Ofsted must be abolished

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Anyone with common sense doesn’t listen to Ofsted, whose report branded Ecclesfield School “inadequate” leaving parents and family members shocked and mystified by their findings.

Many parents and pupils understand that Ofsted has become highly politicised.

Successive governments have tried to turn schools into exam factories, in which pupils are pushed through test after test, and teachers are heavily pressured to produce results in a narrow range of subjects.

This means our young people aren’t getting the preparation for life that they need, with topics such as citizenship and practical skills squeezed out of the timetable.

And this government is downgrading the arts subjects that improve our lives, and that are essential to modern economies in which creative industries have a prominent place.

Ofsted is a key instrument in forcing the government’s views on school communities.

Its approach has failed and the Green Party is calling for it to be abolished, replaced by a continuous system of regional assessment and the constructive, supportive sharing of local teachers’ skills and experience.

Natalie Bennett

Green Party candidate, Sheffield Central constituency

Service station

How chuffed I was to see the affable academic – Doctor Mel – not Indiana – Jones chuck his tenpenneth into the argument against the service station proposals for the ancient Smithy Wood.

Along with another academic – the always readable Dr Ian Rotherham – the good doctor has highlighted the history, uses and value of Sheffield’s woodland heritage on many occasions, especially in his book of that name.

The roadside trees are not the only aspect of our city’s unique heritage. Let’s hope we don’t get in the situation of not being able to see the woods for the trees.

F Tuck

S6

Keep off woodland

I read an item about a service station on the M1 in Smithy Wood Chapeltown.

Smithy Wood is an ancient woodland and because of this it is a direct ‘NO’.

Developer Extra are saying that one is needed here for motorists to fill up and rest.

It seems that this developer is doing it for the money and nothing else because from junction 37 right down to 34 there are petrol stations, hotels and rest areas at each junction that are just a few miles apart.

Stephen Faulkner

Glebe Court, Tankersley, S75

Short and to the point

It seems to me that since Nancy Fielder has taken over as editor of the Star the letters page has become more political than what is happening in the community.

We get long drawn-out epistles. What happened to the editor’s brief to keep letters short and to the point, one wonders?

EB Warris

by email

North will suffer again

How can George Osborne do six jobs at the same time, as well as eat, drink and sleep?

What does his wife say?

He has set up a think tank for the Northern Powerhouse. If he has five minutes to spare we in the north will be lucky. While he was number two to the Prime Minister he had ample time on his hands. I suspect the north will suffer again.

Eddie Peart

Broom Crescent, Rotherham, S60

Sheffield’s five streams

It’s good to know that the five Sheffield streams: Loxley, Rivelin, Porter, Sheaf and Don, are being looked after. They’ve served us well over the years and deserve a bit of care.

All Sheffield schoolchildren will learn that each of these rivers supported about 20 water mills to turn machinery for grinding and forging knives. Knife and scissor making began at least from 1297 AD as shown in tax records. From about 1500 onwards all other English competition died out. None had water flowing down from 1,500 feet to 200 feet to support such brilliantly engineered mills.

In the steel age up to the present, Sheffield water was, and is, used to quench and temper steel. I trust all of you lads and lasses at the Star know this – even if your bosses in Leeds don’t.

Some American steelmen, urgently trying to find a reason for Sheffield’s superior steel, imported our water thinking this might be the clue. Concern for water cleanliness is not new – when I worked at Park Gate Iron & Steel and the massive 1,000-acre site was developed at Aldwarke and Thrybergh, the company boasted it put back the water used in a cleaner state than when taken out.

Sheffield water is famously soft (that’s why Barnsley Bitter’s original brew is now made here).

Sheffield craftswoman, Sarah Warehouse, has a nice line in T-shirts emblazoned “Tha’rt as soft as Sheffield watter”.

Don Alexander

S7

New trees on Rustlings Rd

Regarding the ‘replacement’ trees on Rustlings Road. I have just seen the new one planted near to where the beautiful Delilah once so proudly stood and I am sure I could be forgiven for missing it as it is so small it resembles a twig.

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but to me the definition of the word ‘replacement’ signifies ‘like for like’ so, bearing in mind I reach my 75th birthday this year, how long do I have to wait to see the replacement trees grow to the same height as the large crown limes that were needlessly felled? Well, let me guess – it won’t happen in what remains of my lifetime! I know the old saying ‘from little acorns mighty oak trees grow’ but I suspect even in 100 years’ time the new trees will still not provide the glorious canopy cover of the lost limes.

I now look at the iconic Rustlings Road where once those magnificent trees stood and see the road I loved and grew up in changed forever and looking bare and desolate thanks to the council’s and Amey’s mindless environmental vandalism in destroying some of nature’s finest specimens.

What a miserable summer this will be not to see the beautiful foliage of those wonderful trees that over the years had managed to survive war and storms but sadly not Amey’s chainsaws.

Susan Richardson d

Westminster Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield, S10

A nice little earner

George Osborne’s appointment as editor of the London Evening Standard while retaining his day job as MP indicates that journalism is a job where you get paid to do little or no work.

Especially if one eschews alcohol and avoids the pub at lunchtime.

John Eoin Douglas

by email