Letters, Friday, February 15, 2013

Have your say

Let’s do right thing for our pupils

I WAS extremely concerned to read the report in the Echo on Wednesday, February 8, regarding the job losses at Southmoor Academy “in a bid to meet Government targets” and “an overhaul of the curriculum”.

 This was compounded the following day by the embarrassing u-turn by Mr Gove regarding the abandoning of the EBacc.

 I feel the focus for governors should always be to aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for pupils.

 I hope that common sense will now prevail and that the pending redundancies at the school will be reviewed, not on the basis of a league table, but with the focus on provision of the future needs of individual pupils.

 This is an opportunity to do the right thing for pupils and also protect the livelihoods of an extremely committed and hard-working staff.

N Stoves,

former governor,

Southmoor Community School

Equality is unfair

IN his letter on February 2, T Thompson is wrong in claiming that the European Union is innocent in forcing an increase of around 17 per cent in motor insurance premiums for female drivers.

 In their blind rush to have equality in all things, the European Union forgot the most important law governing the executive.

 That is the Law of Unintended Consequences.

 By ruling that it is wrong to have lower premiums for female drivers all that could sensibly and predictably have happened is that the cost of insurance would increase for women.

 Insurance premiums are based on risk. Female drivers are deemed to be a lower accident risk than male drivers therefore their premiums were lower.

 To equalise the premiums defies logic. Insurance companies would never lower the cost of insurance premiums for male drivers as they are the higher risk. Therefore, to achieve equality the cost of premiums for female driver had to increase.

 Another triumph for the European Union and its unaccountable bureaucrats.

 Thankfully the Conservatives are offering a referendum on the UK’s relationship with the EU.

Alan Wright,

High Barnes

Valuable work

AS we celebrate Student Volunteering Week this week, I’d like to pay tribute to the student volunteers who do such incredible work across the UK.

 I work for Vitalise, a national charity providing much-needed respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers.

 Each year we welcome thousands of volunteers, who provide support and companionship for the disabled guests taking breaks at our accessible centres.

 It would be true to say that we couldn’t do what we do without their help.

 Our volunteers aren’t only student, but come from all sorts of different backgrounds and range in age from teenagers to retired people. Some of them come from the local area, others travel half way round the world to give their time to Vitalise. They come for a great many reasons but all go home fulfilled and inspired by the experience.

 One recent volunteer commented: “When I first arrived I was quite nervous but as time went on I began to enjoy it more and more. It has to be the most enjoyable, satisfying and stimulating week I have ever had. I would recommend it to anyone.”

 It’s tremendous fun and a fantastic opportunity for you to gain new skills and make new friends from all over the world.

 For more information call 0303 303 0147 or email volunteer@vitalise.org.uk.

Colin Brook,


Still a Mackem

SPENDING a half-term break with family back in Sunderland, after 35 years away from the city, I was delighted to read the news of the magnificent cash injection and jobs boost for my much-loved home town.

 In December, I retire after 46 years in public service, beginning here on Wearside and taking me to all parts of Europe. I am still, however, a Mackem at heart.

 I remember fondly my time at Monkwearmouth Grammar School, Westmoor Road Church and sporting days at Lambton Street Boys Club, Roker Marina and Silksworth Cricket Club.

 The pages of your excellent newspaper keep me in touch with the city in between visits to family and the SOL.

 I look back with joy at Wearside’s achievements: The launch of the Borgsten; the arrival of Nissan; winning the FA cup; our great new university; achieving City status and so much more.

 As a former council CEO and a government advisor I have seen first-hand, with pride, your city councillors of all political parties, senior officers and local business leaders fighting, year after year, on a national stage for a fair deal for Sunderland.

 Well done to all of you and thanks to the Echo for keeping exiles like me in the loop.

Dennis Taylor,