THE headteacher of a Blackburn primary school has said he is "truly sorry" after publishing a newsletter which used a picture of Shrek to teach about racism and Black Lives Matter.

On Monday, a newsletter posted by St Matthew’s CoE Primary School recommended to parents to “begin with a picture of Shrek” to explain to their children about racial prejudice.

Julian Rogers, Head of St Matthew’s C of E Primary School, said: “The assembly was shared with our parents as the choice of character was based on a figure that would be familiar to the children, a character who experiences discrimination and prejudice based on his outward appearance.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has thirteen guiding principles. This assembly idea was not intended to address all these; rather to focus on a few – empathy, diversity and collective value.

“We teach our children that we are all equal regardless of religion, race, sex or anything else as we are all unique.

"I am truly sorry if the choice of character used to help children understand difference caused offence."

Mr Rogers added that the school had taken part in a council programme to encourage mixing between schools in the community, which he said had been “vital” in helping support development for the pupils.

The school quickly removed the ‘Black Lives Matter’ section of its latest newsletter from its website.

"It seems to be well intentioned, but I think to compare black people to Shrek is very offensive,” one person who saw the newsletter said.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s head of education, Jo Siddle, said: “We are aware that there has been a complaint.

“The Council has a wide programme available to support schools with a variety of home resources for schools, teachers and parents.

“There’s a huge amount of work in our schools to help more children and young people from diverse backgrounds have opportunities to learn together and form friendships.

“The Schools Linking programme is about giving schools in different parts of the borough opportunities to meet up and collaborate on learning activities that explore themes around identity and belonging.

“It has been recognised nationally for the way schools are working together to support their pupils’ spiritual, moral and cultural development.

"Other work that teaches valuable life lessons via the ‘Kindness Matters’ programme has been particularly well received with pupils.

“As education leaders it’s so important that we give children growing up in different parts of the borough chances to learn from one another, to explore different cultures and religions, and to make friends when they might not normally have those opportunities.”