As a teacher and schools campaigner, I found the recent article on the Temple Learning Academy (YEP, October 2) disheartening. All the more so for its matter of fact tone.
Since a law was passed in 2011 that local councils were not allowed to open new schools, this and any new educational establishment has to be an “academy”, and thus accountable only to the Secretary of State for Education.
In vain would a parent complain to the council about their child’s school, treatment, or being sent home for wearing the wrong style of shoes.
This article also goes on to state some things which need challenging. Firstly, that schools in the trust in East Leeds were oversubscribed.
Well, over the past decade they closed and knocked down Foxwood/East Leeds, Braimwood, Agnes Stewart, Cross Green/Copperfields. So hardly a surprise that there are not enough school places.
Furthermore, these schools catered for many children from deprived areas; the effect of poverty on their educational progress condemned the schools. The schools closed but the poverty went untreated.
Schools that are already advantaged by being placed in the middle of a middle class estate have worked hard to maintain a successful image, but I would argue their staff work no harder than we did at Foxwood, but with a different clientele, set of circumstances and most of all public image.
Parents wouldn’t be desperately seeking the “best” school for their kids if rumour, Ofsted and private education company Education Leeds hadn’t taken a scythe to our Leeds primary schools.
Successive governments have created laws which encourage dissatisfaction and the pointless criss-crossing of towns everywhere in search of the best school.
Furthermore, the concept of a “through school” is not an innovative educational initiative, it’s a practical solution.
A high school which includes a primary is the only way that a local council can increase school places without privatising them. So well done to Roundhay for managing this and yet getting its primary pupils into a separate building.
A school is like a private party. Its success depends entirely on who attends, and all these levels and grades and sinister men and women in suits at the back of our classes, and the millions of our public mis-spent pounds, do nothing for the “education” of our children.
Victoria Jaquiss, Leeds
Noisy parties hit silent majority Further to previous letters, I also read with some relief that a noisy student party had resulted in action by the council and convictions for the thoughtless hosts who allowed their event to get out of hand (YEP, October 17).
There have been a number of parties within earshot of where I live in Headingley which have caused stress and loss of sleep for many people where the council has not been so persistent in defending the rights of the silent majority, so I congratulate them on the change in approach.
Those affected are not just the permanent residents, but also those students studying on courses with morning lectures, working to support their education costs, doing post-graduate taught study across the whole year, or performing the research which contributes so much to Leeds University’s good ranking.
I hope very much that the university makes it clear to the students given ASBOs that this kind of behaviour brings both universities a bad name, causes friction with all their neighbours, and will do nothing for their chances of getting decent jobs on graduating.
I also hope that other students make it clear to them that they don’t wish to be stereotyped by the bad behaviour of what is, fortunately, a small minority.
Christopher Webb, Headingley
In defence of students
COULD I please defend the non-rowdy students who are considerate and helpful?
We keep in touch with many of them, some for over 30 years for birthdays, Christmas and visits and so on
The idiot students do let the nice, decent ones down – and how many are ex-students working and still living their student days?
The simple, obvious solution is to make the owners of the buy to let properties responsible for their houses.
They are not bothered how many students are in them, as long as they get the mortgage paid from the rents and have often not seen any of them for years, leaving it to the agents.
Robert Holman, Headingley
Good and evil in cancer fight
The pledge by the Labour Party that GPs should get the results of cancer checks back within one week is excellent news for patients and society at large.
Obviously the sooner any cancer is detected the better the chances of recovery for the patient and the less we all pay for their health costs.
As in America, the money to provide this will be taken from the tobacco industry’s profits.
These companies claim they already contribute billions in taxes such as duty and VAT, but these are paid by their customers, they just pass it on.
The money to fund the evil that their products cause should be taken from their own money.
Stephen Clark, Farnley
Nursing home showed it cared
I was very surprised to read your recent article on Seacroft Grange Care Village and its criticism from the Care Quality Commission (YEP, October 16) and feel I must respond, in its defence, from personal experience.
My father, aged 94, was admitted to the Grange from St James’s Hospital at the end of June with a diagnosis of days, not weeks to live.
His accommodation – a large bedroom with en suite –was first class and he was made very comfortable.
My dad passed away some four months later than expected and during that time he received nothing but professional care from the nursing staff, the carers and domestic staff.
They were all, without exception, kind and caring to dad as they have been to mum and I since his passing
Dad was aware of what was happening to him and he repeatedly said he could not have been cared for any better, describing all the staff, in his own words, as “treasures”.
His carers spent time with him, making him smile and showed compassion at all times and we have only gratitude that dad’s last days were spent in such a lovely atmosphere.
I have no hesitation at all in recommending the Grange to anybody looking for a residential/nursing home which is run by a first class professional team.
Joan Richardson, Saxton
£40,000 for failing children
I would be very grateful if someone from Rotherham Council could explain why Joyce Thacker has been given a £40,000 pay-off as a reward for incompetence.
I trained as a registered nurse in the 1970s and if you did anything to harm a patient/client in those days you were seriously disciplined.
There were no questionable mitigating circumstances trying to make use of “context” as you get these days; there were no attempts to excuse one’s behaviour because of “stress” and one did not automatically phone a solicitor to get you compensation if you were sacked. One took responsibility for one’s failings, accepted accountability and faced the consequences.
David Cameron is tough in his talk against this kind of culture yet nothing changes.
Does anybody know the meaning of the word “accountability” any more?
Terry Maunder, Kirkstall