and scream you get your own way (in the long run, this won't get them far in life).

I have every sympathy for Ms Sommerton having been in hospital but the world does not revolve around her, I'm afraid! Who knows what problems the other parents at the school have in their lives, they just get on with things and don't run to the local paper to tell tales!
I am in agreement with the majority here. If the school was to bend the rules for every parent willy nilly whenever they felt like it, our schools would be in chaos - and no doubt it would be those same parents who would be the ones complaining the loudest that their little prince or princess wasn't getting a good education "wot my taxes pay for". Rules are there for a reason. Why should one person dictate to the school that the rules should be changed just for them and in the process ruin a lovely performance for everyone else who has made the effort, perhaps with some difficulty, to find childcare for their other children? Perhaps this would have been a good opportunity for Ms Sommerton to teach her children to respect rules and authority rather than setting the very bad example that if you shout and scream you get your own way (in the long run, this won't get them far in life). I have every sympathy for Ms Sommerton having been in hospital but the world does not revolve around her, I'm afraid! Who knows what problems the other parents at the school have in their lives, they just get on with things and don't run to the local paper to tell tales! LadyLula

6:10pm Sat 28 Dec 13

Morello says...

The mother of two wee tots doesn't understand that if we want to live in a civil society then we all have to stick to some rules.

Where's the story ?

When they hiked up the price of the journal they told us we'd have much more for our money. They need to go out and find something more newsworthy.
The mother of two wee tots doesn't understand that if we want to live in a civil society then we all have to stick to some rules. Where's the story ? When they hiked up the price of the journal they told us we'd have much more for our money. They need to go out and find something more newsworthy. Morello

7:08pm Sat 28 Dec 13

Champers says...

sen86 wrote:
I'm with the school on this one. It is perfectly reasonable to have performances with no screaming siblings ruining it for all the parents there.
I'm with you too sen66. I work in a school and so many parents are so concerned only about their own little darlings. It's very hard and unrealistic for a toddler to sit through a performance and many reception age children understandably, struggle to project themselves and yet, some parents sit there oblivious of the effect their screaming babies have on everyone else's enjoyment. I've been there too but I always sat close to the exit and ready to make a hasty retreat once the squirms set in!
[quote][p][bold]sen86[/bold] wrote: I'm with the school on this one. It is perfectly reasonable to have performances with no screaming siblings ruining it for all the parents there.[/p][/quote]I'm with you too sen66. I work in a school and so many parents are so concerned only about their own little darlings. It's very hard and unrealistic for a toddler to sit through a performance and many reception age children understandably, struggle to project themselves and yet, some parents sit there oblivious of the effect their screaming babies have on everyone else's enjoyment. I've been there too but I always sat close to the exit and ready to make a hasty retreat once the squirms set in! Champers

10:12pm Sat 28 Dec 13

prettygreeneyes28 says...

You're all judging something you really don't know the proper background to. Maybe if you'd have been in the situation yourselves and knew the full story then you'd have been the same!

Bunch of morons the lot of you!
You're all judging something you really don't know the proper background to. Maybe if you'd have been in the situation yourselves and knew the full story then you'd have been the same! Bunch of morons the lot of you! prettygreeneyes28

11:47pm Sat 28 Dec 13

JDP123 says...

prettygreeneyes28 wrote:
You're all judging something you really don't know the proper background to. Maybe if you'd have been in the situation yourselves and knew the full story then you'd have been the same!

Bunch of morons the lot of you!
We are all judging something that has been printed in the paper because the person went to them and asked them to print it, we have opinions on it as we are entitled to have and i fail to see how that makes us a "bunch of morons"! If the lady in question didn't want peoples opinions on it then maybe she should have kept it to herself or is it that she just wanted opinions that were on her side!! Rudeness is not nice and really not a great way to put an educated point of view across, you end up making yourself look rather nasty and silly!
[quote][p][bold]prettygreeneyes28[/bold] wrote: You're all judging something you really don't know the proper background to. Maybe if you'd have been in the situation yourselves and knew the full story then you'd have been the same! Bunch of morons the lot of you![/p][/quote]We are all judging something that has been printed in the paper because the person went to them and asked them to print it, we have opinions on it as we are entitled to have and i fail to see how that makes us a "bunch of morons"! If the lady in question didn't want peoples opinions on it then maybe she should have kept it to herself or is it that she just wanted opinions that were on her side!! Rudeness is not nice and really not a great way to put an educated point of view across, you end up making yourself look rather nasty and silly! JDP123

8:52am Sun 29 Dec 13

prettygreeneyes28 says...

