Please support Myatt Garden's playground raffle

Reader Susan has sent this request on behalf of Myatt Garden school, Rokeby Road, which is seeking donations for a raffle in aid of a new slide in the school playground. They're hoping that local businesses will donate some prizes for the competition, which last year sold 3,000 tickets.

If you can help, please send your donation to Sam Davies, Myatt Garden School PTA, Rokeby Road, London SE4 1DF. Alternatively please call Sam on 020 86910611 or Tracy Strickland on 020 8469 8600 to arrange collection.

No word yet on whether BrocSoc will seek a legal injunction against the slide.


Anonymous said...

Stick a couple of Grecian columns each side and they'll back it

Robert said...

That was a cheap shot!

Anonymous said...

Cant they get the old one that used to be up Hilly Field's ?

Anonymous said...

Sadly not - doesn't pass health and safety regs any more, I believe - even though no child has ever been injured on it in 30 years as far as anyone is aware, it is deemed too high and dangerous.

Anonymous said...

God what a nanny state we are.

Brockley Nick said...

Please don't get nostalgic over a slide. Even as a five year old, i remember thinking slides like that were a bit dangerous and not very slidey.

Yes, safety standards have changed. Kids used to ride around in the back seats of cars without seatbelts. Now it's against the law. Sensible stuff.

Anonymous said...

I think Its the American claim for any Injury syndrome.

Tressilliana said...

My son got his head stuck between the rails on that slide when he was about two. Could have been very nasty as he was starting to panic but fortunately I noticed his plight and another mother greased his neck with a bit of bread and butter and that enabled me to ease him out without any ill effects. I'm not sorry to see the back of the slide.

Anonymous said...

My mum was in that playground permanently every day employed by the Council, own hut et all.Many many moons ago though.

Anonymous said...

If anyone gets their head stuck between railings the trick is to turn them upside down so their head exits the railings the same way it went in: ears flat against the side of the head.

VAL said...

Myatt Garden has many opportunities to utilise the skills of many of the parents whose children attend the school.

Unfortunately, time and time again, the school fails to pick up on offers made by some parents. Why?

On one occasion alone an opera and classical music fund-raising gala was suggested - and, as usual, was ignored. Instead its bingo, and African-American rap music, both of which fail to raise the needed funds, though the latter does dominate disco nights in what is supposed to be a multicultural school. (French, German, Serbian, Indian, Chinese, etc, and, yes, Jamican and African too. However, the last disco presenters sold their album to kids, one title of which was 'All I wanna do is sex an' violence'? The head said. 'That's what's out there these days.')

What is needed is a change in direction that is ALL inclusive, and that means to any classes and nationalities who attend. Then the funds will come.

Susan said...

that's interesting VAL.
I will mention that at the next PTA meeting, which BTW, is this Tuesday at 7. Can you make it?

My children attend Myatt and I am very happy with their education.
In my experience, the head mistress has never been dismissive of my concerns. But that's only my experience.

The PTA, however, is struggling.
The same three to four parents attend the meetings and only a few more help at the events. So I'm not sure which parents you know that are offering their skills and being turned away.

It is a struggle to get people to help at these events, and so I think, the same events are used because they work and raise money.
I would be somewhat reluctant to take on a new event if I knew that very little help would be on offer.

To be fair, music played at the disco is not just 'African American rap' music. It's today's top 40, which has always been played at every disco throughout the short history of school disco's. I agree that the music is rubbish, but it IS what the kids are listening to these days.
This years International Night event had a DJ playing a wonderful mix of music from all over the world.

There will be a change next year as the head of the PTA is stepping down. So far, no one has come forward to take up the helm.
Maybe you know someone who will?

And thanks to Nick for putting this up. I do hope some businesses out there will donate to our wonderful school.

Blue sky said...

Haha, great post, Susan. You manage to be very cutting while remaining faultlessly polite!

Anonymous said...

Would there be enough Iterest in a Opera and Classical music Gala,maybe put out a few feelers first see If theres any Interest.
Would be sad If all the hard work was put in for no return.

Tamsin said...

@ VAL - but suggesting ideas to hard-worked volunteers is not enough. To take your case in point - an opera and classical music fundraising gala would undoubtedly have been great but, unless the person making the suggestion was also willing to put some time and effort into it, it simply would not happen. Unfair to expect others to take on an notion in unfamiliar territory and run with it.

It's what happens with the Telegraph Hill Society and even more so the Festival. People come forward saying "you should do this" or even, slightly more friendly, "it would be great if such and such could happen" but in organisations that function through unpaid and busy volunteers nothing is going to happen unless it is driven forward by someone with the skills, contacts and enthusiasm.

