The principal feature of the emergence of the GOT Schools’ Project is that its purpose emanated from the community – to answer the needs of that community to counter the rising tide of extreme thoughts and feelings, both in the Black and White population, and to promote tolerance, understanding and respect for all. Community cohesion in all but name.
The Project would not have succeeded in arriving thus far however were it not for the early embrace of the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales, Saleem Kidwai OBE, and the financial support of Welsh Assembly Government to trial the programme in three Cardiff secondary schools in the autumn term 2008:
Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales High School, Cardiff High School and Cathays High School.
The directors wish to underline their appreciation of the three headteachers who endorsed the trial – Rev. C. Hollowood, Mr. M. Griffiths and Mr. R. Phillips respectively - and whose belief in the programme’s potential provided the vehicle for turning dreams into reality.
The Project has since received wide-ranging endorsement:
Archbishop of Cardiff
Church in Wales
Cytûn (Churches Together in Wales)
NUT (National Union of Teachers)
Shree Swaminarayan, Hindu Temple Cardiff
South Wales Police
South Wales Jewry
The programme development has drawn upon the involvement of a wide range of experts in their respective fields – academics and scholars, among them four professors, from Cardiff University, the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales Institute Cardiff; the visiting Fulbright scholar to the UK in 2009; Angus Dunphy OBE, independent education consultant and ex-headteacher of Fitzalan High School; curriculum specialists in RE and PSE; Geraint Evans, EMAS adviser from Cardiff – now HMI in England - who provided invaluable assistance in formalising programme delivery; scholars and practitioners in the Islamic faith.
A special mention for the teachers from all three Cardiff secondary schools – and a colleague from Monmouthshire – who were instrumental in developing and delivering parts three and four of the programme. Their wholehearted commitment cannot be overstated:
Mrs Lisa James (Cardiff High School)
Mr. Andrew Jones (Caldicot High School, Monmouthsire)
Ms. E. Lloyd (Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales High School, Cardiff)
Ms. C. McRobbie (Cathays High School, Cardiff)
Finally, a special ‘thank you’ to the 300 KS3 and KS4 pupils who took part in the trial in the autumn term 2008 and later, representatives who appeared in GOT DVD 1 summer 2009. Their indomitable enthusiasm and thirst for answers to ‘issues of their time’ was a constant source of inspiration.
The Directors of the GOT 1 (Getting On Together) Project:
Barrie Phillips, ex-Head of Middle School, Fitzalan High School, Cardiff
Dr Abdalla Yassin Mohamed OBE, Director, ISSA Wales
GOT Phase 2: 2010-2012
The expansion of the GOT programme to include a wider perspective on extremism gained financial support from the Welsh Assembly Government, working through Safer Capital.
Ali Yassine – ex-Cardiff Fitzalan High School pupil and long-time film producer – passionately produced and directed the Challenging Extremism DVD which took over a year in the making. The directors wish to express their grateful thanks to the following specialist on-screen contributors who amply gave of their time and knowledge without remuneration. Names are listed in alphabetical order:
Matthew Collins, ‘HOPE not hate’
Vince Donovan, South Wales Police
Professor Martin Innes, Universities Police Science Institute
Stephen Johnson, Radio Producer
Dr Glenn Jordan, University of Glamorgan
Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1
Michael Wolkind QC
Off-screen, our thanks to the staff and students of University of Glamorgan Media Unit, without whose assistance and input the film would have remained but a hard copy script.
The specialist teacher-practitioners mentioned in Phase 1 above continued to work on developing lessons and resources without remuneration throughout 2011 and were assisted in this with inputs from Gareth Williams (Chaplain, Bishop of Llandaff Church-in-Wales High School); Lisa Skelham (Acting Director of Personal Education and careers, St Cyres school Penarth); Gemma Price, teacher of Philosophy and Religion, Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School, Barry.)
Equally, the parallel development of the 14-25 Youth Programme could not have been possible without the total commitment of Cardiff youth and community specialists, whose combined focus, knowledge and expertise generated ‘a programme for our time’.
Michael Flynn (BVSNW),
Bev Frater (Cardiff Youth Services)
Gareth Hicks (Communities First)
Steve Khaireh (SIS)
Barrie Phillips, GOT Project Director
GOT Phase 3 2012-2014
It was acknowledged early on that inherent weakness in the GOT 1 programme derived from (i) the need for in-depth knowledge of the Islamic faith to counter misinformation and/or deliberate distortions of the Islamic faith and (ii) the inability of the directors, one of whom an Islamic scholar, to visit every secondary school and college in Wales in person to deliver the programme.
To overcome this – and to facilitate delivery of the programme to an audience outside Wales – funding was secured to film the delivery of an adapted GOT 1 in 2014 which could support the teacher as an additional resource. That is, the DVD resource would impart the knowledge and develop critical thinking skills on behalf of the class teacher, who would oversee its delivery.
The programme was fortunate to secure the involvement of Shaykh Ahmed Muhammad Saad, Imam of North London Central Mosque (formerly known as Finsbury Park Mosque). Shaykh Saad was brought in to repair the damage done to the mosque's reputation when it gained notoriety after falling under the influence of extremist preacher Abu Hamza Al-Masri. (See tab ’Partners & Supporters’)