Stanwell School

First published in Penarth news

THE Stanwell School application for improved sports facilities has attracted interesting responses in newspaper correspondence and reported political discussions.

Some of the responses spring from a personal agenda, this seems to be the case with those for and against the plans. Personal agendas are not in and of themselves unacceptable, but there is a need for principles to be kept in focus as well.

Two key principles are political and educational process, which may prevail over personal agendas.

Politically government of the Senedd and Westminster are constantly/daily striving to raise consciousness of what Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson calls “the timebomb of obesity.” More sports facilities are part of the way to combat that timebomb.

Government seeks to deliver quality of life by acts of parliament. The first statement of the Children Act is “The Welfare of the child is paramount.”

Educationally, the work of the defatigueable Director of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McCollister has shown the vital importance of sporting activities. She states “Sport is not only a hugely important part of Welsh life, it also plays a crucial role in helping the Welsh government achieve its goals. It has a bearing on health, education and training, and social cohesion. We would argue that every pound spent on developing and encouraging sport has a cascading effect on the Welsh economy and community well being.

Minister for Sport and Culture John Griffiths AM has said “Involvement in sports is an integral part of young people’s lives and develops many of the fundamental skills necessary for a child to succeed.

It improves health and well being, helps with team-building, making friends and most importantly sport is fun. We are committed to widening access and encouraging greater participation in physical activity as the health benefits of making physical exercise a part of everyone’s daily life is well understood.”

One opponent correspondent (Penarth Times, June 12) tells of his sadness that the earlier application mode circa eight years ago has now reappeared. My sadness is that for eight years students have been denied the sports facilities proposed.

The personal agendas of people who have a myopic, nymbistic and self-centred understanding of what political and educational principles mean need to be revised. The need to understand that sometimes a price has to be paid for the greater good.

Recently I attended the School Awards Ceremony, its success deserves every praise. Some years ago the school took as its mission statement “learning to excel.” It is greatly to the credit of the staff that they have so faithfully delivered that statement for their students.

The opponents of the school whether politically or educationally should be thankful to the school.

Firstly its success has greatly enhanced the value of their houses. If you don’t understand this point consult the local estate agents. Secondly the schools excellent ordering of discipline and good manners among its students is of great value to the neighbourhood. I you don’t understand this point let me take you to an area where you will soon find out.

I am greatly thankful to the staff and governors of the school for their commitment to keeping the school as a community place where people “learn to excel.” Be encouraged by one of the great statements made by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson . . “When things don’t go your way – don’t give up just try harder.”

Max Scott-Cook (Mr)

Salop Street

Penarth

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