A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, February 13.
EVERYONE SHOULD BE WORKING TOGETHER
Parents should note that the proposed new upper school on Moreton Hall is to take students only from 11-16 years and is now described as a ‘secondary’ school! So what happens to them at 16? Presumably they then need to go on to ‘tertiary’ education at West Suffolk College or to one of the other ‘secondary’ or ‘upper’ schools in Bury actually offering A-levels. Is this truly a two-tier system? Of course not! Aren’t we, after all the disruption caused by the Schools Reorganisation Review with its sham consultations, simply changing one three-tier system for another.
To many it would seem that Suffolk County Council and Ofsted between them have wreaked havoc with local education. By taking their eye off the ball they have produced a fractured schooling system, confused parents, many excellent teachers leaving the profession and at least one superb school being branded as requiring improvement. Isn’t it time that doctrinaire policies and draconian inspection systems were abandoned in favour of common sense and democratic decisions, and that the stick was abandoned in favour of the carrot? Why cannot all those involved in education, be they in government, inspection, at county level and in schools, work together for the benefit of our children and not against one another?
-- John Parsons, Bury St Edmunds
MAKE PLAIN FINAL SIZE OF SCHOOL
Copy of a letter sent to Cllr Trevor Beckwith: It would seem that this weekend’s allusion in the Bury Free Press to an expansion of the new Moreton Hall High School from 600 places up to 900 did indeed understate the eventual envisaged size of the school (1,800 in seven year-groups including a sixth form) by some 50 per cent making it bigger than today’s five year-group King Edward VI and County Upper schools put together.
That will be a far larger school than required for the the current 2,113 dwellings on the estate, plus an 500 additional homes up by the Flying Fortress and the 1,250 on the Barton Road. Indeed, there will be more than enough capacity for potential pupils from all the 5,900 houses identified in the 2031 Local Plan including Westley, Fornham and all the town brownfield sites. Why was this not made plain in this week’s publicity surge accompanying the launch of the consultation?
As stated above there were only passing references to expansion and only a figure of 900 quoted. The thought of hundreds and hundreds of additional vehicles accessing the Moreton Hall estate with or without a relief road is most concerning. One also has to wonder what effect an establishment of this size will have on the current schools. Will they all be viable? Mr Barton said King Edward VI was admitting 100 pupils outside his catchment and is apparently not full this current academic year and I’m told County Upper, although full, has a historic deficit in catchment to the west of Bury relying on parental choice to make up its numbers. Mrs Stodart [Suffolk County Council project lead] states that the new school will not expand to the detriment of existing establishments yet the SCC public document justifying the 600-pupil high school gives an increase of just 22 secondary school pupils 2013-17, so a revised projection beyond this must surely exist to justify the huge £12 million capital spend to the east of the town in addition to the existing provision which has an inbuilt surplus of places if the last census and current secondary school admission figures are to be believed.
There does seem to be an apparent reticence by the authorities in their public statements to make plain the final size of the school and the implications for the local infrastructure, population, traffic, environment and existing educational establishments and most importantly with today’s constrained public finances it must secure the best possible investment in our children and grandchildren’s education.
-- P A Blake, via email
WATER IS STAYING ON THE ROAD
I live in the village of Barrow and have twice logged a problem with drainage on the St Edmundsbury online highways reporting page. The problem is with the state of the gullies and drains off Colepit Lane, the road from the A14 to the village. The gulleys have banks of mud blocking surface water from entering the ditches, drains have water sitting on top of them so clearly blocked yet twice, the highways people responsible for the road have been to inspect the drains and gullies and said there is nothing wrong with them. What is the money we spend on our road tax for, because it clearly isn’t for keeping the surface water off the roads – nice when it freezes overnight causing an ice rink.
-- Chris Mortimor, via email
CHARITY HELPS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF CONDITION
I was very interested to read the inspirational story (Bury Free Press, February 6) about Ben Eames and his life with vasculitis. However, as a fellow sufferer, I was disappointed to see no mention of the excellent Vasculitis UK charity in the report. The paper has done a great job of raising awareness of vasculitis itself. This is my attempt at raising awareness of the relevant charity, which has been a great help to me in several ways.
