Heads are right to ban card craze from school

The drivers' dispute might be over, but at what cost?

CLIVE SMITH: The dressing-up corner is now no longer safe from the PC brigade

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There will be some people who wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, collecting and swopping crazes have been going on for years.

But there are serious issues behind the decision taken by some Portsmouth headteachers to ban the latest card-swapping fad from their schools.

The Credit Cruncherz cards themselves, novelty pretend credit cards that feature pictures of celebrities such as Wayne Rooney and Cheryl Cole, may seem harmless enough.

But Simon Cattermole, headteacher at Stamshaw Junior School, has confiscated cards and told his pupils that he doesn’t want to see any more of them brought into school. Claire Stevens, head at Newbridge Juniors in Buckland, has also imposed a ban.

The problem with these cards comes when those children who cannot afford to buy them feel excluded. In the race to complete sets, it can become a case of the haves and the have-nots and that can be divisive. Imagine how a child would feel if they couldn’t join in.

Then there is the difficulty caused by those children who do a swop and want to get their cards back. It’s easy to see how arguments and fights can happen.

Bullying can also result as children become desperate to get the most sets to impress their friends and pick on weaker pupils, taking their cards under threat.

Plus, because the cards look like genuine credit cards, there is understandable concern that younger children may get confused and be tempted to take a credit card from their father’s wallet or mother’s purse to trade in the playground.

We agree with the heads on this one. They are not being killjoys for the sake of it. Sometimes schools have to step in and take action for the common good.

Remember, there is nothing to stop the children carrying on their swopping beyond the school gates, as long as their parents are happy for them to do so and they can afford the 30p a time to buy new packets of four cards.

But schools must have wider considerations about the possible consequences.