Letters, March 28, 2013

Have your say

Curriculums are too restrictive

I READ with dismay the situation regarding redundancies in our city’s academies. Sixteen staff lost at Academy 360, followed by seven more at Southmoor.

 The headteachers of these schools inform us that these cutbacks are because of falling numbers. I, personally, believe it is because of their misguided attempts to narrow the curriculum on offer to students so that their pupils may access the best universities in the UK. This is wrong on so many counts.

 As a parent with a daughter at an excellent university, doing a course in veterinary science, I know from personal experience that the “best” universities require so much more than simple academic excellence. They require students with much broader based experiences. They want students who have taken part in teams at school (PE), school productions (performing arts), Duke of Edinburgh Award schemes and work-based learning. They want confident, well grounded individuals who have played a role in choosing their own futures.

 These are the very areas where teaching staff are losing their jobs – madness.

 In another example of madness, my niece at Southmoor recently opted for her subjects at the end of KS3, Year 8 – a ridiculously early age

 In an era when we have scant few tradesmen, our academies are hell bent on concentrating on the elite, top few students. Who (and how) in this city, is going to fill that trade gap?

 Our students are leaving school well versed in the core subjects but without the skills to kick a ball, wire a plug, mend a broken shelf, cook a basic meal or even sew up a hem. All the while talented, experienced, professionals are being dumped on the scrap heap – some at a very early age, because it is deemed that their specialism is not currently fashionable.

 Not all students are capable of going to university, or want to, and in this age of massive student debt and continued long term unemployment, who can blame them?

 I believe it’s about time those in charge of our academies came clean about the reasons behind the redundancies and returned to a broad-based curriculum, staffed by experienced and hardworking professionals who have so much to offer all the young people of our city.

 They seemed such a good idea initially, these academies. Sadly, with these progressive principals, I think we have created destructive, narrow-minded monsters.

D Stewart,


Target the top

IT’S an absolute a disgrace to charge vulnerable people £150 per year for Telecare.

 My mam is 92 years, my aunt is in her 80s. They try to have an independent life, and Telecare makes life a bit easier. In the past if they had an accident, the staff were there in a short time, got in touch with the family or dealt with the emergency.

 Why don’t we start at the top? We don’t need all these councillors. They don’t listen to Sunderland people – we could save on their expenses. The Mosque, did they ask ordinary people who live around the area – no.

 They put a play park in South Hylton. They asked our opinion and were told it would be vandalised.

 They should have used the money to help the South Hylton people who want to go into a smaller place – the site would have been lovely for Anchor Homes.

 The park is a wreck – money wasted.

 Get rid of the dead wood at the top and we will save money.

M Gatenby,


We deserve better

ONCE again Joe Public gets it in the neck.

 Sunderland Council has been told to make savings of £37million. So to start this, it decides to sting those in need with a £150 annual fee for Telecare – a lifeline they should get free.

 No one seems to realise it is the residents’, dare I say it, human right to be saved in a time of difficulty.

 But no, Joe Public must go out of its way to bail out a council which only knows how to waste money.

 Maybe scrapping a new bridge might help, or selling council property at a profit, or the reduction of the over inflated councillors wages and expenses might help.

 With this in mind we are told Sunderland is to celebrate 21 years of being a city. Wow! There will be celebrations all year to that effect. No doubt someone on the council will think of another way to waste money we don’t have, and get a pat on the back for it. Who will pay for it? Joe Public.

 Paul Watson, council leader, likes the publicity of our young achievers awards, at the same time forgetting the “old” achievers – the needy past achievers.

 For some reason the old are being forgotten a lot these days. Maybe we should pay the council for living, and not dying at a reasonable of 55 to 60 years. Sorry I want a card off the Queen, or maybe from Brussels – as it seems to rule this country.

 I did my 18 years for Queen and country.

 Is it wrong to want to live? surely this is my human right or do I have to turn to crime to get my just rewards.

Mr J Stott,


Thanks for kindness

I WOULD like to thank Dr Joseph and his two nurses, Annette and Julie, who looked after me so caringly when I had to visit the Villette Road surgery recently.

 A special mention also to my friend, Brenda, who looks after me so well.

Mrs Taylor,

Red House Estate

Such generosity

MYSELF and family would like to thank everyone who was at the service in honour of my husband, Tom.

 I was overwhelmed by the donations received, £128.45, which will go to the Grace House Appeal. Thanks agains.

Milly Hunter and family

Shedding the light

THE Oxford English Dictionary defines a conservatory as: “a room with a glass roof and walls, attached to a house and used as a sun lounge.”

 So when I saw an advert in the Echo by a company which replaces the glass roof with tiles, I thought: “Well that kind of defeats the object.”

 You might as well sit in the garden shed.

Derek Robe,

Royal Court,