In this season of nativity plays, carol concerts and Christmas festivities it is interesting to see how many schools recall aspects of the Nativity through the year in their names. A search on Edubase, the Government's online database of education establishments across England and Wales, produces no results for Christmas, wise men or Magi, and only one for Nazareth - a nursery in Lancaster. A search of Scotland's school directory, Scottish Schools Online, also draws a blank.
Although there are 23 schools with shepherd in their title, none seems to relate to those celebrated in the Christmas carols. The same is true of the 89 education establishments with star in their name. Many relate to "rising" or "twinkling" stars rather than the star of Bethlehem, a town also not found in the name of any school.
But when you turn to Mary and Joseph, the name-checks roll in. There are 245 schools with Joseph in their name in England and Wales, and 22 in Scotland, and although some are named after other famous Josephs such as 19th century social reformer Chamberlain, many are named after St Joseph.
Similarly, of the 574 schools in England and Wales with Mary in their name, 518 are St Mary. Indeed, this is probably the most common name for a school in England and Wales. There are seven Mary Poppins nursery and pre-schools, but that is nothing to do with Christmas, unless it's part of the festive TV schedule. And Jesus appears in the name of only three schools.
John Howson is a director of Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education.