Primary schools ban football for safety reasons....
Primary school bans footballs
A school where Steven Gerrard grew up has banned footballs from the playground, saying would-be England stars must instead use sponge balls for "health and safety" reasons.
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard was a pupil at Huyton's Malvern Primary School in MerseysidePhoto: AP
9:09AM GMT 24 Feb 2011
Huyton's Malvern Primary School in Merseyside has decided that exposing pupils to leather and plastic footballs during breaktimes is too dangerous.
Using a February newsletter to remind parents of the policy, the school stressed that the only balls not deemed a health hazard which can be brought into school are those made from sponge.
Yesterday anti-obesity campaigners said the "stupid" rule was at odds with Huyton's reputation of producing a string of footballing greats including Gerrard, the Liverpool captain.
The school literature stated: "Please can we request that only sponge balls are brought into school.
"This is to ensure the safety of all our pupils when on the playground."
The school defended the sponge-only ball rule, stressing it had a duty to protect pupils of all ages.
But Tam Fry, chairman of obesity prevention charity the Child Growth Foundation, branded the stance "stupid".
He said: "Children must be exposed to risk otherwise how can they be expected to learn.
"Schools should be places to learn. It may think it is protecting the children but they could just as easily fall over playing with a sponge ball.
"Policies like this mean our children are in danger of becoming cocooned cotton buds."
Mr Fry added: "We do have a litigation culture but you can't tell me Steven Gerrard did not play football in the playground - I bet he even fell over a few times."
In a statement the school said: "Malvern Primary School treats the health and safety of its pupils as a top priority and has for a long time had a policy of protecting children by recommending sponge balls in the playground before school starts and during breaks, especially as the playground accommodates children from the age of four to 11."