Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Massage classes at Sheffield school prompt complaints

The introduction of massages at a Sheffield primary school has led to complaints from some parents.

Hartley Brook school, in Shiregreen, said the massage programme was 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.

Some parents are refusing to let their children take part. 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."

'Touchy-feely'

Sheffield City Council said most parents were in favour of the classes but a small number had complained.

The school's head teacher 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.

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