An Italian headmaster has been forced to resign after he scrapped his school’s Christmas carol concert following the Paris attacks in a move that sparked outrage across the country.

Marco Parma, 63, decided to ban traditional festivities at Garofani school in Rozano, near Milan, so as not to cause offence to non-Christian pupils.

Instead he planned to organise an evening of song in January, transforming the event into a winter concert rather than a celebration of Christmas.

But the move provoked anger among parents of pupils at the school, riled politicians of all stripes and prompted calls for intervention by the education minister.

Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister and leader of the Democratic Party, expressed indignation that political correctness had been allowed to get in the way of such an important part of Italian culture.

“Discussion and dialogue does not mean to say we can drown our identity for the sake of a vague and insipid form of political correctness,” he told Corriere della Sera. “Italians, both non-religious and Christians, will never give up Christmas.”

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