Sheffield school massage sessions under fire

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MOVES to encourage pupils to massage each other at a Sheffield primary school have come under fire from parents.

Shiregreen’s Hartley Brook School says the programme is designed to help children concentrate and relax after their lunch break.

Children are massaged by fellow pupils on the shoulders, neck, head and arms and can stop if they are uncomfortable.

But some parents are refusing to let their children take part and mother-of-two Rachel Beer said it was ‘inappropriate’.

Mrs Beer, who has two children aged seven and nine at the school, said: “I understand that children do need calming down after they have come in from lunch.

“I just think there’s better relaxation techniques out there that can help with that such as yoga that has the same benefits as peer massage that doesn’t involve them touching each other.

“I just think it’s a bit strange. If you went into work and they asked you to massage your work colleagues you would be uncomfortable with that.”

Mrs Beer said many other mothers felt the same way and she had made her feelings clear to the headteacher,

“Surely the 20 minutes a day spent on these massages would be better spent on school work - 20 minutes a day is one hour and 40 minutes a week spent doing nothing,” she added.

Hartley Brook headteacher Chris Hobson said the massages were calming and completely unintrusive.

She said: “It’s really just doing massage through the clothes. The children seem to love it.

“It’s only five to 10 minutes and it makes such a difference to the way the children calm down and get focused on their work.

“They are given the chance to say they don’t want to do it with somebody and also the children choose their partners.”

Mrs Hobson said she respected the views of parents who did not want their children to take part.

“But children are quite touchy-feely, they like being cuddled and they like being nice to each other,” she said.