Saturday, 27 February 2010

Images of children

Whoa! I said to myself. The consultation document for the proposed closure of City of Leeds School, full front page picture of a child, plainly not in City of Leeds Uniform [ which is black top, white logo, or the reverse]. This child has a striped open top [no tie] shirt. Is this child still extant in the Leeds school system? When they, or their parents/carers agreed to allow their pictures to be used by Education Leeds do you think they expected to be the pin-up photo for the closure of one of their friend's schools? I doubt it!

Whoa! I said again, the following day, having finally been allowed in to the Primrose School consultation meeting. [PFI schools, you regularly get locked out]. Here's another child, plainly not in the uniform of the threatened school as pin up. I wonder, I thought again, if they knew that they were to be the face of oppression.

City of Leeds School's pin up child was a white boy; Primrose's was a black boy. Imagine my lack of surprise, attending the "consultation" meeting at Parklands School to find a mixed-race girl fronting the face of their document. Shame they weren't trying to close four schools at the same time. Then we could have had an Asian girl there to complete the set!

Now, a few years ago I gave my permission for my two youngest children, then at City of Leeds School, to be photographed and their images used for educational/publicity purposes [websites, calendars that sort of thing]. Royal Park Primary School was closed during this time. You can imagine how I, or my partner might have felt if either of our children had had their face on a consultation document which set out the annihilation of their former and formative school.

When I enter my steelbands for the National Festival for Music For Youth, our parents have to sign an image using agreement policy, which specifies the sort of events that they might publicise, and the Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows have featured in quite a few national magazines and websites, where they have been shown simply to be successful musicians. And they were proud, and they were pleased to be there.

What I am wondering is, where are the morals behind using what appear to be Mount St Mary's RC High School's pupils as the images to support the threatened closure of two of their neighbouring schools.

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