I HAD a genuine Victor Meldrew moment when I heard that a school is banning parents from watching their children play sport unless they first pay £26 to undergo a criminal records check.
Parents at the school in Swindon must go through a vetting process which takes up to eight weeks, and entails filling in a four-page form for the Criminal Records Bureau.
Imagine trying to explain to your son or daughter that you can’t watch them at gymnastics or football, never mind drive them there, for several weeks.
Yes, children must be protected from predators but surely this doesn’t mean tarring all adults with the same mucky brush. Minors have had the ‘stranger danger’ talk at school for years and this is as important as ever, particularly in view of the five-year-old girl who went missing in Wales last week (and who, as I write, has not been found).
And yes, there are young victims who suffer at home from people they should be able to trust. When I was a teacher we had to look out for signs of abuse, and sadly I did pick up on some cases.
But I would never have encouraged my pupils to think that bogeymen and women lurked around every corner, and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted them to look at their own parents with suspicion.
Do you agree that this rule in Swindon is taking child protection too far and giving children a negative and depressing message about parent-child relationships?
Or is it me that needs a reality check?
BY THE time you read this I will have seen Argosy’s version of Calendar Girls at The Compass Theatre, which was bound to have been an improvement on the West End version that Mr F and I saw, and there is a review on page XX.
Anita Dobson shouted all her lines, having obviously decided that’s how northerners speak.
I love the play and admire the WI women who inspired it, but please – no more bare-fleshed calendars in the name of charity.
The market has definitely bottomed out.
n Contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org.