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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
4th November 2010

Risky Play......
Last week I got along to the local derby. Motherwell versus Hamilton Accies at Firpark. Football I hear you say? Yes football, I was there supporting 'Show Racism the Red Card'. This organisation works with schools, colleges, educationalist and community groups including the police to challenge and try to put an end to racism in all its forms. They are running a very important conference at Hampden to support teachers to embed into the curriculum the anti-racist principles they teach. Find out more about this very valuable and important organisation here;
Sunday I was off to church for an interdenominational service of thanksgiving to celebrate 125 years of SSAFA forces help. SSAFA have a slogan which is' First in Last Out'. this charity was formed in 1885 by Major James Gildea when he appealed for funds to support soldiers, sailors and airmen injured during times of conflict. They are still going strong today and support the families of our armed forces with great humility and dignity. They have a website too so please take a look and maybe you can help them with fundraising;
The service was held in Bothwell parish church which has a history going back to 587 AD. Tradition has it that a shrine was erected on this site by Kentigern as he travelled to Wales in 587AD. find out more about this churchs' amazing history here; It has so much history that I couldn't help drifting away into my mind and imagining that maybe the Wallace or Bruce spent some time in worship at this place and maybe we are walking in their footsteps. It is worth wondering what amazing stories this place could tell if it could talk. But we will just have to leave it to our imagination. I think it is also a very pretty church so here is a wee picture for you.


This week in the parliament I eventually got to the end of stage two deliberations of the Children's Hearings Bill. I moved some very important amendments that protect young vulnerable people who need the support of the system even after they have reached the age of 16. As I said at committee a childs vulnerability does not end at the stroke of midnight on their 16th birthday. I think we have ensured that the welfare based approach intrinsic in our hearings system has been strengthened by this move. i also ensured that the new national convenor can ensure through enforcement if necessary that young people get any medical care or assessment if a hearing deems it necessary again ensuring that a holistic care plan surrounds the young person. I am very pleased with my interventions in this bill and I believe it will continue to make the hearings system one of the best in the world.
Into the chamber again this week for another stage 3, this time the Housing Scotland Bill. In this bill we ended the right to buy brought in by Mrs Thatcher in the 1980's. Alex Neil was on fine form when delivering his final speech and the bill was voted through at 5pm on Wednesday night.
Catch some of the debate here;

At lunchtime on Wednesday I took part in a question time with Play Scotland. There was a cross party panel and we all agreed that ensuring children have the ability to play and stretch their boundaries was a good thing for the development of our kids. As a mum who has taken her kids wild camping in the likes of Glencoe, i see the benefits in some risky play and how it supports development of confidence and appropriate stretching of boundaries. I did admit to teaching my boys how to climb trees, build and tidy up a camp fire and how to fend for themselves when confronted with some of the challenges nature throws up at us. But I do think that they have grown up competent and confident young people because of this type of play. One thing I did say was that we have to move away from the  'no win, no fee' blame culture and start to trust each other again. Play Scotland has a manifesto and you can see it here;
Last week I also signed the manifesto pledge for Scotland's carers and I have included a photo of me with my signed copy. I think there will be a lot of these things over the next few months.

And finally I had the opportunity to just be a parent for a time when I attended the first parents evening for my youngest son. He started high school in August in the first cohort to be taught using curriculum for excellence. I got to the 3rd teacher asking about the principles of curriculum for excellence before they realised my in-depth knowledge of the new curriculum was not just a very interested parent. Well sometimes the politics of life mix with the politics of the day now that is risky play.

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