Schoolkids banned from playing British Bulldogs


By Cara Sulieman

IT HAS been a popular playground game for generations, but children in one Scottish school have been banned from playing British Bulldogs on “health and safety grounds”.

Pupils at Edinburgh’s Firrhill High School have been told not to play the game, along with other “physical” pastimes such as wrestling.

The game involves kids running across the field and trying to break through a human chain formed by the other team.

It has had a revival in recent years as schoolchildren are encouraged to be more active in the playground – but has been banned in schools across the country.

“Not allowed”

And a series of minor injuries caused by playing the game at Firrhill has led to the acting senior depute Nick McClellan telling the kids not to play it during school hours.

A note in the daily bulletin message to pupils on the school’s website reads: “Please note that taking part in physical games such as wrestling or British Bulldogs is not allowed in the school grounds at breaks and lunchtimes.

“On health and safety grounds there is a significant risk of injury to pupils and these types of games are therefore unacceptable in school.”

Just last year, the Local Government Association (LGA) – which represents councils in England and Wales – called for the game to be reintroduced, saying schools needed to strike a balance between health and safety and getting the kids active.

But the move has support from local councillors, who say the game is “not appropriate”.

Councillor Jeremy Balfour said: “If schools can’t provide the necessary supervision, it’s probably a game that is not appropriate for kids at break times.”

“Don’t get out of hand”

Other councillors are calling for the school to life the ban, saying risk is “part of growing up”.

Councillor Alison Johnstone said: “This is a game that I played when I was at school and the fact that it’s still going strong shows it does have a real appeal.

“Clearly we have to take health and safety considerations into account but we have to be a lot more imaginative and can’t simply ban anything that has a bit of risk attached to it, as that’s part of growing up.”

A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council said: “We don’t have a central policy on activity in playgrounds.

“The school doesn’t want to see children wrestling or running into each other and getting hurt. They are simply trying to ensure things don’t get out of hand.”

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