Abbey Wood comprehensive in the London borough of Greenwich was clearly playing with fire by changing the first line of the John Lennon song "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" from "so this is Christmas" to "so this is December". A disgruntled parent contacted the Daily Mail, which described the move as "political correctness gone mad", even though other references to Christmas in the song were kept.
After similar stories appeared in the Evening Standard and The Sun, where columnist Richard Littlejohn complained of "Toytown Trots", the beleaguered school decided to perform the song in its original form at the concert, held last week. Headteacher Irene Mackie said that the change had been made because the concert was a retrospective look at the school year, and not primarily a Christmas event. "The whole thing was blown out of all proportion. Our one wish was, as always, to include as many of the children in the evening as possible and to help them to reflect on the year that had gone." She said that the decision had also taken account of the non-Christian pupils.
"It has never been presented as a Christmas concert - it is a music concert which for the past six years has taken place at this time of the year," she added.