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  • Writer's pictureEmily Del-Grande

The nightmare of Christmas… a true tale

The run up to Christmas in a school is unique; The teachers have had a long term.

The children are tired.

School nativities.

Christmas songs.


Christmas quizzes in English.

Films instead of Maths.



A murmur of excitement that builds slowly.

And in all that there's always some children who have eaten too much sugar, they're not behaving for Santa, they're over tired, they're just ready for the break too.... right?

Christmas is one of the busiest, most distracting times of the year. Schools turn a bit crazy, especially Primaries. Yet this time of year offers one of the most reliable insights into where safeguarding issues may be lurking.

It is well known that on the run up to a school holiday, and sometimes even weekends, we see a shift in children who are worried or scared to be at home. Maybe they become more clingy, maybe emotional, and sometimes their behaviour rockets.

So why does Christmas make this worse?

When you look at the Christmas break in comparison to other holidays there are some key comparisons.

A big part of Christmas for children is the presents. Yet 4.2 million children live in poverty in the UK (source: action for children). Imagine being 10 years old and hearing your friends talk about the new PlayStation or iPhone they are getting, knowing your Christmas dinner is from food parcels donated by a local charity and you might not get a gift this year because the money has to go on keeping you all warm.

Next, consider the increased alcohol consumption alongside the financial stress, people being off work and the isolation that Christmas can bring... it is known as a time of the year where domestic violence increases. In 2020 the NSPCC estimated 15,000 children were in a household where there was domestic violence over the two weeks at Christmas (source: CASWA).

For many children, the one place that offers sanctuary, consistency and safety is school. And the thought of not having that drives fear into our most vulnerable.

For staff in education, the Christmas break offers a well deserved rest. But next time that kid starts acting up or behaving differently, just bear in mind the darker side to Christmas for some... all behaviour is communication... are they telling you something?

Thank you

To anyone who spares a minute to read my blogs, I sincerely hope you enjoy them and they are a little bit useful.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and all the best for 2024 🎄

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