Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Savage

It was an extraordinary act of humility that a husband of a teacher convicted of having sex with a teenage pupil recently stood by his wife on the grounds of his marriage vows; in sickness and in health ( he told waiting reporters ( he vowed to love his wife all the same. Last year, a teacher at the end of her tether brandished a gun at youths plaguing their family with noise. Once jailed, her family stood by her in spite of losing her job.

It's a pity though, that those who teach moral rights and wrongs in our communities could not find it in themselves to hail the actions of these teachers' families as `best practice' in displaying tolerance and understanding.

Millions of parents across this North-East region have learned our trade here. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in the `Creating Sustainable Communities' guidance claims that in valuing and acknowledging parents' contribution, many who are council tenants "the quality of individuals who emerge to participate is of greater importance than their representativeness of any one constituency". Reality, however, is not quite like this. Parents feel undervalued. I know of no organisation that celebrates parents' contribution to society.

At a time in history when central and local government bodies signal a desire to re-engage with the public, there is no real and meaningful chance that this will happen. I blame partnership working. My 20 years experience of volunteering, tells me that in bigger agencies working closer, small community/ minority groups, vulnerable parents and small businesses are left in a worse, not improved state.

What is required for that reason, is less interference, less meaningless rhetoric, a return to true grass roots issues that parents can, and do, take complete ownership of. One of the great attributes parents have to offer is our ability to be ourselves. Open and honest, we can see the big picture as well as being able to pick up on the small but often very important touches in life that partnership working invariably overlooks. Here are two examples. Two new (they aren't new, really) initiatives are John Prescott's office discussing Women friendly initiatives aimed at helping the opposite sex feel safer. …

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