A university has hit back at claims that staff have been told not to use the word Christmas.

It comes after it was claimed that staff at the University of Brighton had been advised to refer to the festive break as the "winter closure period".

Staff and students produced a document advising against the use of "Christian-centric language" that could be found offensive.

A university spokesman said this document "is not an edict and is not enforced". 

He told The Argus: “This guidance was produced with our staff and students and is part of our shared commitment to making Brighton a place where everyone feels respected and valued.

"The guidance is exactly that. Words are not ‘banned’ at Brighton, and neither is Christmas – as is clear from the decorations and Christmas trees in our buildings and across our campuses.

"It is not an edict and is not enforced."

A number of newspapers reported on the nine-page document which features a table outlining "what to avoid" and language that should be used in its place.

The university said that the document was produced by a staff group along with students.

It was intended to help them understand how language can be a "fundamental part of upholding legal responsibilities and to avoid biases, slang, or expressions that discriminate against groups of people based on protected characteristics".