Reader’s letters - Wednesday 12 March 2014

Education Secretary Michael Gove should consider the emphasis of the present culture on education
Education Secretary Michael Gove should consider the emphasis of the present culture on education
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Flaws of education system

I write concerning all the criticism levelled at national education by Mr Gove and company. I feel the truth is being distorted about the state of our schools.

I drive past schools and see placards displaying OFSTED excellent.

The schools I pass that have that sign up are all in middle class areas. At first glance it carries little relevance until we look further into how these schools are run. I know of one school that has scored incredible results in SATS with a large number of children attaining level 6 in Maths.

It is only when we look into how they have achieved this we can appreciate some of the cost.

The teacher sets up a system that ensures the cooperation of parents, in that homework is sent home that has never been taught in school.

This leaves the parents with stark choices, either to teach the children themselves, acquire a tutor to teach the child or let their children flounder.

In nearly all cases the third option is a non-starter, so the child goes back into the school and is given exercises in the relevant concept and is able to succeed before moving on to the next stage. I have heard of many schools that openly support such a programme.

It would seem to me enthusiasm for a subject is, and should be, the main motivational factor in any teaching methodology and it is the teacher’s prerogative to instil this into his/her pupil.

This is not happening and young pupils are being put off these subjects due to untold pressure concerning exams. Learning should be a joy.

It must be remembered exams are not in themselves indicators of any great knowledge and should only be used as a rough guideline. I think of ‘crammers’, where knowledge gained bears little meaning in the general understanding of a subject.

Contrast the middle class schools with the junior schools in downtown areas where teachers struggle to work with uncooperative parents and children whose main focus in life is survival. The school itself is a place of refuge, as well as learning.

It is also a place where teaching staff struggle to meet the curriculum demands. They do not generally achieve the results of the schools in middle class areas and are seen as failing.

Perhaps Mr Gove should consider the emphasis our present culture has on young people before he tries to improve education. It seems most young people in our land want to be celebrities or failing that, footballers.

Perhaps Mr Gove should try to replace this emphasis by dealing with all the areas that promote it.

If this should happen, then young people would develop a desire to be better educated and schools would be vibrant in all areas of his educational programme as they are in China, India and many African countries, where education is revered.

Keith D Swift, Ribbleton

Smokers in the car’s back seat

I had to chuckle to myself the other day when reading about the proposed new law to fine parents who smoke whilst driving with children on board.

It’s probably the parents that have kicked the habit and it’s the kids who are puffing away in the back seat.

Ray Edmondson, address supplied

Irony of town’s investment

There must be some irony somewhere in the fact that the centre of Blackburn is receiving £45m of investment, paid for by Prestonians and other Lancastrians, when a major factor in our £1bn Tithebarn project biting the dust was because of the small-mindedness of Blackburn’s political class.

Graham Nelson, Preston

Council warned of level crossing

The problem Network Rail is now having throughout the UK with level crossings is relevant to Bamber Bridge at this present time.

The level crossing on Brindle Road has been an increasing problem over the last ten years. Dozens of vehicles each day travel at speed on the wrong side of the road, overtaking traffic waiting for the crossing to open.

The council has stated it is going to put signs down on the road, hoping to stop this happening. There are already double white lines and drivers just cross over those to overtake. Despite the fact it is totally against the law.

South Ribble was warned of the problems with this crossing when it was considering planning permission for the housing next to the railway. Permission was given for that development, despite the fact it took up the land that could have been used to bypass the crossing with a tunnel or bridge across the rail line.

Planning permission is about to be given for hundreds of houses on Brindle Road, so increasing the dangers and inconvenience of the already grossly overloaded rail crossing, sited on a tight blind bend that increases the dangers many times over.

Network Rail has expressed a desire to close the crossing, because of the dangers.

But a South Ribble councillor stated in the LEP the council had done a survey of residents and everyone wanted the crossing left open. Where did the council do that survey? I live yards from the crossing. I, and everyone else I know living here, would like the crossing permanently closed for safety and have our lives given back with regards to the road. Let South Ribble and Network Rail carry out a survey of residents, to find out exactly what they want. Just a pity South Ribble allowed building on the best solution.

Had enough, Brindle Road Resident

Losing services on front-line

Lancashire County Council has indicated in its budget proposals it will protect front-line services. I understand learning disability services are being “off-loaded” by the council to private companies. People with complex needs will still be cared for by council staff, but people with moderate needs will face changes, as will staff members who do such an essential job.

This will mean people with learning disabilities will lose front-line services, as the carers are their point of contact.

John Pope, via email