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As a parent of two children attending Pentrepoeth Primary, I welcome the opportunity to support the excellent work of the school. One of our most important roles as parents is to support the education of our children. I am generally pleased with my children’s education although some areas of the school curriculum, and other school issues, have room for improvement.
One area that needs attention is the provision of physical education which, in the early years of a child’s development, is essential in developing an appreciable attitude towards fitness and sport. The Welsh Assembly government recommends a “minimum of two hours a week of physical education” [emphasis added] for primary school pupils. A Sports Council for Wales Survey 2006-07 found that the average time spent by primary school pupils on PE/sports was 96 minutes per week, well below the two hour recommendation.
In the role of a Parent Governor I would seek to work proactively with the Board of Governors to improve this vital aspect of our children’s educational needs. My work is in the area of publishing, research and project management, and this experience would make a positive contribution to how we, as parents, understand the provision of physical education at the school and what we need to do to influence and improve it.
Another area that is in need of improvement is the manner in which the school deals with charity raising. In the winter, the “Operation Christmas Child” shoebox appeal is held. The appeal is run by a U.S. right-wing evangelical organisation called Samaritan’s Purse. It is headed by Franklin Graham who has described Islam as "a very wicked and evil religion" and refers to Hindus as being "bound by Satan's power." He receives $1.2 million a year as head of this organization and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Billy Graham, his father, has had links to the Ku Klux Klan. Samaritan’s Purse was involved in distributing translated Bibles in Iraq and Afghanistan The school does not communicate effectively to parents the nature of this so-called charity’s work. On their website, their objective is “to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children… [and] share the Good News of Jesus Christ.” This is done by placing fundamentalist literature inside or attached to the shoeboxes and using it to preach and convert vulnerable young people their extremist brand of Christianity.
Organisations such as the fire service in South Wales, many individual schools, and the Co-operative Society have withdrawn their support from the project. The Co-op spokesperson said “had we been aware of his [Franklin Graham] views in advance, we would not have participated in Operation Christmas Child...” The Charity Commission has said of Samaritan’s Purse, "We are concerned about the way the charity might be representing itself, both in its fundraising and recruitment of volunteers."
I do not think that the school should be involved with such a controversial charity and I hope that it will support a respectable and responsible charity, such as Save the Children. The Board of Governors has been made fully aware of these concerns.
The Guardian, amongst others, has reported on Samaritan’s Purse and there have been many online discussions on forums such as Mumsnet. I have researched the charity myself and I am publishing some of my findings on Pentrepoeth Primary Parents’ Forum at http://pentrepoeth.forumotion.net/. On this forum I also hope to discuss the issues that I have raised and I invite all parents of children at the school to do so.
- Posts: 22
Join date: 2010-01-18
Please note that this first version was edited following its rejection by the relevant council office. The final version, which is almost identical, may be seen here:
- Posts: 22
Join date: 2010-01-18
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