One of Britain’s top private schools has changed the lyrics of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ to ‘Gentlefolk’ because the centuries-old carol’s words were not “accessible to all”.
Pupils at Highgate School in north London sang the alternative lyrics, styled as a “21st-century update” to the traditional words, at its carol services this year, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The booklet used by pupils at the services lists the song’s name as ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlefolk’, while the song sheet given to the school’s choir shows the ‘men’ in ‘Gentlemen’ crossed out and replaced with ‘folk’.
A spokesman for the school, whose alumni include cricketer Phil Tufnell and poet T.S. Eliot, confirmed it had made the politically correct “update” to the song, which is thought to date back to the 16th century or farther.
He said: “Its original lyrics long predate modern progress in gender equality, and it was felt right to update them for the 21st century, making the lyrics more inclusive and accessible to all.”
The move was blasted by UKIP Education Spokesman David Kurten, who told Breitbart London: “It is a bad day when a once great and centuries-old school stops upholding the traditions and culture of the nation and starts bowing to the latest fads.
“Changing the lyrics of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’, one of the oldest carols in existence, is not just ridiculous but also an Orwellian rewriting of a cherished part of our history by the politically correct thought police.”
Educational bastions of conservatism go full SJW https://t.co/DPUAiNzYsn
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 13, 2017
Breitbart London previously reported that the prestigious private school brought in ‘gender neutral’ uniforms which allow boys to wear skirts, with headteacher Adam Pettitt declaring: “This generation [of pupils] is really questioning being binary in the way we look at things”.
The school was forced to apologise in October over another of its progressive innovations, after pupils said they felt “less comfortable and happy” at Highgate since the introduction of ‘gender neutral’ toilets.
Mr Pettitt had previously hailed the move as reflecting how young people are “pleasingly accepting of and sympathetic to those whose lives are made miserable by the inability of institutions to adapt to their gender-fluidity or their gender-neutrality”, according to the Daily Mail.
In a letter to parents apologising for the lavatory conversions, the headteacher said: “I’m aware that this change has left a number of pupils particularly in Years 7 and 8 feeling less comfortable and happy at school … I’m sorry that we have not got this right.”
But he added: “Those questioning the change have been vocal in expressing their support for the intention to ensure the school is a welcoming and inclusive place for pupils who are gender fluid, gender querying or who did not identify themselves by gender.”