YEP Letters: April 6

'Mini Oscars' Golden Owls Awards
'Mini Oscars' Golden Owls Awards
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Check out today’s YEP letters

An array of filmmaking talent

Peter Mills, Leeds 8

I’m writing in praise and support of the Leeds Young Film Festival which ran in the last week of March.

In a period where it seems everything is being cut and provision for creativity stripped back to the bone it seemed to me near-miraculous that such a range of activities and presentations could be mounted, many of them free of charge. It also made use of some of the great spaces of the city - the Town Hall, the Carriageworks, the Hyde Park, the libraries - getting young people into them and used to being there, hopefully forming the habit of film and concert going in the process. It culminated in the Golden Owls event in the Town Hall, where a quite amazing array of young filmmaking talent was on display.

My hat is tipped to the organisers of the Leeds Young Film Festival and to the council for ensuring that events of this value are not lost to the young filmmakers or indeed the city of Leeds.

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What has happened to childhood?

E Smith, Cookridge

I am dismayed that four-year-olds are to be tested upon starting school.

These are precious years and pass all too quickly. They should be a time when children are free to acquire a joy of learning whilst settling into school life.

A while ago my grandson told me he had 36 spellings to learn for a test to enable him to move on to the next level.

Again over the holidays he has to learn a further 36 spellings in preparation for another test.

I pity these poor children and their teachers who have to implement this tough regime on children who are hardly out of babyhood.

Our teachers are well trained professionals who should be allowed to nurture our youngsters in a happy and care free environment.

What effect does this have on children who do not reach the required level? Are they to be left with a feeling of failure at five years old?

I asked my grandson what he liked best at school his reply was: “Fridays because we are allowed to play”. This filled me with despair; he is five years old.

Now the ridiculous plan to turn all Primary Schools into academies.

It is not academies which raise standards. It is the leadership of a good head teacher, happy well trained teachers, supportive parents, and a stress free learning environment for our children.

Any wonder so many youngsters are suffering from depression and mental health issues. What has happened to childhood?

Please support our overworked and stressed teachers. Let them teach without the constraints of testing and targets.

Teacher recruitment is in crisis with 83 per cent of teachers considering quitting the profession.

This can only adversely affect children’s education and something must be done now before our education system is damaged beyond repair.

Please don’t drop rubbish

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s Executive member for Environmental Protection and Community Safety

I was very interested to read the letter from S Thornton about litter in Morley.

This isn’t the first letter on this subject to have graced these pages in recent months and I am happy to give the same answer that I gave a few weeks ago: roads and footpaths outside of the town centre are scheduled to be swept at least once every eight weeks.

However, I also want to repeat my call for people not to drop rubbish in the first place. Then the council would not have to spend time and money picking up rubbish on their behalf. Things have certainly improved massively in my lifetime, but we need to move to the point where dropping rubbish is inconceivable.

In Leeds we have seen some wonderful schemes and I very glad that we are working to sign people up to the #1pieceofrubbish campaign.

If you are looking for the next step on how to respond to rubbish, please visit http://www.1pieceofrubbish.com/.

We should take responsibility

Margaret Thompson, Otley

Whilst agreeing with S Thornton about the state of the streets, I really think that we need to stop blaming the council and start to take a bit of responsibility ourselves.

We walked through Adel Woods the other day and the streets of Cranmer Bank were disgusting - NOT just the streets but the gardens and lovely hedgerows, litter strewn and disgusting.

If everyone picked up the litter outside their own property that in itself would make a massive difference, but no, it’s always someone else’s fault, usually “the council” who have no money except what we give them!

Pick up your own litter

Pam Clough, by email

I read S Thornton’s letter with great interest.

A few years ago my husband and I took a coach trip round the USA.

On all the freeways and approach roads to towns and villages were notices which read: “This stretch of freeway (highway) is looked after by The Ladies Guild of...” or “the Cub Scouts of ..” in other words the rubbish was collected and disposed of by members of local communities.

We have become far too reliant on other people, particularly the Government and local councils to do for us what we are quite capable of doing ourselves.

There is nothing to stop anyone from collecting the rubbish around their own place and disposing of it – I do outside my house.

I am not a lover of Leeds City Council, but it must be very difficult for them to prioritise where to spend the available money (apart, of course, from the ridiculous and totally unnecessary cycle path).

I am sure that S Thornton and others would get a great deal of satisfaction in tidying up their immediate environment, if only from the “smug” factor!

Where’s the puzzle?

Alan Freeman, Bramley

G. Lancaster treats us to his views on EU membership (Your Feedback, Monday 4 April).

Personally I have yet to settle on my vote and probably won’t do unless one side at least provides a comprehensive case to support their stance. What we have actually got is some persuasive arguments from both the ‘Leave’ and ‘Stronger In’ campaigners on separate issues with little or no attempt to prove why the opposite side’s reasoning is wrong.

I was however somewhat bemused by G. Lancaster’s assertion that metrication (not really of any relevance in the ‘in/out’ debate) is a puzzle. I have seen some contributors to the YEP letters page refer to this previously in a similar way.

At 68 years of age I too am obviously well familiar with the imperial system of measurement. I also recognise what a hotch-potch it is, defined through various periods of our history.

I will continue to order a pint of bitter for no other reason than it has long since become the generic name for such a commodity.

The metric system however conforms to the numeracy system that we all use, i.e. a simple decimal method of counting in factors of 10 with all necessary sub-divisions in between. That is precisely how the metric system works.

Where is the puzzle?

Taxpayers will not benefit

Craig Sweaton, UKIP Middleton Park Ward

We keep hearing how times are hard and that difficult decisions must be made due to the cuts imposed by the Conservative government, however this doesn’t seem to extend to the council itself.

The latest idea is to spend £171,000 on 10 electric cars, which is the equivalent of over £17k each. It seems that the Labour council is more concerned with hitting the unrealistic carbon target than it is with saving money for the good of the residents of Leeds. Buying ten cars that need to be charged up using electricity that is probably generated using fossil fuels or wood pellets, still creates a carbon footprint whether it is immediately apparent or not.

Maybe they should be considering using one of the budget vehicles on the market and potentially saving as much as £90k which could be spent on ensuring that children’s services, schools or sports facilities are bolstered?

It appears that the only people to benefit from this are the council executives who will drive these cars, not the tax-payers of Leeds who will be paying for them.

YEP Letters: July 26