Australian school bans clapping in assemblies

Children raising hands Image copyright Thinkstock

A school in Sydney has banned clapping at assemblies in favour of "silent cheering", "excited faces" and "punching the air".

The rule was introduced to respect a teacher with a hearing condition that causes sensitivity to noise, said New South Wales education officials.

The school has said the practice also "reduces fidgeting" in assemblies.

The NSW Education Department said clapping was still allowed at other school events.

'Wriggle on the spot'

Elanora Heights Public School, on Sydney's northern beaches, announced the no-clapping policy in its latest newsletter.

"If you've been to a school assembly recently, you may have noticed our students doing silent cheers," it said.

"Instead of clapping, the students are free to punch the air, pull excited faces and wriggle about on the spot.

"The practice has been adopted to respect members of our school community who are sensitive to noise.

It said teachers would "prompt the audience to conduct a silent cheer if it is needed" and that they had found it to be "a great way to expend children's energy and reduce fidgeting".

Hugs and Australia Day celebrations have faced bans at different schools around the country.

Earlier this week, an all-girls school rejected a newspaper report that said its teachers were asked to stop addressing students as girls, ladies and women in favour of gender-neutral language.

Correction: This story was amended on 22 July to clarify that the policy was brought in because of a teacher's condition and applied to assemblies only.

More on this story