From: Fiona Lemmon, Clifton Byres, Clifton, Maltby, Rotherham.
WITH reference to the articles (The Yorkshire Post, September 3) on Post Office closures in rural areas, this is also affecting town suburbs where one would have expected there to be sufficient population to sustain a local PO.
I understand that part of the problem is that, as owners retire, and despite trying to sell on their businesses with considerable advance notice, nobody wants to buy them. My nearest Post Office, albeit a car journey or a hilly two mile walk there and two miles back (there is no public transport to it, a commodity lacking in this hamlet), closed a couple of years ago.
It was based in a local convenience store which was taken over. However, PO services are now provided at that store, the advantage being that they are available whenever the shop is open, usually 6am to 10pm.
The disadvantage is that the retail staff appear not to be PO trained and are woefully lacking in the necessary skills. I and other customers have had real problems mailing national and, in particular, international letters and packages.
Inadequate or overpaid postage, plus the absence of required paperwork, are regular mistakes made by staff who do not know whether a foreign country comes under Europe or the rest of the world.
These days I take my business to a “proper” Post Office where I can be assured of an efficient service and set the local one no greater challenge than selling me a book of postage stamps. Royal Mail special issue stamps, apart from the Christmas issue, are no longer available. Our local Co-operative stores are disappearing too but that’s another story...
Love learning, don’t fear it
From: Ian Richardson, Railway Street, Beverley.
AS a teacher with over 30 years experience and indeed as a former teaching union representative, I read your Saturday Essay by Chris McGovern with considerable interest, but also with a growing sense of irritation (The Yorkshire Post, September 3).
He argues that the new Education Secretary must be bold, unlike her predecessors who gave in and appeased the ‘blob’ of the profession. This is incredulous; it is precisely because politicians have interfered so much in the provision of education over the past generation that so little real progress has been made. The current obsession with data, testing and targets is a political construct and it has failed.
We have, in the view of most professionals, served only to develop a culture of fear, of schools, teachers and students failing to meet their targets. This fear runs through the whole system like a poison. I would suggest that nothing of real value can ever be built upon fear.
Moreover he asks us to learn from the ‘educational superstars’ of South Korea, Shanghai and Singapore.
Based on my very recent experience in a Manchester international college, students from those very countries were often uncritical and passive learners.
I would say we should look closer to home for education success stories, to Sweden, Germany and particularly to Finland, whose schools I was fortunate to work with via the admirable Comenius Project.
In Finland teaching is an elite profession which politicians work with, not against. Students are encouraged to love learning not fear it.
Tellingly, there is very little formal homework in Finish education, as their students are taught to stretch themselves.
Real progress is well worth fighting for, but it will not be delivered by constant political meddling nor indeed by those who wish to return to some illusory golden age of Latin primers, supposed rigour and grammar schools.
A new, lofty perspective
From: Rt Rev Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby.
RECENTLY, I was invited to take a flight in a glider over Selby. It gave me a panoramic view of the town. Since moving to Selby in 2015 my wife and I have met energetic and committed townspeople from all walks of life who love Selby and want to see it thrive, particularly its young.
Austerity impacts indeed, but that’s not all. This is also an aspirational town. Three cheers for Three Swans Selby!
Who paid for boozy holiday?
From: PB Austin, Ripponden.
YORK’S Joshua Strickland has been jailed for six months for being drunk on a Jet2 aircraft.
The judge says he is unemployed and on benefits and cannot pay compensation. So how can he afford to get drunk and buy a holiday in Cyprus?
From: Judith Heels, Holtby.
I READ the article about Sheffield’s average download speed of 18.36mb with interest. I live on the outskirts of York and my download speed, according to BT’s website, was 1mb today. That is good, it is usually 0.5 mb. We cannot watch anything on BBC iPlayer.
I think this is disgraceful especially as we pay the same as everyone else. I am going to see if our MP Julian Sturdy can help us.