READERS’ LETTERS: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, November 18

Readers' letters
Readers' letters

A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, November 18

MP SHOULD MAKE CLEAR HER POSITION ON GRAMMAR SCHOOLS

In light of the excellent letter from the Suffolk County Council Labour Group (“We will oppose grammar schools”, Bury Free Press, November 1), it is time for Jo Churchill, our local MP, to stand up and make her position clear.

For example, does she stand with her colleague Nicky Morgan, the former Conservative Secretary of State for Education, in branding the current government’s obsession with grammar schools a ‘distraction from crucial reforms to raise standards’?

Most parents want a good local school with fair admissions and a balanced intake. All the international evidence suggests that high quality all-ability schools with balanced intakes are the best way of ensuring that every child receives a first-rate education. Does our local MP endorse this principle of comprehensive education?

As a teacher in a primary school in Bury St Edmunds during the 1960s, the inefficiency and divisiveness of the 11plus exam was heart-breaking.

Like many teachers I heaved a huge sigh of relief when West Suffolk went comprehensive in the early 1970s. No longer were children to be subject to the erroneous belief that intelligence, ability and human potential are rigidly fixed and unaffected by family income, parental support or varying stages of educational development.

Does our local MP wish to return to a system where most children are stigmatised as ‘failures’ at age 11?

We don’t yet have a fully comprehensive school system in England. Around 20 per cent of English primary children face entry tests on ability to move on to secondary school. Selection still exists in a quarter of English local authority areas. This is a disgraceful state of affairs. We should be getting rid of all grammar schools not extending them.

Let’s hope that our local MP, who represents a constituency where schools have been successfully comprehensive for over 40 years, will advise the Prime Minister that she is misguided in her attempt to re-introduce an irrelevant and divisive system of selective education here and elsewhere in the country.

-- Christopher Bornett, East Close, Bury St Edmunds

THE APEX IS A VENUE TO BE PROUD OF

On behalf of Southgate Church, for the past three years, I have organised a fund-raising concert at The Apex for the local charity, Chaplain in the Workplace.

The latest one took place last week with Lou Fellingham and her band.

All have been successful both musically and financially. The artists have all bowled over by the quality of the venue and also the helpfulness and co-operation of the staff in making the events truly memorable.

Nick Wells and his team are to be congratulated on the quality of the service they provide. We in Bury should be justly proud of having such a splendid facility on our doorsteps.

The Apex offers a wonderfully wide mix of programmes providing for all tastes at a reasonable price.

I would make one plea to our local authority – in your necessary objective of making this fine venue more financially viable, please do not make it any more difficult for small local charities to use it for staging shows and generating income for their causes.

-- Bob Jones, Southgate Church

TWO GREAT LOCAL MUSICAL SHOWS

Can I take this opportunity to pass on my appreciation and congratulations to both the Irving Stage Company and the Bury St Edmunds Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society for their recent excellent productions of, respectively, 9-5 The Misucal and Grease.

Both were very professional and great fun – well done.

-- Jackie Chubb, Rede