Letters - August 12, 2016

A Generic Photo of a school French lesson. See PA Feature FAMILY Family Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FAMILY Family Column. 

Teacher / classroom / pupils
A Generic Photo of a school French lesson. See PA Feature FAMILY Family Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FAMILY Family Column. Teacher / classroom / pupils
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Grammars do not help social mobility

It took less than a month, but Prime Minister 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 Gazette readers should ask themselves 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.

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


Percival was right to bite poor old Steve

I love Steve Canavan’s articles. July 21 was my 90th birthday and I had a very busy and enjoyable day, so I was late reading about poor Percival’s ordeal with the basket. Pardon the pun, but scaredy cat Steve is afraid of flying, so no wonder the poor cat is afraid of being stuffed head first into a cage.

Humans pass on emotions to animals, so he knows Steve’s a scaredy cat too. TLC was needed to entice him with his own blanket and toys.

Hope Steve enjoyed his honeymoon as much as I enjoyed writing this letter. Poor Mrs Canavan, how does she put up with him!!

My cat Jill is 18 years old and says good on Percival, she would have bitten Steve as well as scratch him.

I went to school in Bury until I was 15 years old in 1939, before Steve was a twinkle in your dad’s eye. I came to Blackpool on my honeymoon, it cost us £4 3s 4d full board. Then I came to live here in 1951. Guess Steve’s honeymoon cost a bit more than that.

Mrs Mabel Burgess

Westwood Avenue



Irony in Chris’s view of the House of Lords

There was a wonderful irony in Chris Moncrieff’s column as he headed his piece on the incompetence of the Remain campaign ‘Leave campaign breathtaking in its incompetence’.

Just to show this wasn’t a fluke, he then suggests The House of Lords are undemocratic for thinking of using ‘rules’. Rules! How dare they?

I hope Chris gets his breath back soon (but then maybe his articles won’t be as hilarious?).

Harry Hulme

Reads Ave



Maybe they kept their bar a secret

While commiserating with Neil Kendall for not mentioning the Clifton Hotel’s famous gay bar in my recent Memory Lane article (Your Say, Gazette, August 9), I should point out I was quoting from a 1916 Gazette article about the hotel’s refurbishment.

Perhaps the management at that time didn’t know they had a gay bar.

And if they did they wouldn’t have dared mention it.

The hotel is now called the Ibis, which one internet note informs us is a bird with a gregarious nature!

Barry Band

via email


Disabled fans need better from clubs

Do you have a favourite sports team? Do you like to watch them play live? Imagine if your matchday experience were one of isolation, frustration – and even abuse. Unfortunately this is the reality faced by many disabled football fans, who sometimes struggle just to secure a simple wheelchair accessible space.

I work for the national disability charity Revitalise, which provides respite breaks for disabled people and carers at three accessible centres around the UK. To mark the start of the football season, we did some research into the number of wheelchair spaces at Championship football stadiums. We were shocked to find that most clubs weren’t meeting the UEFA’s accessibility guidelines, which they signed up to over a decade ago.

Blackburn Rovers, Derby County, Rotherham United and Brighton and Hove Albion all had more than the recommended number of wheelchair spaces. But the findings were not good news for disabled supporters in London, with Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Brentford all in the relegation zone – each with fewer than 25 per cent of the wheelchair spaces required. This is simply not good enough.

It is shameful that some disabled fans are missing out on the chance to watch our national sport. We think it’s high time that Championship clubs upped their game and installed better facilities for fans in wheelchairs.

If you want to see how your favourite team performed, the full results are on our website www.revitalise.org.uk

Sarah Wiley