READERS’ LETTERS: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, September 9

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A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free press of Friday, September 9.

STEM ACADEMY WILL BENEFIT ALL

The letter from John O’Reilly, Director with The Prince’s Trust (Bury Free Press, 2 Sept), is a timely reminder that we do our young people no favours if we perpetuate an education system that tends to fail a significant minority of pupils.

Mr O’Reilly highlights that one such minority are those who attract the Pupil Premium – the government’s measure of ‘pupil disadvantage’. The All-Through Trust has always worked hard to ensure that disadvantaged pupils are not left behind. Last year, the result of this focus was that the average GCSE performance of County Upper pupils on Pupil Premium was above the national average for all pupils.

However, when it comes to moving from education to work, it isn’t just ‘disadvantaged pupils’ who struggle. The core reason the All-Through Trust is working to open Suffolk’s first 13-18 STEM Academy next September is because the classical academic style of teaching simply doesn’t work for many pupils – be they disadvantaged or not. The STEM Academy’s system of hands on learning will benefit pupils from across the ability range and regardless of the economic situation they happened to be born into.

But, perhaps even more importantly to Mr O’Reilly, is the deep involvement of leading businesses (such as ARM, AstraZenica, Bosch, British Sugar, BT, Claas UK, EDF Energy, iMed, John Innes Centre, Marshall, Microsoft, Red Gate Software, Rolls-Royce, RCTreatt, UK Power Networks and VITEC Videocom) at the very heart of the STEM Academy. From design of the curriculum through to on-going project work, the Trust and its partners, through the STEM Academy, are improving the connection between pupils and employers to the benefit of all.

-- Dr Richard Fletcher, Chairman, Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust

I’VE SEEN SEVERAL NEAR MISSES ON CROSSING

I am writing to express my concern about the pedestrian crossing near Bury Railway Station. Whoever planned to have it put there must have been drunk – I’ve seen several near misses there.

It would have been more sensible to have put it the other side of the bridge, opposite the back entrance of Tesco. I’m sure a lot of people will agree with me on this. I hope Suffolk Highways read this and do something about it before someone ogets knocked down.

Phyllis Pettitt

Bury St Edmunds

MORE HOMES WILL ADD TO CHAOS

Now that the parking permits have been extended in Queen’s Road and York Road, Bury, cars are now parking in Westbury Avenue.

Does the council have a solution? Apparently not.
Bury St Edmunds has too many people. To build more houses is only going to cause more chaos and I can foresee it will get worse when building starts on Tut Hill.

The transport system has to be improved and encourage more people to use it.

-- John Worsley, Bury St Edmunds

MANY DRIVERS ARE INCONSIDERATE

As a driver, I am often appalled at the lack of consideration and intelligence of many drivers on the roads, nationally but particularly those in Brandon.

Has the law changed allowing the parking on yellow lines at the top of Brandon High Street – on occasions up to six vehicles are parked along this stretch of road – or is it that these are just inconsiderate, ill-mannered, ignorant drivers?

Could it be that all of those who park do not have limbs below their waist and thus are required to park at the nearest place to where they want to be eg the cash point at Barclays, the bookmakers or other assorted places requiring their most illuminated status of very important people?

Furthermore, the idiots who turn on to the High Street from Thetford Road when they can clearly see the High Street is congested and the traffic is not moving, possibly because the Railway gates are down, still decide to block the junction ensuring no-one can turn right off the High Street on to London Road. Once again it is a regular feature to see two or three cars side by side across the junction.

The junction at the Tesco traffic lights is another example where the ignorant and inconsiderate park in the yellow boxes and, to add to the chaos, the ‘please do not park in the box’ at Aldi is also ignored by the same ‘mal-functioning intelligentsia’.

Whilst not being a strong advocate of bashing drivers, the presence of a traffic warden for the High Street and yellow boxes repainted on the three areas as above and possibly the erection of cameras would considerably ease the congestion while at the same time hitting the inconsiderate where it hurts ie the pocket.

Perhaps our local councillors would like to consider the above as it would improve the environment, ease the frustration of a number of drivers – not just me – and would be a money spinner for the benefit of everyone at the cost of the ignorant.

Consideration for others instead of the ‘me society’ would go some way toward a more caring and considerate society.

-- Christopher Allen, Brandon

SOME TRAINING PROVIDERS FACE BIG CUTS

Congratulations to Suffolk county councillors Len Jacklin and Keith Patience for succesfully getting their motion voted through that requires Suffolk County Council to take a much more proactive stance to apprenticeships (Letters, September 2).

