YEP Says, December 11: Challenges remain to give city’s children a first class education

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...and courage of pair who took on armed thug

A LOT is happening in the field of education. Probably too much in fact.

While it is absolutely right to strive for higher standards, there is so much chopping and changing going on that teachers, schools and pupils don’t know whether they’re coming or going.

Michael Gove’s reforms during his ill-fated stint as Education Secretary alienated teachers and left morale at rock bottom. And where he ruled out bringing back grammar schools, his successor Nicky Morgan is set to give the go ahead to the first new one for 50 years.

If standards are to improve and children are to achieve their full potential then consistency is key. But the worry is that educational policy changes on the whim of whoever is in office at the time.

Set against this backdrop, Leeds schools deserve credit for the fact that parents in the city are more likely to be able to send their child to a good primary and secondary school than in most areas of Yorkshire.

Latest figures show that Leeds is ranked third and fifth out of 15 authorities in terms of primary and secondary education.

The bad news is that Yorkshire itself sits rock bottom in the national league table and has done for some time, while standards across a city like Leeds vary wildly. Both issues need to be urgently addressed.

Time will tell if the latest school reforms make that difficult task any easier.

Courage of pair who tackled armed thug

WE would all hope that someone would come to our aid in the way Bernard Ryan and Jannae Bezundenhoug did when a 94-year-old widow was subjected to a shameful robbery in her own home.

Quite rightly, the pair were praised in court after a judge heard how they rushed to help when thug Phillip Gaskell targted the frail pensioner’s home.

The gun he was wielding turned out to be fake – but neither Jannae, the woman’s carer, or Bernard, her neighbour, knew that at the time.

Crucially, their intervention meant Gaskell was caught and has now been sentenced to 12 years in jail.

While he’s a zero, Bernard and Jannae are genuine heroes.