More letters from Bury Free Press of February 22

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A further selection of letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, February 22.

Development is uneven

As a long term resident of Thetford I am becoming increasingly concerned about the very uneven development of Thetford. Breckland council, in my opinion, is not listening to the people of Thetford. As a town councillor I attend many meetings ie residents association and council meetings, and have found that most residents of Thetford are not in favour of Breckland’s plans to do almost all the development to the area north of the town, as most of this development falls outside of the boundarys of Thetford. We the people of Thetford will get very little benefits from this development. In my opinion the village of Croxton and to a lesser degree Kilverstone will find themselves under great pressure from the overflow of people.

Ideally, development in Thetford should be more evenly balanced or the parish boundaries should be changed to incorporate this development into Thetford as we would then receive the revenue as well as the responsibilites ie schools, doctor surgeries, dentists, sports centre and libraries.

There are grave concerns about this project bringing further damage to the town centre shopping as planning permission for another out of town supermarket has been passed by Breckland . This supermarket is to be built on land that was designated for enhanced employment opportunities that would come with the dualling of the A11.

Denis Crawford

UKIP Councillor Saxon Ward Thetford.

SOR should be paused

I read with interest your article on Cllr David Nettleton’s call to pause the SOR process in the Bury area (Bury Free Press, February 15).

Having attended the Our Place meeting in West Suffolk House where the councillor made his statement, two things seem to be immediately apparent:

If the three tier pre-prep (3-9), prep (10-13), senior/public school (14-18) is good enough for the fee paying independent education sector which provides most of our MPs, judges and generals, then why is it not good enough for state schools? If it’s broken then why do the wealthy pay a fortune for such a worthless education?

Secondly, the meeting had a presentation on Raising The Bar – the county council initiative to raise the lamentable attainment of both the (mostly) two-tier and three-tier schooling in Suffolk. When quizzed by a member of the audience on the level of engagement the Raising The Bar team had had with the schools in the Bury area, they were keen to state the contacts with West Suffolk College, St Benedict’s and King Edwards Upper School and how they had actively sought their views. The presentation, given by SCC, talked about collaboration, innovation and partnership to raise standards; yet when quizzed about the involvement of County Upper School and the All-Through Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust – from what I read and from the recent GCSE results and the league tables, one of the highest performing and innovative partnerships in the Suffolk – to quote a rep from the council, they had ‘no idea’. It’s obvious they only want to hear what they want to hear and the views and ideas of those who deviate from their policy remain unheard, no matter now demonstrably successful they are. So Raising The Bar is only for those who agree with the council.

Is that Right?

D Rolph

Bury St Edmunds

- I an extremely concerned I am about the mess that is currently being made of the education of young people in Suffolk today. It depresses me to think that SOR seems to be more about the pig-headedness of councillors than what is actually best for our young people.

David Nettleton is right, it has to be paused or abandoned before more money is wasted and other good initiatives, like all-through schools, need to be seriously explored. This system enables strengths and weaknesses to be targeted and reflected in pupils’ teaching at any stage. This would seem to be a system that would be very workable with little impact on the already overstretched education budget. More importantly the expertise of teachers could be shared across the ages leading to closer co-operation between schools.

The budget for moving from a three to two-tier system is not enough to do the job properly now, so maybe this is a method for improving results that all schools will benefit from without a few schools draining the insufficient ‘pot’. The all-through system has been rolled out across the country for some time now and the models in Bury and Haverhill are not unique. All credit to County Upper and Castle Manor for seeing the potential for the education of our young people. They offer this seamless academic path, with teachers from across the four-19 age range supporting teaching and learning alike which can only benefit the young people they serve. County Upper School was the highest performing state school in Suffolk and their young people appear to have achieved a 4 per cent improvement in five GCSE A*-C including maths and English results, despite the so called ‘exam scandal’. Maybe they didn’t take their eye off the ball, perhaps they aren’t complacent but more likely, as an academy, they are free from local authority interference and the anxiety of SOR which has enabled them to get on with what schools should be about – getting the best out of their students. Parents must be so relieved to learn there are tried-and-tested schools in the Bury area prepared to put their heads above the parapet and put our young people first.

Denise Webb

Bury St Edmunds

MP was right to oppose move

I would like to congratulate David Ruffley for standing up for his views in respect of same sex marriage.

Mr Ruffley has hit the nail on the head when he points out that if the Government push through marriage for same sex couples the fall out will be huge in respect of litigation against religious denominations and individuals who do not agree with the principle of this.

Sheila Burke