A NUMBER of children from a Redditch school had to go to A&E after suffering burns while taking part in an Ash Wednesday assembly.

Pupils from St Augustine's High School had cold ash smudged onto their foreheads on Wednesday.

Some of the children taking part suffered a burn to the forehead.

One mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "My son came home yesterday and the sign of the cross has caused some kind of chemical reaction and burnt the cross into his forehead

"And my son isn’t the only one. Parents have been posting pictures on social media saying their child has had the same reaction.

"I spoke to the school and they said year 11 and 10 received the ash ritual and then they stopped after year nine when students started saying their heads were tingling. It’s awful.

"Parents have sought medical advice and been told it’s probably going to scar."

The concerned parent added: "The school has said it’s going to investigate. But what are we meant to do now? Our children are walking around with big burns on their foreheads

"Two children had to go to A&E. Other students, and apparently teachers, had to go to pharmacies to try to find something for the pain."

The school has confirmed that an investigation is underway.

Headteacher Gerald O’Connor said: "During the Ash Wednesday service, it came to our attention that some discomfort was experienced by students that had received the ashes on the forehead.

"As a result all students were requested to wash the ashes off immediately to ensure no further discomfort was felt.

"We are aware that some students had a reaction to the ashes from the parish, for which medical advice has been sought."

The Christian Ash Wednesday ritual involves receiving a mark of ashes on the forehead as a token of penitence and mortality.