Letters, Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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College has proven record of success

FURTHER to a letter, published in the Sunderland Echo on Wednesday, October 13, titled Limited options for education, I felt compelled to respond with a view from Sunderland College.

 The college has, for many years, provided the city’s young people with a further education provision – both A-level and vocational programmes – and increasingly, we’re attracting people from beyond the boundaries of Sunderland.

 The letter suggested that results at our Bede Campus have fluctuated – something that would, of course, be worrying for any parent. However, the reality couldn’t be any more different.

 Sunderland College enjoyed fantastic results this year with a 99.6 per cent pass rate – the highest results on record and a strong indicator of the quality of teaching we deliver. Contrary to the suggestion that results fluctuate, the college has actually seen a steady increase in its performance. Our high-achieving students continue to raise the bar, with a 3.5 per cent increase in A*- B grades achieved by students this year.

 Having been part of the fabric of the city since 1997, the college is not only proven, but progressive. We have pass rates and student satisfaction levels that cannot be beaten by any other college in the North East – fact.

 I’m proud to be part of the college team, proud of the work that we do and proud to play a part in helping so many young people (over 1,000 currently) find their future through education.

John Rushworth,

Head of Bede and Headways Sixth Form,

Sunderland College

Better services

CLAIMS that North East councils are being unfairly picked on is not the truth and ignores a number of ways in which public services have improved during the last three years.

 Despite having less money, council services in Sunderland now enjoy record levels of satisfaction and more residents say they are getting value for money than before the General Election.

 Crime has continued to fall; educational attainment has matched the national average and 12,500 private sector jobs have been created – all during “austerity”.

 Much of this has been stimulated by forcing public services to focus on frontline services, encourage innovation and cut out waste.

 But in some areas more is being spent in Sunderland with record levels of funding for the poorest pupils; a boost for regeneration with the New Wear Crossing and grants helping Nissan to increase employment.

 It is also misleading to claim that there is a North/South divide as some of the London councils are the hardest hit with deprived areas across the country rightly-receive much more funding.

 In fact, most of the local government funding formula was inherited from the last Labour government which left in place a dependence on the council tax base, which in Sunderland is small given the lack of executive housing and the continued loss of population.

 A recent change to local government finance, the retention of business rates, also throws down a challenge but it is for the council to grow the business sector in the city rather than complain about alleged unfairness.

Councillor Robert Oliver,

Leader Conservative

Council Group

The halcyon days

I AGREE with Terry Christie’s mam – he should keep writing to the Echo – but the 1950s and 1960s were a very dull period.

 It was the 1970s when the the music boom started. Slade,T Rex,Wizzard and Suzie Quatro were the stars of Glam Rock.

They brought everything that had been missing from the ’60s to the fore. Make-up, glitter and better clothing like Oxford Bag Trousers and Doctor Martin Boots.

 Apart from the music it was a depressing time. There was the three-day week, the strikes and no electricity but the music gave everyone a boost.

 These were halcyon days and at that time more and more people were buying colour TV sets so every Thursday we could watch these stars on Top Of The Pops and eat a Bar Six.

 I will never forget the 1970s – a great era.

Mick The Pen Brown

A Man Of The 70s