Letters - March 18, 2014

Teacher strike
Teacher strike
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Education policies


I am writing on behalf of the Retired Section of the Fylde National Union of Teachers.

We wish to make clear our full support for in-service teachers taking 
action, including striking on March 26.

For more than a quarter of a century now, we have experienced a direction of travel of education policy which has increasingly had two themes -

n The increasing top down authoritarian central control of education by the Government in London with a corresponding loss of local democratic influence, a loss of professional influence and a loss of democratic parental influence.

n The growing influence of the market in education, with increasing power in the hands of the rich and powerful at the expense of democratic influence by citizens.

We believe there is now mounting evidence education in England is suffering as a result.

Years and years of top down imposed changes, such as new imposed curricula, increased high stakes testing, league tables, a draconian Ofsted and accountability regime, listing alleged failing schools, fracturing the state school system into multiple layers and types of school with so called ‘free’ schools and academies given preferential treatment, etc. have taken their toll.

After all these imposed changes we seem to be, if anything falling down international tables rather than improving.

To make things even worse, we now have an Education Minister, Mr Gove, who seems to have lost the plot.

As a result, many schools are anxious places full of teachers who are unhappy with what is happening, stressed and 

What we are saying is that things are going wrong because of the imposed direction of travel of education over the last quarter of a century, that evidence for this is growing by the day, and it is time for a rethink.

Ken Cridland

Assistant Secretary and 
retired teacher

Don’t call 999 for this!


I was amazed to read a news item informing readers the local fire service had visited someone who had burnt their finger, and applied soothing gel (Gazette March 13).

What an amazing service!

Minor burns and scalds are a common occurrence; most people don’t call 999 and ask the ambulance service for help after such accidents.

However, after reading this news item I’m sure readers will be reassured they can call 999 and ask for the fire service to call round and help.

Maybe the chief fire officer could be asked to provide a report, to be included in a future edition of The Gazette, informing readers of the whole range of services that can be expected to be provided if we call 999?

On the other hand maybe we could get some clarification as to why that situation was unique?

John Wright


New home for butchers


I along with hundreds of people used the New Market in South Shore often.

It was interesting to read the butchers had found new premises (Gazette, March 3) and it would be interesting to find out the whereabouts of any of the other traders, and if they have found new premises.

Name and address supplied

Money wasted on signs


If Lancashire County Council had not decided to flood Lancashire with 20mph signs at a cost of millions, there wouldn’t be any need for cutbacks and council tax rises.

Where I live, they have erected 16 signs, 10 of which are in cul-de-sacs, some of which are less than 100 yards long.

The mind boggles.

P. Curwin

Dowbridge Way


Lost Malaysian plane

Not tracked

Regarding the vanishing Malaysian airliner, two things come to mind.

Why isn’t every aircraft fitted with a small, floatable (in case it ditches in water) electronic device that breaks away and emits a signal that satellites pick up, pinpointing the position of the incident within 50 metres or so?

In fact these devices would cost less than a cheap mobile phone and you could have one on the end of each wing and one on the tail.

Wreckage in the sea can be many miles from the impact area due to wind and tides, wreckage in the jungle gets swallowed up beneath the canopy.

Secondly, all aircraft are fitted with a device that shows where it is in the sky.

I can track a particular aircraft throughout its flight, I use this when I’ve arranged to pick someone up from the 
airport so as not to get caught out by delays.

What reason should there ever be for this equipment to be disabled by anyone onboard the aircraft?

To me this is a stupendously stupid arrangement and no-one can convince me that it is necessary.

Keith Hallam

First Avenue