YP Letters: Beware the creeping rise in class sizes

Hipperholme Grammar School headteacher Jackie Griffiths.
Hipperholme Grammar School headteacher Jackie Griffiths.
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From: Jackie Griffiths, Headteacher, Hipperholme Grammar School, Halifax.

A RECENT analysis of official figures by education unions suggests that two-thirds of secondary schools in England have increased the size of their classes in the past two years.

This causes me great concern. It is really important to have small class sizes for children as the one-to-one support and feedback gives them a much greater benefit in their education.

We are fortunate at Hipperholme Grammar School to be able to cherish our small class sizes as this allows our staff to truly understand the needs of every pupil and support them in the best way for everyone.

Having fewer pupils in classrooms also allows teachers to get to know pupils on a more personal level and it brings a real sense of community to our school.

We have an average of 16 pupils per class, compared with the national average of 20.8.

Small class sizes allow teachers to nurture pupils’ talents and help them to reach their full potential.

If school class sizes continue to grow, it will become increasingly more difficult for teachers to monitor pupils’ personal progress and give them the individual attention they require.

The analysis, which looked at figures between 2014-15 and 2016-17, found that in some areas – such as York – secondary schools have had average rises of three more students per class.

If the average class size is 20, then that is almost a 25 per cent increase! It is important to note that the Department of Education has said the figures in this analysis are flawed and states that the average class sizes have seen little change since 2010.

I think it is crucial that we keep an eye on our pupils’ class sizes and ensure they are getting the support they need.

Some fought for peace

From: John Appleyard, Firthcliffe Parade, Liversedge.

WE rightly remember those who fought and died in the First World War, it was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but it didn’t. The carnage continues to this day relentlessly in parts of our world.

However we should also give a thought to those who opposed the war and there were many both British and German.

The Bradford Peace Museum recently gave an exhibition profiling the German anti-war groups who demonstrated and wrote pamphlets arguing for peace.

One of those involved was Hilde Kramer who organised a ‘down with the war, long live peace’ demonstration in Munich where 10,000 marched in protest.

Hilde spent the last years of her life living in Otley and was a vocal supporter of women’s rights.

Her friend Rosa Luxemburg was murdered with a shot to the head by the authorities in 1919. Her final words were ‘I was. I am. I will be’.

EU is death of patriotism

From: Nick Martinek, Briarlyn Road, Huddersfield.

IT is rather difficult, to put it mildly, to be a patriot of a country that ceases to exist.

The purpose of the EU is to eliminate the European nation states, accruing all significant power to itself. That’s what the EU treaties mean in the preambles instructing “ever closer union”.

So Brian Black (The Yorkshire Post, April 2) is incorrect, it is not possible to be a British patriot and an EU patriot. He must choose one or the other.

That’s because if we had remained in the EU, sooner or later, the UK – or even England – would cease to exist as a nation in its own right, completely subsumed in the developing EU empire. I am not prepared to see that happen.

Perhaps he is. Yet he is mistaken in his disdain of nationalism. The existence of the nation is critical in providing the “demos” necessary for democracy.

Driven by his confusion about patriotism, he cannot see that it is the animus to conquest, not nationalism, that causes wars. The EU’s stealthy conquest by bureaucracy is actually the problem.

Blair brought in criminals

From: Barrie Crowther, Walton, Wakefield.

TONY Blair led Labour to power in 1997 and almost immediately opened the door to uncontrolled immigration.

I fear the consequence of no robust criminal or lifestyle checks can now be seen in all our major cities with some of the acts of violent crime recently reported.

Unfortunately, at this moment, I cannot offer a solution other than that Blair should be 
brought before a court to 
explain his total disregard for 
the British people.

Move chalets to save them

From: Arthur Quarmby, Mill Moor Road, Meltham.

THE southern seafront at Scarborough is slipping down the slope and so the much-loved and colourful line of timber chalets will have to go.

However these chalets are prefabricated and could easily be taken down and stored away ready for repair and re-use, either after the movement 
stops, or on some other site elsewhere.

Perhaps, at the same time, the civic imagination could take a look at what the Welsh have done with Cardiff Castle, and plan to transform the remains of Scarborough Castle into an
equal international tourist attraction?