Leeds parents upset by school's yo-yo promotion

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 8, 2010

Parents at Leeds' Brodetsky Primary have got into a twist over yo-yos after the school allowed an outside company to promote them to pupils.

Brodetsky has received complaints over a motivational assembly programme, "The NED Show", run by American-based company All for Kidz and featuring yo-yo tricks.

There is no charge for the show but participating schools are asked to sell its stunt yo-yos, costing £5-£10, for five days afterwards.

Headmaster Jeremy Dunford said the assembly last Friday had been successful in promoting self-esteem and new learning skills.

But as a yo-yo craze swept the school, some parents raised concerns about commercialism and the pressure they were coming under from their children to buy the products.

"Yo-yo zones" have been set up "so that no one is caught in the firing line whilst tricks are being practised", Mr Dunford explained. "At one point in the infant playground we had more children in the yo-yo zone than on the main playground."

One teacher was heard asking plaintively: "Has anyone got anything other than a yo-yo to show us today?"

In a letter, Mr Dunford assured parents that children could bring in their own yo-yos and that there was no requirement to buy a NED-branded one. However, other parents then urged the school to continue selling them for the five-day period.

"Clearly my biggest controversy since joining the school [in January] is a yo-yo based one," he reflected.

In a statement, All For Kidz vice-president for sales Scott Hopper said the company aimed to help parents instil in their children "values that will benefit them for a lifetime.

"We do so at nearly 6,000 schools annually without receiving any outside public funding, covering all of the expenses ourselves and receiving no financial guarantee from the schools we visit."

Last updated: 1:15pm, July 8 2010