School plans disregard local opinion

The county council's plans for King John School, Thrapston, disregard local opinion, says Paul Woods of Thrapston
The county council's plans for King John School, Thrapston, disregard local opinion, says Paul Woods of Thrapston

Wednesday, February 12, represented an important date in the history of King John School in Thrapston.

On that evening, a “consultation” was conducted involving Northamptonshire local education authority, parents and the many other concerned parties.

One could be forgiven for thinking that a school, highly regarded in the area, demonstrating strong historical academic achievement, with a pupil population in excess of 400, recently highlighted by Ofsted as “good with outstanding features” and serving a rapidly growing community, set to increase its population by 25 per cent, should escape the axe.

However, to think that would underestimate the council’s determination to eradicate middle school education in the area and in doing so, reap the profits of selling-off the resulting real estate to developers.

Northamptonshire County Council is already in the process of disposing of land acquired from the closure of 16 schools in Northampton, valued at some £90m and with King John, Thrapston in their sights, look set to break the nine-figure mark.

In addition, the school some eight miles away destined as the future base for Thrapston’s 11 to 13-year-olds and criticised by Ofsted as “requiring improvement”, has aspirations to achieve academy status.

A move which conveniently suits Northamptonshire County Council very well, given that they can effectively wash their hands of any financial responsibility for its future funding.

Effective financial management is clearly and understandably a competence all local authorities need to demonstrate.

However, surely they also have an obligation to provide, and maintain the provision of the highest possible standards of education.

The inability to identify or communicate any tangible educational benefits associated with this proposal, combined with the ridiculously short period of time given to parents to prepare for the public consultation, clearly demonstrates a flagrant disregard for the interests and needs of the local population to whom they should be accountable.

Unsurprisingly, Northamptonshire is currently languishing in the lower reaches of the national league tables for education.

Also of interest is the fact that the shiny new academies are currently amongst the poorer performers in the region.

One can only assume that the rigorous pursual of a policy that sacrifices quality of education in the interests of financial gain will only serve to propel the county to even greater depths.

Paul Woods


Time to create a fourth team

Let’s start by stating that the British fire service is the senior service.

As such, it should come first when any reference to the emergency services is made.

It has in the past been linked with its sister ambulance service in cities like Birmingham and Bristol to good effect.

It is my belief that an attempt to amalgamate Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service with its police is a political move to address the low esteem in which the police are held, and by association transfer respect given to the fire service.

In its most basic form, you are pleased to see a fireman. You are not pleased to see a policeman.

I, myself, think that a better move would be to create a fourth service taking the rescue part from the fire, with the medical side of the ambulance service.

The result of this would be lighter and faster fire appliances and rescue from crashed vehicles by trained medical personnel, and then transfer to hospital by the same crew, with no handover needed.

Mr B Collins


Officers have no right to shoot

The killing of Mark Duggan is what happens when politicians “smuggle in” a shoot-to-kill policy without public acceptance or even discussion.

The killing of Jean Charles De Menezes is surely ample proof that unless we have a proper structure for rules of engagement, clearly and publicly laid out, a cop under pressure will quickly turn from constable to cowboy.

We have a right not to be shot.

We have a right to know under what circumstances our police officers can take that right away, and how they justify doing so.

The truth is we know none of these things because the people in the police hierarchy choose not to tell us, and politicians run away from their duty to account for what they have or have not authorised.

The consequence is lethal chaos, based on shoddy policing, hopeless intelligence and lazy political control.

One result of that is an innocent Brazilian man lying dead on a Tube train floor with his head blown away while Britain’s top policemen furiously try to stop anyone asking why.

That is Boot Hill justice and has nothing whatsoever to do with the police protecting freedom.

Mr D S Lockhart


Come clean and publish report

As a Kettering General Hospital Trust member I am disgusted at the lame duck excuse about the mental health of staff given for the hospital’s refusal to relase a report into a teenager’s death.

What bright spark came up with that rubbish – it sounds like a cover up.

I call on the MPs to put pressure on the hospital to come clean and stop treating us like mugs.

E G Cann


Where is all the appreciation?

I did not realise that for thepast few years the bridge repairs for the road leading to Geddington was all about who pays for the upgrade.

I would imagine initially, that Stewart&Lloyds constructed this bridge for the purpose of their steelworks.

I personally have worked for Stewart&Lloyds, British Steel, Corus and Tata Steel over the years.

To my mind the steelworks have brought Corby from being a tiny village to today being a large modern day town which is expanding all the time. It has given thousands of people employment over the past 75 years.

Tata Steel now employes about 500 people and the last few years has had a rough time, but they have stood by this town resolutely.

Surely the Town Council could have simply paid this bill a long time ago as a show of gratitude to the Steelworks that has made Corby not only survive but has made it prosper into the vibrant town it is today.

In my opinion, my district council should maybe sit down again and have a rethink and just do the right thing.

Mike Kane

By email

Youth of today do not want to know

The scourge of the youth of today is their inability to engage and interact in politics.

They stand politically disengaged afraid to stand up and be seen.

It’s sad so many people have become image aware. Even the poorest folk are aware of the badge projected by the clothes we wear, it tells our peers and friends how credible we are and where we stand in life.

My generation came from radical beatniks, then moved on to hippy environmentalists.

The property owning wannabes who like to be seen as ladder climbing go-getters have flagrantly abused the planet and its resources.

I am on benefits, I don’t watch football or television.

I do have a bus pass, and I do go to bed with a warm cup of “Ovaltine” and a good book most nights, but sometimes ponder on the past 30 years or more and realise if this generation is trying to get in to university, or on the work ladder and don’t kick up hell and fight for it, then they will be deemed as the lost generation and it’ll be 2030 before the next generation shows us just how to run the world.

Meanwhile, we hand power to the posh boys and the upper classes and turn our cheeks again. What a disappoint we all turned out to be.

Tom Bingham


Still waiting for a letter response

I have waited in vain for three weeks for a reply to my written query to Wellingborough Council about the cost of a consultation about council tax changes which I suspect was at a cost in excess of the saving.

Councils have themselves been robbed of adequate financial support by Conservative central government. This has had the result of denying people decent housing over several decades.

Most will know that Margaret Thatcher forbade councils from using the receipts from house sales.

Ever since, the housing market only serves to meet the needs of speculative developers and the better off.

The result is spiralling rents.

David Cameron will bale councils out with millions if they will frack shale gas. Pity Wellingborough doesn’t have shale gas.

But how is it now that there are those millions for energy companies – the gas produced will not be ours – but has for years been unavailable to build people homes?

Tony Banks


There doesn’t seem to be a plan

It is very disturbing that the county council does not have a strategy of repairing the pot holes in our roads.

We firstly have the problem of the quality of the repairs; holes in Weldon Road have been repaired five times and the holes get larger each year, thus cost more to repair.

We still have many holes which are ignored, if they are not reported they are left.

Surely it would make sense for the county council to have a policy of repairing areas with better quality as in the long-term it would save them money, not just one hole in a road leaving the rest dangerous.

Ray Lilley

By email