Yeah well unless you've been in someones shoe's you shouldn't judge them! And surely if the Journal didn't see a valid story then they wouldn't have put it in the bloody paper!!!!
The poor girl has obviously been through enough, and just wanted to put a point across that people should have some compassion, especially under the circumstances and at this time of the year!
I can guarantee if it had of been yourself or one of your family, you'd be exactly the same!
As I've already said, you don't know the full story behind the family's situation, just a few paragraphs on the page. So instead of jumping to your own pig headed little conclusions,think of the bigger picture!!!
Yeah well unless you've been in someones shoe's you shouldn't judge them! And surely if the Journal didn't see a valid story then they wouldn't have put it in the bloody paper!!!! The poor girl has obviously been through enough, and just wanted to put a point across that people should have some compassion, especially under the circumstances and at this time of the year! I can guarantee if it had of been yourself or one of your family, you'd be exactly the same! As I've already said, you don't know the full story behind the family's situation, just a few paragraphs on the page. So instead of jumping to your own pig headed little conclusions,think of the bigger picture!!! prettygreeneyes28

9:51am Sun 29 Dec 13

Plebeian says...

prettygreeneyes28 wrote:
Yeah well unless you've been in someones shoe's you shouldn't judge them! And surely if the Journal didn't see a valid story then they wouldn't have put it in the bloody paper!!!!
The poor girl has obviously been through enough, and just wanted to put a point across that people should have some compassion, especially under the circumstances and at this time of the year!
I can guarantee if it had of been yourself or one of your family, you'd be exactly the same!
As I've already said, you don't know the full story behind the family's situation, just a few paragraphs on the page. So instead of jumping to your own pig headed little conclusions,think of the bigger picture!!!
Perhaps a little naïve to think that newspapers will only accept a story they believe is valid. They are always on the look out for gullible people willing to air their grievances in public, no matter how misguided. Maybe the lady and her family have been exploited by our local press, judging by the response her story has produced.
[quote][p][bold]prettygreeneyes28[/bold] wrote: Yeah well unless you've been in someones shoe's you shouldn't judge them! And surely if the Journal didn't see a valid story then they wouldn't have put it in the bloody paper!!!! The poor girl has obviously been through enough, and just wanted to put a point across that people should have some compassion, especially under the circumstances and at this time of the year! I can guarantee if it had of been yourself or one of your family, you'd be exactly the same! As I've already said, you don't know the full story behind the family's situation, just a few paragraphs on the page. So instead of jumping to your own pig headed little conclusions,think of the bigger picture!!![/p][/quote]Perhaps a little naïve to think that newspapers will only accept a story they believe is valid. They are always on the look out for gullible people willing to air their grievances in public, no matter how misguided. Maybe the lady and her family have been exploited by our local press, judging by the response her story has produced. Plebeian

10:42am Sun 29 Dec 13

LadyLula says...

prettygreeneyes28 wrote:
Yeah well unless you've been in someones shoe's you shouldn't judge them! And surely if the Journal didn't see a valid story then they wouldn't have put it in the bloody paper!!!!
The poor girl has obviously been through enough, and just wanted to put a point across that people should have some compassion, especially under the circumstances and at this time of the year!
I can guarantee if it had of been yourself or one of your family, you'd be exactly the same!
As I've already said, you don't know the full story behind the family's situation, just a few paragraphs on the page. So instead of jumping to your own pig headed little conclusions,think of the bigger picture!!!
I can guarantee I wouldn't be running to the newspaper if it had been me in that situation - I can't imagine anything more vulgar or petty (perhaps she got it confused with Facebook). I'd probably have been quite embarrassed and not told a soul about my stupidity! I would have then gone home and given myself a talking to that the world doesn't revolve around me. Plus just because a newspaper prints a story, it doesn't mean it's earth shattering gospel truth news. Papers are businesses and out to make money.
[quote][p][bold]prettygreeneyes28[/bold] wrote: Yeah well unless you've been in someones shoe's you shouldn't judge them! And surely if the Journal didn't see a valid story then they wouldn't have put it in the bloody paper!!!! The poor girl has obviously been through enough, and just wanted to put a point across that people should have some compassion, especially under the circumstances and at this time of the year! I can guarantee if it had of been yourself or one of your family, you'd be exactly the same! As I've already said, you don't know the full story behind the family's situation, just a few paragraphs on the page. So instead of jumping to your own pig headed little conclusions,think of the bigger picture!!![/p][/quote]I can guarantee I wouldn't be running to the newspaper if it had been me in that situation - I can't imagine anything more vulgar or petty (perhaps she got it confused with Facebook). I'd probably have been quite embarrassed and not told a soul about my stupidity! I would have then gone home and given myself a talking to that the world doesn't revolve around me. Plus just because a newspaper prints a story, it doesn't mean it's earth shattering gospel truth news. Papers are businesses and out to make money. LadyLula

10:48am Sun 29 Dec 13

UKD003 says...

