Curtis Elton, the nine-year-old child piano prodigy who has been called ‘The Mini Mozart’ and is the youngest pianist ever to attain the prestigious ATCL national music diploma, has been forced to leave the top public school Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys School in Elstree following the family’s efforts to make rugby optional to make sure Curtis does not get injured and jeopardise his musical career.
The long running dispute came to a head when Curtis, still forced to play rugby, was not allowed to mix with his friends during school break times, banned from playing football even though it is not deemed as dangerous as rugby. As a result, Hayley Elton opted to remove him from the school altogether.
“I was devastated when Curtis came home following the school’s decision,” she said, “he said that he felt 'he was crying inside his body'. How could a mother not act when their child is that emotionally affected. It is also very sad why the school could not recognise a nine year old’s musical talents and try to accommodate his needs.”
“Why couldn't the school see,” she continues, “that sport and music can harmonize, but rugby is hazardous and contravenes his insurance policy, made worse by muddy nose incidents, it was clear rugby and music did not mix.”
Curtis’ Mum is now embarking on a campaign to make rugby optional in similar schools up and down the country. Backed by Allyson Pollock, a Professor of Public Health Research & Policy, the campaign is set to raise awareness of the dangers of schoolboy rugby.
Professor Pollock, who has written two papers on the dangers of school rugby, had the following to say in support of the campaign:
“Rugby is a contact sport and it is high risk. Many studies show that the risks of injury are unacceptably high and result in time off school and play. It should not be compulsory for school children to play rugby. UK Governments and the English Rugby Union are failing to comply with International standards set by the World Health Organisation on injury surveillance and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The failure to collect data on rugby injuries and the risks and outcomes of injuries is verging on the criminally negligent.”
The campaign kicks off in Westminster where Hayley Elton has arranged with Labour MP Chris Bryant to meet representatives from the RFU (Rugby Football Union) on November 20th to discuss the issue.
Update: The meeting went well, with more to come in the New Year.
In the meantime, meetings have been arranged with Curtis for alternative schools who have offered optional or no rugby.
So, join Halyey & Curtis today and sign the petition to Make Rugby Optional. Click here
Or simply Like the page on Facebook, search for "Make Rubgy Optional"
For more information on Hayley & Curtis Elton, and the campaign to make rugby optional, contact Quitegreat