Skip to content

The trouble with magic – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 23rd December 2015 – Ballard School

December 23, 2015

The trouble with magic

This is a time of year when we hear expressions such as ‘the magic of Christmas’ and when we are asked to suspend belief momentarily as children are encouraged to be good so as to have a visit from Santa Claus. Imaginative play and the consideration of things we don’t fully comprehend are human traits we would generally encourage, not least in schools.

It was thus interesting to see recent articles in the Telegraph and the Daily Mail which expressed concern about the Harry Potter books and the whole world of magic as portrayed in fiction. These ‘papers report that Tom Bennett, the Government’s school behaviour tsar, has said that some religious parents have called for the Harry Potter novels to be banned from schools as they “normalise acts of magic” and deal with the occult. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) responded by saying that if parents have religious objections to a book, “the teacher should be flexible in delivering their content, and come up with ways to provide an alternative”.

I certainly have concerns about anything which draws young people towards the occult but surely this is an example of where anything taken to an extreme can be harmful (and are perhaps akin to those who have just come out of the new ‘Star Wars’ film saying they had had a religious experience)? Most people reading the Harry Potter books realise that they are all about a make belief world but, sadly, there will always be those who take things too far no matter what. Not to read the Harry Potter books because this might happen would consign us, if taken to the nth degree, to a very monochrome world.

Narnia and Ballard

Here at Ballard I regularly use the Narnia books in assemblies and draw from CS Lewis’ writing lessons for our daily living. Narnia is, of course, a magical place but one rich with Christian symbolism and allegorical messages. Lewis harnessed his imagination to stimulate ours so as to lead us towards greater truths and a fuller understanding of the human condition and experience. In my view, properly taught and read with a sensible balance of genre, books dealing with magic (as opposed to those encouraging an interest in the occult) have a place in schools. As the NAHT has pointed out, let’s leave the choice of books to the teachers and their professional sense.

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

We regularly tweet @BallardSchool and our Facebook page is found here:

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: