Valentine's card swapping banned at primary school

For the loved-up couples of Britain, Valentine's Day is the chance to show our nearest and dearest exactly what they mean to us. But if you are a single person, it can often feel like the cruellest day of the year.

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This may be particularly true of our impressionable youngsters, which is why one primary school has taken the rather unusual step of banning its pupils from sending Valentine's cards. The kids at Ashcombe Primary School in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, will find their cards confiscated should they endeavour to tell that special someone how they feel.

Headmaster Peter Turner this week wrote to the parents of each of the 430 pupils to explain the rule, saying: "Some children and parents encourage a lot of talk about boyfriends and girlfriends. This often leads to children being upset when they are 'dumped' and other fuss which interrupts their learning. The school believes that such ideas should wait until children are mature enough emotionally and socially to understand the commitment involved in having or being a boyfriend or girlfriend."

Though many parents have condemned the ban, for many that "upset" will ring some rather unpleasant bells. For singletons across the nation, Valentine's can bring with it a distinct sense of loneliness. And with bullying in schools apparently rife, the receiving (or not) of a Valentine's card might also offer up another opportunity for name-calling, not to mention feelings of inadequacy.

Even for those already in a relationship, the day has begun to seem like just another excuse for retailers to get their hands on our hard earned cash.

So is the now heavily commercialised Valentine's Day really about love, or are we simply pressured into spending?