Last year I suspected my children’s school had no plans to celebrate St George’s Day, so I decided to do something about it. The school often has “charity days” where the children wear various costumes or colours for the day, instead of their school uniform, and each child is expected to donate 50p or £1 to do so.
That money is then donated to different charities, often abroad.
Obviously as a Nationalist I am unhappy about money going abroad when there are many worthy charities at home.
I wrote to the school and explained that, although I realise that my children need to be taught about the wider world that we live in, and that they did enjoy hearing about the Chinese New Year recently, fundamentally, however, we are British and our children should be taught about our own heritage. Since St George is the Patron Saint of England, I suggested that the school mark St George’s Day.
I suggested that the children wear red and white, or St George and the dragon costumes, and that the school should donate the money raised to the charity Help For Heroes, since on St George’s Day many men and women in the North East honour our country with their service.
I was told that other plans had already been made for St George’s Day, but on arriving at the school that morning I did not see any flags waving.
I accompanied my daughter to her nursery classroom, and asked the staff what they had planned for St George’s Day. I was greeted with blank expressions. I told them of my disappointment and left.
Later, my wife picked the children up and my daughter had made me a St George’s Day card, which came with an apology from her head teacher.
To the head teacher’s credit, she had organised the three nursery classes into making flags and cards to commemorate St George.
I did not want to leave preparations until the last minute for St George’s Day 2013, so I decided to start early.
Recently, I met up with the headmaster and told him I had managed to secure a £100 donation from The English Fair Fund and I would match that donation with £100 of my own money to pay for flags and bunting for the school to be used on St George’s Days and for any other future English events.
For three months he seemed happy with my idea until last week when he informed me that the School’s Board of Governors would not allow him to accept my donation.
His reason was that they could not accept a donation with a specific condition on how it I should be spent.
That seems very unlikely –does that mean that no one in the future can donate money if they insist it is for a specific use, such as for purchasing books?
It is obvious what political views the headmaster holds, as there are several pictures of him with South Shields MP David Miliband looking happy in the main reception area at the school.
However, that did not seem to prevent him from accepting my donation initially. Personally I think he is a decent person, and the children think he is a good headmaster.
I have never hidden my political beliefs from him or anyone else. I am proud to say I have represented the British National Party in the local council elections for a few years now and I am an active BNP organiser in the area.
I wonder if the headmaster has just discovered who I am, or whether the local left wing Education Board refused the donation because they know which Party I support?
Either way, in times of austerity a school turning down a £200 donation towards equipment to celebrate our national day - which they insist they were going celebrate anyway - sounds very political to me.
I will be informing as many parents as I can and will be putting pressure on the Parent Association to take action. I would like the headmaster to keep his promise, and allow our children to celebrate St George’s Day.
In the meantime, I will be writing to ask for an explanation from the Board of Governors.
The letter attached that I wrote could be modified by anyone, and sent to our schools; maybe it could be your little way of preserving our national day.