Swansea schoolchildren have been stopped from taking part in Inter-school matches as a result of what one parent described as ‘political correctness gone mad’. As reported by BBC Wales on Friday 24th November, following a question raised by one school govenor at one school, all matches have been cancelled.
The alledged reasons are twofold, namely that parents who transport children to and from matches (in their own time and at their own cost, incidentally) might not have adequate insurance on their cars, and secondly that any one of the parents might be a secret paedophile.
When I myself was a child at school, I was able to enjoy visits to and matches against many different schools. Parents in those far off days did not have cars, so we were transported by bus to various venues. We were able to benefit from meeting other kids, their teachers, and some of their parents who came along to watch. We saw that there were different ways of doing things, different ways of behaving, different types of schools and their occupants. We also learned lessons about being ‘good winners’ as well as how to be ‘good losers’, too. The welcome sarnies and squash afterwards were also a lesson in entertaining guests and being entertained as well. All of this was very valuable ‘social training’.
Later, when I became a teacher, (but still in the days when teachers gave as much attention to out of school activities as they did to the 9-4 lessons) and living in London, my two flatmates and I never arrived home before 6.30 pm, despite having run clubs and team practices during each lunch hour. In addition, all three of us spent all of our Saturday mornings at matches in various parts of the city. Again, cars were out of the question and everyone went on privately hired coaches, often ramshackle, but adequate.
By the time that my own son was competing for his school, teachers had changed their attitudes and it was very often only because of parent support that the children were able to partake in inter- school activities. I lost count of how many times we parents provided transport, and then stood guard at the side of a muddy pitch in the depths of winter, jokingly referring ourselves as ‘Rent-A-Crowd’.
If the schools are so paranoid about the danger to the children…. why do they not hire a bus to transport them to and from their inter school activities? Many P.T.A.s have already raised funds to provide their schools with their own mini-buses. Why not use these?
Ironically, this news was published just days before the Government announced that new funding was to be made available to assist schools to provide more out of school visits, as these are seen as extremely important in child development.