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Young are ill-served by those at the top
11:48am Thursday 7th March 2013 in Letters
IN Andover, youth are not on the agenda. Those with the power to ruffle up a few feathers do nothing.
It is about direction, not funds.
Schools have jumbled objectives.
Primary schools have been officially criticised for not providing sport, and swimming especially is a joke.
I told this to the governing body at my local primary school years ago, but they were ineffectual – hardly any swimming in three years, and children constantly denied playtime and activities.
Sports tournaments were relegated to a tool for pushing reluctant ones to exercise while athletic children were left out.
Opportunities for physical challenges are sporadic at school.
It is first come, first served, and places are limited at the secondary school.
When faced with the knowledge that the trip to Calshot Activity Centre was only available to 48 children and that my child wasn’t one of the lucky ones, I discovered that eight more places could have been booked but the school refused, saying: “We cannot increase our number...as that would mean six members of staff would be out of school, pushing up costs”, and from the local MP Sir George Young I got a pathetic: “…hope that we can now move forward”.
Kayaking and wind-surfing are luxuries, but such activities help children to test themselves and gel with their peers – most children love being part of a group. School is an organised base which can be used to launch positive attitudes in children – or not. Chances to learn life skills are minimal rather than maximal.
A woodwork course keeps getting cancelled. Why? No staff. I asked why the schools don’t link up with the engineering companies in the area to give young people a real idea about work and start learning practical skills from a younger age. No response.
No discussion from schools or Government about increasing our skills base.
I see schools waffling on about how far up the league table they are. Schools are not football teams – they are public places where we send are children to grow into useful and more wholesome people with good values. Yet the Government (local and national) sits on the fence about youth issues.
In Andover there are youth groups funded by charities – Christians doing good work.
There needs to be more diversity of facilities.
There are lots of good things going on for the young too like FairPlay, school skiing trips, The Lights and the leisure centre, youth football etc, but overall they are like happy little bubbles in a sea of mismanagement in my view.
My sons now see the new Mcdonalds as the Mecca for meeting friends.
Amanda Squires Thruxton