Jo Churchill in her Westminster Life column quite rightly espouses the quality and examination success of schools in Bury, however the counter balance to that success, as pointed out by Cllrs Jacklin and Patience, is that the number of young people out of work or not in education in Bury is amongst the highest in the county, with many firms struggling to recruit skilled staff.

Post-Brexit, whatever market we are trying to sell into, our economic success will depend on the utilisation of well- trained employees. A university education provides many young people with a wonderful start to their working lives, but it is not the route that all school leavers wish to take, or indeed, that that the country needs if we are to have a well-balanced workforce. We need to be able to offer high quality vocational training, with apprenticeships being at the heart of any such programme.

The Tories under David Cameron consistently told us about the record number of apprenticeships they had created, and indeed just prior to the 2015 General Election he said that cuts to household benefits would pay for three million new apprenticeships over the lifetime of this parliament, and this equality of opportunity theme has continued to be at the forefront of Theresa May’s policy statements since she entered Downing Street. The fact of the matter is that once again this is Tory hogwash, as it emerges that as part of Government cuts, funding to some colleges and training providers who will be charged with delivering apprenticeships is to be cut by 30 -50 per cent from May 2017. More than 50 MPs have written to Robert Halfron, the apprenticeship and skills minister, urging him to rethink these cuts.

Can I suggest that Jo Churchill uses the opportunity she has as a member of the committe that will scrutinise the Higher Education and Research Bill to argue that if we are to achieve the skills balance we need to be a succesful economy in the 21st century, her party needs to rethink these cuts to apprenticeship providers that can only reinforce the belief that this is yet annother attack on the life chances of working-class kids by a Tory Government that talks social mobility and equality while in reality continue to look after their own.

-- Richard Soer, Great Barton

BAN USE OF ‘THAT WORD’ BEFORE OCTOBER

I read Barry Peters’ ‘Personal View’ (Bury Free Press, September 2), and have to agree with him on the subject of August being a tad early for the ‘drip feeding of Santa and sleigh bells’.

Not only are some people still paying off for last year’s celebrations, why on earth – even before some people have had a summer holiday – are we so obsessed with an event which is months away?

I would like to see a ban on ‘that word’ before the last week in October, giving people plenty of time ( two months ) to organise, what is after all, just two days out of 365. Any earlier than this, to me, is just a case of wishing your life away. Autumn can be a lovely time of year, so let’s enjoy it before we worry about the winter and Christmas.

-- Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds

SORRY, THE BOROUGH DOESN’T DO DRAINS

David Irvine, in last week’s Reader’ Views, called for me, as the current mayor, to do something useful in my year of office and, in particular, work on the Bury St Edmunds drainage system.

Well, I hope that I am doing something useful, just as my predecessors did during their year of office. Those who invite us to their events seem to think we do anyway. By lending our support, we can help to publicise the charities or other organisations, all of which are local. We are also able to publically thank and show appreciation for those many volunteers who help to make our town and borough such a great place to live, who give tirelessly and with such grace to those less fortunate. I am always struck by how much people seem to value the presence of the mayor; this is quite humbling.

As for the Mayor’s Charities, the money we raise directly helps local people, in my case through Gatehouse, Defeat Dementia, this paper’s campaign, and Nicky’s Way, which is part of St Nicholas Hospice Care.

I do understand Mr Irvine’s frustration at the repeated flooding of our streets but this is not something that the borough has any control over. This is a Suffolk County Council matter and flooding problems can be reported using the online tool at www.suffolk.gov.uk

Mr Irvine may also like to contact his local county councillor. I absolutely agree that flooded roads are dangerous and need sorting out.

I hope Mr Irvine’s letter will add to the pressure on the council to address the issue, but the truth is that, even if this problem were one for the borough to solve, I could not do anything other than act a concerned ward councillor. The Mayor of St Edmundsbury has no power. The office is civic, not political, the mayor acting as a neutral figure who represents the whole borough on ceremonial and civic occasions, including chairing meetings of St Edmundsbury’s full council. I am not, and cannot be, a Boris for Bury.

What I can do is raise issues with those who do have power and one issue which people regularly bring to me as mayor, as well as ward member, is that of the parking anarchy in the streets of Bury. I took the opportunity of raising this with Tim Passmore, our Police and Crime Commissioner, when I met him at one of those civic events. He was very sympathetic and has promised to raise it with Suffolk Constabulary again. He also said he was keen to hear from anyone else who was concerned about this. His email, which he has authorised me to give out, is spcc@suffolk.pnn.police.uk

Do let Mr Passmore know just how widespread bad parking is and how it affects you.

-- Julia Wakelam, Mayor of St Edmundsbury