Image of the Day: Why are parents of this new Christian school in UK on the warpath?

Image of the Day: Why are parents of this new Christian school in UK on the warpath?
Parents and students outside the school (Image: Huddlesfield Daily Examiner video screen grab

Now you see it, now you don’t.

The Oak Church of England Primary School opened last month in West Yorkshire, after three extant schools merged into one. But there was something different about the school’s logo that doesn’t exactly require a Sherlock Holmes to notice.

The old logo appears on the left. The revised version is on the right:

school logo
Image via Daily Mail

The cross that appears on the original logo, which is to be emblazoned on school uniforms, has been replaced the spreading branches of the tree.

The initial design arose out of a competition among the children. But the heads of the state-run councils that oversee the operation of the school decided the cross was too — shall we say? — religious.

Parents are now outraged. One of them, interviewed by the Daily Mail, is Niki Trepak, who has four children at the school. She is quoted as saying, “I’ve got quite a few Muslim friends at the school and I asked them, “Does the cross offend you?” and they said no.” She added, “If it’s going to remain a Church of England school it should keep the cross.”

The council bosses maintain that the logo bearing the cross was never intended to be the final design. The headmaster of the school, Dave Bendall, acknowledged as much in a statement that reads in part:

It was not confirmed as the final logo and was amended to give more prominence to the tree, which not only reflects the school name but is also an ancient symbol representing many beliefs.

Changing the design to include three branches also meant we could signify the way Oak Primary was formed, which was three schools joining together as one.

The decision was made jointly by governors and the diocese and the change does not in any way alter the identity or ethos of our school.

We are a very diverse community school and it’s central to our ethos that children of all backgrounds are treated exactly the same.

We hope people will agree that a logo is only a symbol — a school’s qualities are not brought alive by a picture but by the thoughts and actions of the people within it.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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