No point in telling the few stalwarts on the PTA that they should do an opera music gala if what they know how to do is bingo and African-rap. Where would they even start? So people should not get huffy if their ideas are not put into action unless their offers of actual hands on, fully involved willingness to turn them into reality are also turned down.

VAL said...

Susan. It is NOT what the kids are listening to 'these days' - an infuriating Myatt standard - but what SOME of the kids are listening to.

The head's response: 'That's what's out there these days.' Well, there's more 'out there'...

Children should be exposed to music beyond the current Top 40.

"The PTA, however, is struggling.
The same three to four parents attend the meetings and only a few more help at the events."

The question you should surely ask is why, with hundreds of children in attendance, should only three to four parents attend the meetings? Why are so many parents either unable or reluctant to get involved?

And neither do I understand why you say that you are very happy with your childrens' education as if I have made a statement to the contrary: funding, opera and rap were my gripes.

Oh, and of course the belief that many parents feel that they are not listened to - unless it's via the PTA. Which is, I agree, unrepresentative due to its number. (Perhaps too the head listens to you because you are a member of the PTA in addition to being a parent. If so, that only serves to prove the point that there is a lack of co-operation directly with parents by the school and that the PTA is a convenient buffer against criticism.)

Without decrying the work and hours put in by the three/four people you mention, all is not well at Elsinore.

@Tamsin. The parents who made the offer were fully capable of delivering on their offer (alone). They needed no input from the school's head/PTA other than a willingness to show an interest in something that kids do not often get the opportunity to listen to. (No interest was shown. This may have been before Susan's tenure of course. Or perhaps the unapproachable head was approached direcly and then guided the parent, as per usual, towards the PTA.

Not everyone I think we realise and as is demonstrated wants to pursue matters with the PTA. So, presumably, as the individuals who made the offer would have indeed been 'hands on' and capable of delivery you can allow for them to get a little 'huffy', as you say. (But in this instance they just backed off.)

Tamsin said...

In that case fully entitled to get huffy - I was only going on what you said in the post - that they "suggested" it, not that they had offered to arrange and run the whole event, doing all the work, just under the aegis of the PTA.

In that case, foolish indeed that such an offer was turned down.

But nowt to do with me so apologies for interfering.

Brockley Nick said...

VAL - if people don't feel the PTA is representative but they don't put themselves forward, then they only have themselves to blame. The school has been proactive in trying to recruit new intake.

Anonymous said...

OK... I've got memories of the school disco thing at school 25ish years ago (!!). The idea that I would have given up my own time to meet my mates at the school opera would not have appealed.

Susan said...

Again Val, thanks for your comments.
Can I ask, do you have children at Myatt? You seem to have a keen interest and would be perfect to help out and offer suggestions.

I think you will find that most school discos are playing top 40 music, it isn't just Myatt.
I used to be a DJ and would love to play house music all night long, but I'm afraid I'd be bombarded with requests for Beyonce and Girls Aloud and even the dreaded 'African American Rap' music. And as a house DJ I would be unable, and unwilling, to fulfill those requests.
I agree that there are children who listen to more than top 40 (my children included thank GOD) but
it IS a disco, so I think popular dance music is required.

Also, I doubt the head takes my concerns any more seriously than other parents because I am on the PTA (although, just having a child in school puts you on the PTA. Whether you take time to get involved is your decision).
I think it's sad that you are trying to perpetuate that myth.

Surely if someone is able to provide an experience for their children and the others at the school, instead of backing off when guided to the PTA, they would work together?

But it is unfortunate, especially for the children, that there are those unwilling to pursue matters with the PTA, since that is typically the first point of access for these extra events that the school provide.

What Tamsin had to say was spot on.
There are people in all sorts of areas where someone offers their suggestions and advice yet very often does not help make it come to fruition and then yells foul when it doesn't happen.
I cannot say what Val's friends experiences were.
All I know is that there is a small group of lovely, dedicated parents trying very hard to bring positive experiences to the children and they very often go unsupported.

I would hope that people see schools as constantly changing. Every year there are new opportunities and new chances.
It's a good thing in life to focus on making those positive.

VAL said...

Susan, you still don't say why it is that many parents do not get involved over the few that do? (Neither does Nick, and I'm certain I read somewhere here that he too is a parent with kids there? Like me!)

So why do so few get directly involved?

I'll spell it out. And it's not simply my own opinion but the opinion of the many. B-e-c-a-u-s-e some on the PTA (not all) are b-u-l-l--i-e-s.

And, Nick, I did not say that I did NOT get involved. Like many, I do, but not with the PTA. (Do you get involved? If not, why not? Perhaps your reason too is the reasons of the many.)

Brockley Nick said...

Val - I am perfectly happy with the school, that's why.