This story is a classic scenario of where entitlement has again gone out of control. This mother needs to accept it as it is and stop playing the victim. I don't like the cards life deals me but I accept them and go on with living my life on life's terms.

The mother and reporter of this story are both misguided. I have read other articles written by this reporter and in my opinion, she needs to rethink her job and/or get more training.
This story is a classic scenario of where entitlement has again gone out of control. This mother needs to accept it as it is and stop playing the victim. I don't like the cards life deals me but I accept them and go on with living my life on life's terms. The mother and reporter of this story are both misguided. I have read other articles written by this reporter and in my opinion, she needs to rethink her job and/or get more training. UKD003

11:00am Sun 29 Dec 13

JDP123 says...

prettygreeneyes28 wrote:
Yeah well unless you've been in someones shoe's you shouldn't judge them! And surely if the Journal didn't see a valid story then they wouldn't have put it in the bloody paper!!!!
The poor girl has obviously been through enough, and just wanted to put a point across that people should have some compassion, especially under the circumstances and at this time of the year!
I can guarantee if it had of been yourself or one of your family, you'd be exactly the same!
As I've already said, you don't know the full story behind the family's situation, just a few paragraphs on the page. So instead of jumping to your own pig headed little conclusions,think of the bigger picture!!!
I am entitled to an opinion, I don't need to have been "in their shoes" for that! As for the paper only printing it because they saw it as a valid story are you actually being serious with that comment? I am not even going to reply to that because that is such a ridiculous statement to make. A lot of people have problems in their lives, some probably far worse than this ladies, and yet they just get on with it, I am a mum so I understand the issues surrounding childrens school plays etc and believe me I have troubles in my life that far far exceed that of this article and yet I have never asked a school for special treatment or run to a paper with the expectation that people will side with me. I presume,due to your name calling and general rudeness to anyone who is not on her side,that this lady is a friend of yours? If so, i am interested to know what she hoped to achieve by going to the paper in the first place? I can not understand what she thought the public needed informing of? Also you do not know me or my life as I have chosen not to run to the paper and put it in print so please do not say what you can guarantee I would or would not do as I can assure you in this circumstance you are very mistaken I would not have done "exactly the same" as this lady has, I would have quietly sat and watched my daughters play and put her first. You are quite right we do not know the full story of this family but we are basing our opinions on what is in the article,if she didn't want that to happen then she should not have gone to the paper,i will not be quiet or side with someone just because you see fit to call me names!
[quote][p][bold]prettygreeneyes28[/bold] wrote: Yeah well unless you've been in someones shoe's you shouldn't judge them! And surely if the Journal didn't see a valid story then they wouldn't have put it in the bloody paper!!!! The poor girl has obviously been through enough, and just wanted to put a point across that people should have some compassion, especially under the circumstances and at this time of the year! I can guarantee if it had of been yourself or one of your family, you'd be exactly the same! As I've already said, you don't know the full story behind the family's situation, just a few paragraphs on the page. So instead of jumping to your own pig headed little conclusions,think of the bigger picture!!![/p][/quote]I am entitled to an opinion, I don't need to have been "in their shoes" for that! As for the paper only printing it because they saw it as a valid story are you actually being serious with that comment? I am not even going to reply to that because that is such a ridiculous statement to make. A lot of people have problems in their lives, some probably far worse than this ladies, and yet they just get on with it, I am a mum so I understand the issues surrounding childrens school plays etc and believe me I have troubles in my life that far far exceed that of this article and yet I have never asked a school for special treatment or run to a paper with the expectation that people will side with me. I presume,due to your name calling and general rudeness to anyone who is not on her side,that this lady is a friend of yours? If so, i am interested to know what she hoped to achieve by going to the paper in the first place? I can not understand what she thought the public needed informing of? Also you do not know me or my life as I have chosen not to run to the paper and put it in print so please do not say what you can guarantee I would or would not do as I can assure you in this circumstance you are very mistaken I would not have done "exactly the same" as this lady has, I would have quietly sat and watched my daughters play and put her first. You are quite right we do not know the full story of this family but we are basing our opinions on what is in the article,if she didn't want that to happen then she should not have gone to the paper,i will not be quiet or side with someone just because you see fit to call me names! JDP123

4:27pm Sun 29 Dec 13

salisburysaint says...

