From: A Scott, Clapham.
I WRITE regarding your recent article “Closure fears for small primary that can’t afford a headteacher”. The piece relates to plans for Clapham Primary School – a school which a highly-focused action group from within the local community is endeavouring very hard to try to save.
The principal issue facing the school is a financial one, but since North Yorkshire County Council both sets the budget and then monitors performance against it, it can, of course, manipulate the figures any way it chooses. Judge, jury and executioner.
To suggest that the school is in deficit is also misleading since an article in the village newsletter indicated that Clapham Primary was “one of the few schools in North Yorkshire which was in surplus at the year end”.
But apart from its tone, the piece also contains some observations which I would like to challenge, especially as NYCC exec Richard Flinton seems to confuse “cause” with “effect”.
For example, he states that “not a single family put it (Clapham) as first choice for their child in September”. Of course they haven’t – the school is threatened with closure!
As a parent, would you put your child forward for a school which might not exist? Likewise it is stated that the school can’t afford a headteacher. Of course it can’t, since it is having to pay over the odds for a locum temporary head given that no permanent applicants are forthcoming. As a head looking for a career move, would you apply for a job in a school which might not be there when you come to take up your post?
We know from other pieces you’ve printed that Mr Flinton has real issues with the level of government funding for rural schools. “The Government needs to wake up to the plight of rural communities, and to the costs of delivering education in sparse rural areas,” he is quoted as saying.
This makes it clear that Clapham Primary is to be closed to save money that is needed elsewhere in the system, and is nothing to do with the quality of education that its current pupils are receiving. At its last review this school was rated “outstanding” and it continues to provide an excellent education, in a friendly and co-operative setting, and with the full support of its village community. To suggest closure is in the best interests of its children, the authority is simply hiding the financial ogre behind a thin veil – a veil that we can all see right through.
Big isn’t always best, and research has shown that smaller schools can be just as beneficial as larger ones. If the school really was bad then the parents would have voted with their feet – but not one parent has withdrawn their child from the school. It provides a great environment – long may it continue to do so.
Lock them all up for longer
From: Christopher Clapham, Shipley.
MORE common sense from Shipley MP Philip Davies when he labelled plans to scrap jail terms of less than a year “stupid” after obtaining figures showing criminals jailed for six months or less have committed more than 50 previous offences on average (The Yorkshire Post, April 3).
Governments of all political parties are well out of touch with the electorate who have to suffer the consequences of their “soft” approach to prisons.
It is long since time the Government started to represent the people who elected them on this subject – “the great British silent majority” and turned prisons back into tough regimes with long sentences that act as a deterrent.
In short, the public are fed up with criminals being treated with “kid gloves” and never knowing who is on the streets day or night.
Ineos taking us a for ride
From: David Cragg-James, Stonegrave, York.
SO, following Ineos’s sponsorship less than a year ago of the seemingly innocuous “daily mile” initiative for primary schools, the plastics and fracking giant is succeeding in its takeover of cycling’s Team Sky.
Ironically this will be launched at the Tour de Yorkshire in a county greatly at risk of fracking and where the industry is hotly contending the protective clauses of the minerals and waste plan against the industry.
Unless we are alive to this, Ineos will have succeeded in its cynical bid to detoxify its brand by creating an acceptance of its everyday presence amongst us.
Does anyone doubt this link between so-called philanthropy and self interest? Be aware.
Not the only waste of money
From: DS Boyes, Leeds.
THERE are widespread concerns over Welcome to Yorkshire’s management style and use of public money, but is that the only example?
Many in West Yorkshire wonder just, how, in a supposed democratic society, a body called the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, spending millions while wielding enormous powers over our daily lives could be set up, with no public consultation and certainly no vote by the public on who runs it, serves on it and who decides on Ministerial-like salaries for managers.
A big hand for the NHS
From: Ted Radford, Water Lane, York.
IF I was an employee of the NHS, I would resent and be very demoralised by the constant criticism – especially as much of the denigration arises from exaggerated and ill-informed anecdotal evidence.
I wish to place on public record my own appreciation for the A* professional and caring service that I’ve received from the haematology and stroke units at York General Hospital together with their colleagues in X-ray.