From the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz to Meg, the good witch from the Meg and Mog children’s books, witches have always dressed in black.
But their traditional attire has now come in for criticism from equality experts who claim it could send a negative message to toddlers in nursery and lead to racism.
Instead, teachers should censor the toy box and replace the pointy black hat with a pink one, while dressing fairies, generally resplendent in pale pastels, in darker shades.
Another staple of the classroom – white paper – has also been questioned by Anne O’Connor, an early years consultant who advises local authorities on equality and diversity.
Children should be provided with paper other than white to drawn on and paints and crayons should come in ”the full range of flesh tones”, reflecting the diversity of the human race, according to the former teacher.
Finally, staff should be prepared to be economical with the truth when asked by pupils what their favourite colour is and, in the interests of good race relations, answer ”black” or ”brown”.
A mother has complained of ”harsh treatment” after her nine-year-old son was put into isolation over two days for referring to a schoolmate as ”chocolate”.