Celebrate our exams success

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ONCE again we are seeing A-level results rise at a large number of schools across South Yorkshire.

Pupils, teachers and parents should rightly be delighted at the bumper crop of results that are published today.

What we don’t yet know is how progress here compares with nationally and whether our schools have kept pace with the results elsewhere.

But what we do know is that an awful lot of hard work has gone into the teaching and learning of A-levels.

There will doubtless still be the perennial debate about whether exams are getting easier, whether standards have been lowered and whether pupils are being properly prepared for university and working life.

And this year there will also be a sharp focus on the number of pupils going on to university education - with this year’s intake the first to experience the huge rise in tuition fees.

But our two universities report no noticeable drop in applications, excluding the peak from last year as students raced to beat the new fee levels.

And schools are saying that their students are still keen to take up degree courses.

So let us not let any of this detract from a day of celebration for these teenagers.

As Notre Dame headteacher Jane Willis says: “Students have to work very hard for these achievements and can rightly be proud of themselves.”

A small device that saves lives

JANE Chapman and her youg son Matthew are living examples of why smoke alarms are essential in your home.

Without them, it is extremely unlikely they would be alive today to thank the firefighters who saved their lives.

An arson attack on their home set off the smoke alarm that woke Jane to a house engulfed in smoke.

Her son was still asleep as toxic smoke permeated all the rooms.

Panicking, Jane plucked Matthew from his bed, went to her own room at the front of the house and phoned the fire service.

The panic in her call, which you can listen to on our website, tells its own story of the danger she faced.

But thanks to the coolness of the fire service controller and the speed of the response of the fire crews, Jane is alive today.

Unfortunately, too many people still do not have smoke alarms fitted in their homes, or, unbelievably, they take out the batteries to stop them beeping rather than replacing them.

They made the difference in saving Jane’s life. They could save yours too.