Readers' letters - August 11

Policy based on emotion

Thursday, 11th August 2016, 10:37 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:41 pm
Theresa Mays new Government is thinking of re-introducing grammar schools. See letter

It took less than a month but Theresa May’s new Government appears to be floating another massive change to education policy – the re-introduction of grammar schools. I’m sure this announcement will gain favour from some, but ask yourselves a question.

Is the call for more grammar schools based on hard facts and evidence or yet another example of policy birthed in emotion and knee-jerk reaction?

Let us look at some hard facts about the perceived success of grammar schools. The big claim from those that are calling for their re-introduction is that they are engines of social mobility. In reality, only three per cent of those who attend grammar schools claim free school meals – the piece of data used to determine the pupil premium and hence develop the group of children from which social mobility should be measured.

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This compares with 18 per cent in your average comprehensive school. Also four times as many pupils who attend grammar schools came from the independent sector.

In fact grammar schools are used more as cheap private-style education than engines of social mobility.

We need more policy rooted in evidence and research.

Education is too important for emotion to drive policy.

Wayne Chadburn

via email


Make Britain more humane

I write to encourage readers to mark World Humanitarian Day on August 19 by asking ourselves how might we all contribute to a more humane Britain?

The United Nations created World Humanitarian Day to celebrate the ordinary heroes around the world working to save lives and alleviate suffering when disaster or conflict strikes.

Yet even here, we can contribute to the humanitarian cause.

Right now, the UK Government is making decisions on how many places of sanctuary to offer to refugees from Syria and elsewhere.

You often hear it said ‘charity begins at home’ and one small thing we can all do is to tell our Government we stand for a country based on compassion, inclusion and treating people with humanity, wherever they’re from.

Please visit to sign a petition calling on our Government to do more to protect refugees, here and across the world.

And please ask your friends and family to do the same. In our relative comfort, it is the least we can do.

Ms Kath Rockliff


shale gas

Theresa, keep your money

The sum of £13,000 might seem like a lot, but it wouldn’t purchase a house these days – not even a beach hut.

In this current climate of sell-offs – our NHS and our countryside – this money wouldn’t go far on medical bills when our children get sick because of toxins in our environment due to fracking.

There is a growing awareness taking place, not just in the UK, but globally, that our Government representatives no longer look toward our needs and aspirations, but are in a revolving door relationship between banks, corporations and government.

Theresa May, you must be feeling desperate. We want our water supply, our land and our air to remain clean. We also want to live peacefully, responsibly and sustainably. Keep your money.

Heather Stroud via email