Brockley Nick said...

PS - when I saw the letter home the other day, asking for people to come forward, I thought that it's something I might put myself forward for in the future.

Susan said...

Wow, Val, thanks for spelling it out for me.

Maybe your experience is that some people are bullies. That hasn't been mine.
Although the way you just spoke to me was incredibly rude and childish that perhaps it isn't those 'some people' that have the problem.

I'd like to think I'm one of the (not all) you are referring to, but I don't think we know each other so you wouldn't have a clue if I were.
I'm just someone who cares deeply for her children and the wider community we live in and I will do what I can to help them. The PTA gives me a chance to get involved in a way that I might not be able to.
No, I'm not best friends with everyone on the PTA, but I am more concerned with what good I can do for the school than my own ego, and so I overlook certain things.

I didn't answer your question because I just didn't think you really cared what my answer would be and would rip it apart regardless.
But, I tend to think that most people would like to get involved but have time constraints or are afraid that if they volunteer for one thing, they'll get roped in for everything.
The PTA just isn't for some people, and some people believe that we are all a bunch of sharp elbowed power hungry freak-oe bullies (waving my freak-oe flag!).
But at least we are doing something.

So I guess you won't be at the meeting tonight then? :)

Nick you would be a great addition. Any help at all would be wonderful. It doesn't take much.

VAL said...

Susan... I won't be there. But neither will many of the dipossessed egos you speak of.

Just keep asking 'why'.

And as for not knowing you? Well, let's see now... there are three/four persons on the PTA.

In your words though; "The PTA just isn't for some people, and some people believe that we are all a bunch of sharp elbowed power hungry freak-oe bullies (waving my freak-oe flag!)."

Yes, that about sums it up. I'll leave continued commentary and delusions to you.

Susan said...

Actually, I take offense at the bully remark.
It's so dismissive of all the good these parents have done for your children.
HOW do you get involved?
How have you affected the school as a whole?
Do you give up hours of your time and energy so the kids can have a nice trip out or a better playground?

Are you the first to complain that the bank is a mess but the last to help make it better and obviously not gracious enough to thank those who helped raise the money to fix it?

Maybe some members ARE loud and pushy.
But the bottom line is that they care about the school and the kids and are trying to make a difference by giving up their time and energy to make a difference for your child.

It seems that all you want to do is rubbish them.
What a shame.

And that's all I have to say on that.

Osh said...

What a shame VAL has turned this simple little story in to such a drama.

Blue sky said...

If VAL thinks the PTA is full of bullies, it seems she would be an ideal new recruit so I'm not sure why she's making such a fuss. Honestly, how someone can be so vitriolic about something so harmless and indeed so useful and necessary, I don't know. VAL, are you very insecure?

Tamsin said...

Well, as an outsider and going on just what is on the thread here, she seems to have completely wrong-footed herself.

Not liking the current set up, but refusing to go in - when specifically invited to do so - and remould it into something more to her liking.

maxink said...

Not drama, Opera!
I can quite see this whole thread in music performed by classical singers.

trixie said...

eeek! DRAMA!! about the PTA? seriously? When I was at Myatt, Agadoo was still being played at discos - not ironically :(, and we would have loved a bit of 'African American Rap'! (what is that btw? does this mean that VAL loves a bit of Eminem or Vanilla Ice?)
VAL, maybe you could think about becoming a parent governor? or will you find a long winded reason why that isn't possible either? ;)

Daniel R said...

African American Rap? (is this a new genre?)
Trixie - spot on.

Susan - Well fielded, clearly your calm and gracious responses led this misguided and closeted individual to now bless us with their undignified silence.

I have two children at Myatt Garden and I have met the PTA members - Bullies they are not. Hard working and committed they are which is the main reason they are so few in number. I actually joined the PTA and could not commit to the time, so the ladies and gentlemen that do have my full support, respect and most of all thanks.

I would guess there are some 50 plus nationalities at Myatt garden at least - believe me my children alone contain 4!
Is Val suggesting that we have 1 song from each culture so each minority feels represented? Would the children enjoy that? Methinks not.

Val you could learn a lot from children - they spend most of their time celebrating their similarities and less time marginalising themselves on their differences.

Gina said...

It is unfortunate that I feel the need to add to this blog today.
I am one of the regular members of the current PTA, and I would like to take this opportunity to invite any Myatt Garden Parents who feel unwelcome and hindered by the PTA to come forward and meet with me. I am at the school drop off and pick up most days. If you do not know me, please ask Trish in the office to reach me.
I am not unapproachable and would rather spend time talking with an unhappy parent than continue to be made aware of the ongoing topics regarding the PTA on this blog.
I will not make any IDs known to others and all meetings will be kept private.
Thank you

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