I support the City of Leeds School’s brave stand in declaring so publicly that its students need extra lessons in English as an Additional Language.
Head teacher Georgie Sale points out correctly that even four years in the UK is not long enough to have acquired enough academic English to get the exam grades that reflect any child’s natural ability.
However, as a previous long-serving and ultimately ousted governor, I know that this is a long held view; that attention has always been given to EAL, and that, despite our children not getting the grades that would keep Ed Balls and now Michael Gove off our backs, we went on passing inspections, with the EAL d honourable mention in the dispatches.
Two years ago we gained School of Sanctuary status - the first UK high school to do so. What an honour!
And how would anyone like to be remembered as the teacher, the support assistant, the school that supported you in your darkest hours as well as your best, or the robot following orders in the exam factory?
Sadly, I see that the IEB (Interim Executive Board) has applied for academy status. This will not, in any way, improve the overall average grades.
The school will continue to languish quite unfairly in the eyes of the Government, the media and the local public.
Worse, all the emphasis on EAL will inevitably be directed to improving average grades; and inevitably away from offering the individual children the sanctuary and personal support that any school should be offering as well.
However, until we get a government that has an Education Secretary who genuinely understands David Blunkett’s old slogan that “Every Child Matters”, children will be forced down inappropriate routes that only serve in the pointless competition that is pitting one country’s educational system against another.
And we won’t get this government unless we as citizens stand up for ourselves and we as teachers, stand up for our charges.
Victoria Jaquiss FRSA, (teacher, writer, ex-governor, local resident), by email
Thatcher was not privileged
I WOULD like to write in defence of Malcolm Nicholson after seeing the tirade of abuse aimed at him (YEP, April 17).
Martin Philips goes on about Mrs Thatcher and privileged backgrounds.
She was the daughter of a shopkeeper, who got to lead the country through passing her 11 plus and going to grammar school.
It was the best route for underprivileged children to get on and increase social mobility.
Who removed this route to university and a leap up the social ladder? Richard Crossman in Harold Wilson’s Government of ex-grammar school boys and girls!
Malcolm Nicholson tells you as it is and these excuse makers for Labour do not like it.
Who got us into two illegal wars, Labour? Who opened our doors in a deliberate attempt to change our culture and keep a Labour majority, whilst denying our young people jobs? Labour.
Who fiddled the figures relating to the Health Service and covered up scandals like Mid Staffs? Labour’s Andy Burnham. Who squandered our money on wars, PFI contracts, thus putting this country into crippling debt for 30 or 40 years, before the banking crisis?
Gormless Brown and his two little helpers, Ed Miliband and the current ‘joker’ Ed Balls.
The list is endless and yet these sheep will still keep banging the Labour drum. Amazing!
Keep up the good work, Malcolm. Labour should never be allowed to forget their cataclysmic times in office.
B Duffy, by email
Let’s keep our way of talking
DURING MY time in this ‘mortal coil’ I’ve heard of and read a lot of rubbish.
More of the same is when I am told that the PC Brigade is putting its spoke (no pun intended) into the way we, of the White Rose County, should address our French neighbours, over here to support the Tour de France.
Without going into detail it appears that they expect us to be something other than what we are; down to earth and forthright Yorkshire folk.
To say that this august body named ‘Tour Makers’ expects us to cut out words such as “love” and other forms of local address is beyond comprehension, no matter how they may put it.
I’m sure that our friends from across the Channel are able to accept us for what we are, as they do us when we travel in La Belle France.