August 18: Putting our schools back in business

From: Coun Nick Allen (Con), Bessacarr ward, Doncaster.

I WAS delighted when I read Tom Richmond’s column (The Yorkshire Post, August 15) where he argued for increased involvement and input from entrepreneurs in education policy! Mr Richmond highlighted a number of policy areas within education where this approach could help improve pupil aspirations and life chances.

Since 2010 there have been numerous examples of this approach. This thinking has been included in Conservative policy for some time and goes back to the establishment of the City Technology Colleges in 1988. More recently, since the beginning of the Academies Programme, it is still at the forefront of policy.

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For example, studio schools are a type of free school which embed entrepreneurial flair within education provision. Studio schools develop close links with businesses in various industries. Businesses support studio schools in areas such as mentoring and work placements.

University Technical Colleges are schools which are sponsored by universities. UTCs are aimed at students aged 14 to 19 and mainly offer courses which are vocational. Many large companies, collectively employing thousands of people, are involved with UTCs.

There are numerous examples of entrepreneurial involvement in schooling and I think the Conservative approach has been a sensible one. The Conservatives have sought to free school in terms of their own governance. As this has limited outside interference from local authorities, more business- orientated initiatives have been developed between school leaders in partnership with entrepreneurs.

For an excellent example of this type of involvement look no further than Yorkshire – the development of the HS2 Rail college in Doncaster was backed by businesses up, down and across the region!

Pros and cons of fracking

From: Keith Johnston, Church Street, Carlton, Barnsley.

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I REFER to the letters on fracking (The Yorkshire Post, August 15). The writers appear to be uniformly uninformed about the range of potentially disastrous problems associated with fracking.

I was in a similar state of ignorance until I read an article by Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, last week. Recognising it for the blatant and inaccurate propaganda it was, I used Google and found websites listed in the attached file which gave a completely different picture to that painted by Ms Rudd.

I am surprised that those opponents of fracking who are most at risk do not appear to have used the same source, there is no shortage of websites and as can be seen from the list they include the highly credible. One supporter of local fracking even appeared on TV claiming that if fracking posed any problems we would have heard of them from America.

The serious dangers associated with fracking, revealed by the sites listed, extend to human and animal life, and the environment.

From: Barrie Abbott, Denby Lane, Upper Denby.

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FRACKING and directional drilling is established – it is not about to start.

It is already controlled. No mining activity in the UK is self-regulated. The potential remains for many jobs, an economic boost, cheaper energy, security of supply, no energy rationing, cash for local communities, a reduction in gas imports and possibly even exports. All with no taxpayer support.

Publicity will come from activists on both sides but proceeding sensibly would be best for our children and grandchildren, and consistent with our ethos of innovation with safety.

Eulogy for beloved park

From: Nick Yates, Brighouse.

OVER the last three weeks, I have been looking after two dogs belonging to relatives on holiday. The most pleasant place to take them for walks is Wellholme Park.

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The ornamental bedding is stunning. The present spectacle is a vivid, some might say gaudy, cacophony of reds, yellows, oranges and purple. Superb! For those who like gentler hues the beds are replanted biannually so their turn will come.

Over the beck beyond a bank of mature trees and shrubs which obscures the sight and mutes the sound of any traffic, we come across the peaceful area valued by dog walkers, picnickers and children playing.

There is no dog dirt; we are responsible people in Wellholme and use the bins provided. There is little litter and I take this opportunity to thank all those people who take part in litter picks especially the local Scouts.

I sympathise with the volunteers at Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve who say they have neither been consulted nor informed about proposed changes to their site.

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The Friends of Wellholme Park, of which I am a member, have similar problems. Unfortunately the problem is endemic; local councillors have complained to me that the power of senior council officers has increased while theirs has diminished.

The Friends of Wellholme Park are working towards closer relations with the council and other groups inside and outside Calderdale.

All members of the Friends of Wellholme Park are also members of the Build a Brighter Brighouse Group (the 3Bs) so you know where to find us.

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