Simon Hickton - My Yorkshire Christmas

PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 December 2013

Simon Hickton

Simon Hickton


Simon Hickton, headteacher at Carcroft Primary School in Doncaster, talks angels, aliens and end-of-term discos

It’s fair to say that the Little Donkey tune will be ringing round my head long after we break up for the Christmas holidays.

As the headteacher at a large primary school for 3 to 11 year olds in Doncaster, I attend a good few end-of-term seasonal performances ranging from classic nativities put on by our youngest children to Christmas-with-a-twist shows staged by older pupils. I think aliens are landing this Christmas (but I may have dreamt that).

It’s a frenzy of festive activity with silver foil-covered stars, tea towels for the shepherds and tinsel everywhere you look. It’s my job to introduce the young performers to their proud parents at each event and congratulate Santa for not getting stuck in the chimney prop or the angels for bringing a tear to the eye.

Unfortunately, I can also make the pretty definite prediction that the ever-popular Gangnam Style will be buzzing about my head at the end-of-term after an energetic Christmas disco or two.

But maybe that will be dispelled by one of the nicest traditions we have at Carcroft, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, when we have our annual carol singing trip to China Cottage Care Home, just up the road. Seeing the impact the singing has on both the children and the older people has always brought home to me the true meaning of the season.

Christmas, as they say, is for children and being surrounded by so many excited youngsters is energising and exhausting all at the same time. We are committed to creative learning at Carcroft all year round though so it’s never dull here.

Outside of my headship, I’m chairman of a new Yorkshire-based educational company which sells creative curriculum products to schools across the UK. I’ll definitely be calling in to the Cornerstones office in Barnsley this Christmas as two or three of the staff have caught the Great British Bake-Off bug and there’s sure to be some home-made mince pies and brownies on offer.

I live in the village of Sprotborough in Doncaster and when Melanie and I get a spare second we wander down with our three growing boys to the Boat Inn on the banks of the River Don. This atmospheric country pub dates back to 1652 and famously played host to Sir Walter Scott, who’s said to have written his novel Ivanhoe while sipping ale there.

For Christmas shopping, we either have a browse around the village of Wentworth or go to the Christmas Market in Sheffield. And, we love an outing to Leeds, where we can wander around the Victoria Quarter and eat at Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant or the new Brazilian restaurant, Fazenda, in Granary Wharf, which we may well visit to welcome in the new year.

Cornerstones Education was set up by Yorkshire teachers in 2011. It now employs 26 people in Barnsley and sells its products nationwide. For more information, visit

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