Fabian at St Matthew's Primary School
Meeting the Global Gang at St Matthew’s Primary School
On Friday 10th July, Fabian was invited to St Matthews Primary School in Chapel Allerton to speak to children who have chosen to be interested and concerned about the condition of others overseas, particularly young people in ‘third world’ countries. An eager class of Year 5 children (aged about 10 years) led by a group of their peers, members of the ‘Global Gang’, asked Fabian a series of penetrating questions on profound topics of international importance.
Fabian described his interest and passionate commitment to the aim that all children, worldwide, should have the opportunity to go to school. He linked this to his pride in being a member of the Parliamentary Sub Committee on International Development (IDC). In responding directly to questions asked by the children, Fabian covered many issues including: the evil being perpetrated by IS in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere and the work he had done with the IDC in Nepal. When asked what he would do if he were a world leader, Fabian responded by saying he would seek to achieve a fairer distribution of wealth in order to eliminate poverty and to reduce the money wasted on arms. He told children that more people in Africa die each year from wounds inflicted by guns and weapons than do from tropical disease.
Fabian spoke at some length on the progress that has been made world wide in enabling children to go to school. Currently some 56 Million children world-wide still get no schooling although this is an improvement on the situation that existed ten years ago. He also highlighted the fact that disabled children in many countries were disproportionately far more likely to be denied their schooling. Fabian also recounted how social conditions in some countries meant that children needed to work to support their family rather than attend school. A good development in many areas is the Internet which is making an amazing contribution, giving children (and adults) access to learning. Fabian also explained the contribution of UK money earmarked for International Development and the way that a near political consensus had been achieved to ensure that 0.7% of UK Gross Domestic Product should be used for this purpose.
Fabian waits for the next question from members of the Global Gang
Also visiting Class 5 that day were two teachers from Zambia whose school has a special link to St Matthew’s.
Visitors to St Matthew's from Zambia. Charity (Head Teacher) and Susan (Class Teacher) are photographed with Fabian and children from St Matthew's
Before he left, Fabian was also invited to meet younger children in Year 3 (aged about 8 years). Two classes met in one room to hear Fabian questioned on issues that concerned them including schooling for children world wide and the moral imperative of improving measures to promote education and health. One young questioner went right to the heart of the political debate asking if the rich should be taxed more to relieve the condition of the poor.
Reflecting on his visit afterwards, Fabian realised just how concerned and politically (with a small ‘p’) aware the children at St Matthew’s primary school had become in learning about the condition of children in other countries, feeling empowered and wanting to do something about what they had discovered. Fabian said, “The children I met today were amazing. Their knowledge and concern is a tribute to the way that their school has opened their eyes to conditions in other parts of the world and is encouraging them to respond. It is a testimony to the values being taught at St Matthew’s and I just wish voters in constituencies up and down the country would show similar interest, concern and determination to act.”