On the internet it has a closed group on Facebook, a separate group on Facebook for young patients and a group on Health Unlocked. These give patients the opportunity to communicate with and support each other.
The charity has a twice-yearly newsletter. Their website is a great source of information and they have produced a book called the Routemap, which is also very informative.
The web address is www.vasculitis.org.uk and the helpline: 0300 365 0075
There is also a Cambridge support group which meets twice a year. Contact for this group is Lesley Noblett – firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Avril Smith, via email
LOOKING FOR AMBASSADORS
The assistance dog charity Canine Partners is kick-starting its 25th anniversary celebrations with the launch of an education ambassador scheme.
The charity requires volunteer education ambassadors to visit local schools, colleges and youth groups such as Brownies, Rainbows, Beavers and Scouts to talk about the work the Charity does in transforming the lives of people with disabilities.
Canine Partners, which receives no Government funding and relies solely on donations, trains dogs to do everyday tasks such as opening doors, undressing, pressing buttons and emergency response for those who would otherwise find it difficult or impossible.
We are looking for volunteer education ambassadors to represent Canine Partners and engage local schools and youth groups by providing talks and workshops for children of all ages. We need people who are good communicators, adaptable and self-motivated for this home-based role.
This is a great way for us to spread the word about the work we do in training amazing assistance dogs to transform the lives of people with disabilities.
Canine Partners will provide training and support for all education ambassadors, who will aim to carry out two to four talks a month which will be mainly during the day and term-time.
The volunteers, aged over 18 years old, will also be the co-ordinators for other education speakers in the area. They will need their own transport, regular email access and be required to have a DBS check.
Canine Partners currently has more than 300 working canine partnerships across the UK, helping people with disabilities such as MS, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, ME, spina bifida and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome become more independent.
If you would like to find out more or apply please contact 01730 716051 or education@ca ninepartners.org.uk.
-- Libby Rome, Education officer, Canine Partners, Mill Lane, Heyshott, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 0ED
ROUNDABOUT IS A MESS
I wonder if you can print this letter in the Bury Free Press to bring to people’s attention the terrible mess on the roundabout in Orttewell Road. So much is done for Bury town to make us proud, but alas, everyday we drive into Bury via Orttewell Road and what an eyesore – rubbish everywhere, even coming out on to the roadside verges. We had visitors from California recently and they love Bury but even they said it was a eyesore. The council did clear some of the hedges and road but made it look more like a tip. No wonder we get inundated with rats and vermin. Come on Bury, we all pay our Council tax. Surely this can be cleaned up completely with one large skip.
-- E Turner, Great Barton
SETBACK WILL NOT DETER US
You may have seen on Eastgate Boxing Club’s Facebook page that there was an attempted break in, with thugs damaging the front door and smashing eight panes of glass between Sunday 1pm and Monday 5pm. The post has been shared 20 times and seen a lot of angry comments from members old and new.
We as a club work hard to support the life of the local community, practically the young. We totally rely on volunteers whose sole satisfaction comes from making a difference to the lives of everyone involved in the sport.
We will rally together and won’t let a setback like this deter us. All we do is give to the community, we feel sorry for the person who carried out the vandalism they must have a pretty sad life but the gym will be open as usual.
-- Tim Wolstenholme, Eastgate Boxing Club coach
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
I would like to thank all those kind people who donated so generously to the collection held on behalf of Cancer Research UK in the arc on Saturday, February 7. With kind permission of the arc management team we set up our stall in the square and with overwhelming support from the general public a total of £834.84 was raised.
For those of you who donated so generously, our huge gratitude, and to the teams that helped with the collection during the day a massive thank you. Without your help we wouldn’t have been so successful.
Thank you, Parrots of the Caribbean, PCat and the Kittens, Fred’s Team, Wallies Walkers, Daphne’s Daffodils and Pink Carnations (teams registered for the 2015 Relay For Life). We have 12 teams registered at the moment for the Bury St Edmunds Relay For Life 2015 in July and would be delighted if more teams would join us and help raise money for Cancer Research UK.
If you would like to enter the Bury Relay For Life on July 11 at Ickworth House, please go to www.ourrelay.co.uk
If you would like more information, please contact email@example.com or telephone 07515 759 478.
-- Lorraine Cockerton, Bury Relay for Life 2015