For those who hadn't already realised the poster defending this ridiculous story who obviously think rather a lot of herself using the handle prettygreeneyes is of course the same lady described in the article. She uses this handle on other social media sites. Doh!
For those who hadn't already realised the poster defending this ridiculous story who obviously think rather a lot of herself using the handle prettygreeneyes is of course the same lady described in the article. She uses this handle on other social media sites. Doh! salisburysaint

5:20pm Sun 29 Dec 13

Colmanskid says...

salisburysaint wrote:
For those who hadn't already realised the poster defending this ridiculous story who obviously think rather a lot of herself using the handle prettygreeneyes is of course the same lady described in the article. She uses this handle on other social media sites. Doh!
Well judging by prettygreeneyes comments on here she is definitely in a world revolving around herself. No doubt if she doesn't get her way in the future stand by for more front page headlines in the Journal instead of real news reporting on serious issues affecting the population of Salisbury.
[quote][p][bold]salisburysaint[/bold] wrote: For those who hadn't already realised the poster defending this ridiculous story who obviously think rather a lot of herself using the handle prettygreeneyes is of course the same lady described in the article. She uses this handle on other social media sites. Doh![/p][/quote]Well judging by prettygreeneyes comments on here she is definitely in a world revolving around herself. No doubt if she doesn't get her way in the future stand by for more front page headlines in the Journal instead of real news reporting on serious issues affecting the population of Salisbury. Colmanskid

5:32pm Sun 29 Dec 13

JDP123 says...

salisburysaint wrote:
For those who hadn't already realised the poster defending this ridiculous story who obviously think rather a lot of herself using the handle prettygreeneyes is of course the same lady described in the article. She uses this handle on other social media sites. Doh!
I had thought it may be the same person but wasn't sure. If it is then from her charming posts on here I can just imagine the abuse and stamping of feet the school was forced to endure when she failed to get her own way there! It just saddens me that her daughter was either too traumatised by her own mothers actions in her school to partake in her first nativity play or is following in mummys footsteps as it says in the article she didn't want to be in the play if her brother couldn't watch, so mummy took her home,which is no example for a mother to be setting to a child! 'We didn't get our own way and we cant break the rules so we wont do any of it!" Whichever way it was I find it sad that children suffer because of their parents own feelings of self importance! I really feel for this little girl I know my children would be mortified at having to go back into school if I had made a scene there, its so unfair. So a message to Ms Sommerton/prettygree
neyes28 You are a mother, nothing else matters,please try putting your childrens feelings ahead of your own, incidences such as this may be forgotten in your busy life but to a child it is a very unhappy moment that stays with them and taints their childhood memories and their enjoyment of school, you have beautiful children and their happiness is so much more important than getting your own way.
[quote][p][bold]salisburysaint[/bold] wrote: For those who hadn't already realised the poster defending this ridiculous story who obviously think rather a lot of herself using the handle prettygreeneyes is of course the same lady described in the article. She uses this handle on other social media sites. Doh![/p][/quote]I had thought it may be the same person but wasn't sure. If it is then from her charming posts on here I can just imagine the abuse and stamping of feet the school was forced to endure when she failed to get her own way there! It just saddens me that her daughter was either too traumatised by her own mothers actions in her school to partake in her first nativity play or is following in mummys footsteps as it says in the article she didn't want to be in the play if her brother couldn't watch, so mummy took her home,which is no example for a mother to be setting to a child! 'We didn't get our own way and we cant break the rules so we wont do any of it!" Whichever way it was I find it sad that children suffer because of their parents own feelings of self importance! I really feel for this little girl I know my children would be mortified at having to go back into school if I had made a scene there, its so unfair. So a message to Ms Sommerton/prettygree neyes28 You are a mother, nothing else matters,please try putting your childrens feelings ahead of your own, incidences such as this may be forgotten in your busy life but to a child it is a very unhappy moment that stays with them and taints their childhood memories and their enjoyment of school, you have beautiful children and their happiness is so much more important than getting your own way. JDP123

1:51pm Mon 30 Dec 13

montyzoomersmum says...

perhaps the said toddler was known for being a little disruptive? Nothing worse than badly behaved younger siblings screaching wildly during a performance.
perhaps the said toddler was known for being a little disruptive? Nothing worse than badly behaved younger siblings screaching wildly during a performance. montyzoomersmum

5:54pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Colmanskid says...

montyzoomersmum wrote:
perhaps the said toddler was known for being a little disruptive? Nothing worse than badly behaved younger siblings screaching wildly during a performance.
Unfortunately this behaviour by small children extends beyond school nativity plays and no doubt we have all seen examples of this in Cafes or when out shopping. Kids bring disruptive because they can't get their own way or their parent(s) are ignoring them as their phone is more important.
[quote][p][bold]montyzoomersmum[/bold] wrote: perhaps the said toddler was known for being a little disruptive? Nothing worse than badly behaved younger siblings screaching wildly during a performance.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately this behaviour by small children extends beyond school nativity plays and no doubt we have all seen examples of this in Cafes or when out shopping. Kids bring disruptive because they can't get their own way or their parent(s) are ignoring them as their phone is more important. Colmanskid

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