Readers' letters - September 15

Preserve of better off
A reader asks: Are some school uniform policies too strict? See letterA reader asks: Are some school uniform policies too strict? See letter
A reader asks: Are some school uniform policies too strict? See letter

I did wonder why Nicky Morgan was sacked from her education brief in July, and now we know why, she is opposed to Theresa May’s plans for a new generation of selective grammar schools.

From 1944 onwards, our education system became a question of grammar or secondary modern, all decided by the 11 plus exam which divided children into winners and losers even before they’d reached the age of puberty.

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Grammar schools had three times more money spent on them, they had the best teachers and facilities, with a secure route to higher education.

This must have had a detrimental effect on the morale of the surrounding schools.

Margaret Thatcher was a supporter of grammar schools but had recognised that the 11 plus had probably lost the Tory Party the 1964 General Election.

Grammar schools have increasingly become the preserve of the better off and did not feature in the Conservative election manifesto.

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Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are right to oppose these proposals.

John Appleyard

Address supplied


Suede shoe controversy

Regarding the school uniforms disputes.

I saw the interview on TV with a young lady who had been sent out of school because she did not conform to new regulations.

She was smartly and correctly dressed and the camera scanned her down to her black lace tied shoes.

Why had she been sent out?

The shoes were suede not leather! Does this mean that every morning some staff member is going to be designated with the job of inspecting each pupil and cause that child the embarrassment of being sent out?

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Some families may have more than one child and can only afford cheaper brands – some thought should be given to these matters.

Edna Levi

via email


9/11 and asbestos

On the recent 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, it is appalling to think the horrors of that day are not over.

The collapsing World Trade Centre released 1,000 tonnes of asbestos-rich dust with the potential to kill more than the 2,753 murdered in 2001.

As 70 per cent of UK buildings contain asbestos, no city should ever confront a 9/11 style dust cloud unprepared.

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An estimated 410,000 people could have been exposed to asbestos dust post 9/11 and as related diseases like mesothelioma can take up to 60 years to develop, the final cost of that day may not be appreciated for decades.

While 9/11 is an extreme case, an accident could deliver a similar result.

We must ensure risk assessments are in place for buildings known to contain high quantities of asbestos and the authorities must be trained and equipped to respond were this asbestos ever to be released in dust form.

A fitting tribute to the 9/11 victims is to ensure such an attack never ever happens again, but also, should such a dust cloud ever be released, no matter what the cause, we have the training to minimise the risks to public health posed by asbestos.

Craig Evans

General Manager, UK Asbestos Training Association