Schools must be sustainable

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MANY Academies have raised standards among their pupils, much to the delight of parents.

However we are now learning that this is being achieved at a high price.

For one in 20 Academies were forecasting a budget deficit last year and the position is getting worse, according to a group of MPs who reckon that the new breed of super schools, brought in under Labour, now face financial instability under the coalition government’s drive to create a new wave of schools free from local authority control.

Academies were seen as a realistic alternative to failing schools, bringing in tougher regimes and raising standards to everyone’s satisfaction.

But the honeymoon may be coming to a close as civil servants in Whitehall find themselves stretched to deal with the flood of 400 schools that have lodged applications to make the switch to Convertor Academies.

Serious notice should be paid to the concerns of the MPs who have been looking into this issue and progress should be halted until the sustainability of existing Academies can be assured.

Leading the way to preserve the past

WHEN English Heritage published its At Risk Register last summer, eyebrows were raised about the condition of a number of Sheffield’s historic gems which are not receiving the level of attention they deserve.

But the balance is restored today with a new report from the organisation which heaps praise on Sheffield and holds the city up as a fine example for others to follow.

English Heritage says the way Sheffield has rejuvenated the heart of the city centre, with landmark projects such as the Winter Garden and Millennium Gallery, is a terrific role model for other cities wanting to revitalise their area.

Everyone in Sheffield knows that the city has had a new lease of life in the last few years. It is good to know that others also appreciate the good work which has been done here.

Serious games

THERE is a serious side to fun in the world of sport. And a group of scientists from Sheffield Hallam University are hoping to alert the world’s top competitors to its potential.

They have been busy evaluating how elite sportsmen and women can learn to perfect their techniques by studying virtual reality games.

It is just one more pin-sharp example of the innovative way we break down hurdles for others to benefit.

This has always been a feature of the Sheffield scene and we are delighted that it continues to be found to be thriving in the city today.