Parents' outrage as kids at £45,000 per year public school seen giving Nazi salutes while watching play about Hitler

15 December 2022, 19:47 | Updated: 15 December 2022, 20:45

Millfield School in Somerset
Millfield School in Somerset. Picture: Google Maps

By Kit Heren

Parents at an elite public school have been left sickened by images of students giving Nazi salutes while watching an "educational" play about Adolf Hitler.

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Actor Pip Utton dressed up in full Nazi regalia to perform the one-man-show at Millfield School in Somerset, where school fees are an astronomical £45,000 per year.

Images from the performance - which also took place the day before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur - show students giggling while throwing Nazi salutes with one hand diagonally up in the air.

The photos, obtained by the Jewish Chronicle. have sparked a backlash from parents, with one saying he felt "sick" after seeing them.

"What on earth were the teachers thinking? It would not be appropriate to give this kind of play the green light for school children at any time, least of all on the eve of Yom Kippur.

"The school must have known of the content and if not, it should have. There is no excuse for this disgraceful error of judgment."

One parent said the school gave no explanation or apology for staging the play so close to Yom Kippur, a solemn Jewish holiday, or for the behaviour of the children.

Instead they told students to delete footage and images from the event. "The school's sole concern seemed to be a looming scandal, so it tried to destroy the evidence. I am absolutely appalled," the parent told the Jewish Chronicle.

Alumni of Millfield, a top public school. include Romeo Beckham, England footballer Tyrone Mings and the current defence secretary Ben Wallace.

Gavin Horgan, the school's headteacher, apologised when contacted for comment.

He said: "We should not have staged this play. 

"We are sorry for the hurt that has been caused and we have changed our approach to vetting performances so that this will never happen again."

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Actor Mr Utton said that he would have asked the school to perform on another date had he known that Yom Kippur was so soon.

But he added that the play was educational and that he had manipulated the children to do the Nazi salute to show them how terrible the gesture is.

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He said: "I like to think I'm a sensitive fellow. Perhaps the school should have also have been more sensitive and found another date.

"I was in no way attempting to glorify that horrible, horrible salute. The point was to show how people can be manipulated and how easy it is. Believe me, it is shocking for me to see it happen.

"They got the fact that it was kind of a joke because they were laughing about it."